Multiple Social Circles

This is a little rant about being a member of multiple social circles, both from location and technological points of view. Nothing has sparked the rant apart from a quiet Sunday at home.

I'm naturally quite a shy/quiet person, but have always felt pretty comfortable expressing myself online. What happens though, when you have multiple social circles which don't overlap? I've never really been into huge social circles, I've been more into small, more involved groups, so I'm not experienced with juggling between them.

For me at least it seems that to a greater extent my online life is left behind slightly in favour of my 'real life', and that didn't bother me too much (after all, it's real life) until I started meeting up with the people I socialise with online, and it gets gradually trickier to deal with the more I meet those people as it means also becoming more involved in the online communities upon which we originally met.

My offline friends, although geeky, don't understand the attraction of the (I hate the term!) 'web2.0' lifestyle. I've only managed to get 2 people I know offline to sign-up to Jaiku, and neither of those ever actually use it. Add to that most of my offline friend's aversion to having photos/videos taken of them, and even greater aversion to having those photos put online (although I tend to mark those as private). These kind of things culminate in a widening of the divide between groups.

Because of the lack of online interactivity (apart from Instant Messenger) of my offline friends, I find getting fully immersed in the latest online 'thing' hard at times and occasionally get left behind/give up. The kind of things I'm talking about are Jaiku and Seesmic, and to a lesser extent, even Flickr and Upcoming.org type services. My offline friends are Facebook users, and apart from having my own content presented through Facebook 'apps' they don't really see the things I upload. What's also a little spooky is that my parents will probably find this post quicker than my offline friends.

How do you explain to your friends services like Jaiku and Seesmic? I don't mean the technology that makes it happen, I mean the sociological 'why would you want to do that?' questions.

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Friday 12 September 2008 13:45 | user icon mike

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About the author

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On weekdays I'm a Technical Lead at Comparethemarket.com, having previously been a Solution Architect at Nokia & Nokia Siemens Networks, creating creative software solutions for mobile operators around the world.

In my spare time I'm an avid new technology fan, and constantly strive to find innovative uses for the new gadgets I manage to get my hands on. Most recently I've been investigating Mobile Codes, RFID and Home automation (mainly Z-Wave). With a keen eye for usability I'm attempting to create some cost-effective, DIY technology solutions which would rival even high-end retail products. The software I develop is usually released as Open Source.

I have a Finnish geek partner, so have begun the difficult task of learning Finnish.


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