I would be lying if I didn't admit to being rather chuffed when Steve Gilmor recently added me as a friend on Facebook. The gesture made me feel just that little bit more....er, noticed. And I was glad to know that he hadn't taken personally my earlier query as to whether he was "blinding us with bullshit".
But now he's gone and dashed my self satisfaction by revealing that the invitation to his inner circle was merely an accident of being on his gmail contact list. Oh well, it's the gesture that counts, right Steve? ;-)
All whimsy aside I'm glad to see he's dropped the Joycean prose to write one of his most illuminating and honest essays yet. And in so doing addresses my disillusionment with his Facebook friendship selection process -
"In the Gesturesphere, we all make contributions to the state of mind we call this social network of ours. You can call it attention, or intention, or VRM, or Twitter, or whatever. But it still represents our hope to make some difference, to leave a footprint in the cement out in front of the theatre of our lives. We take it a lot more seriously than we let on, but like high school we pretend that it doesn’t hurt when we’re insulted, passed by, snickered at, or worst of all, not noticed."
When Steve first started writing about attention and gestures I'd not even heard of Twitter or Facebook and much of his theses went as far over my head as would a passage from Ulysses. But I think he's beginning to get through.
When I look at Facebook, Jaiku, et al, through the lens of the above quotation I see it in a different light. If Twitter is a petri dish for social grooming on a massive scale is the @ symbol the digital flea?
Part 2 to follow: "Why Twitter beats Jaiku - those LOLcats had fle@s"