‘Social Networking’ (outside the wire)

When I’m not at my computer (rare) I’ve been finding myself at the local real estate office.
Two doors down the street is an office that has been a part of Munhall for about…. ever. The fact that it’s a Real Estate office and occasionally some real estate is bought, sold or whatever  is really only a technicality.
During the work week at 10 am and 4pm (and before 10, between 10 and 4, and after 4) a group of local men of varying ages gather there to put the world, and each other to rights.
It’s like a daily roast for all involved. There are no holds barred.
It’s too bad that so few of the ideas born in the back of that office make it out of the door, surely the World would be a better place for it.

Oh, there is coffee too. Lots and lots of coffee, half as many do-nuts as there can be, a third of the muffins there should be and never enough creamer.

Anyway, I was thinking today. This is Social Networking, right? (Brogan, tell me if I’m wrong) There are business transactions, calls for help, finances, investments, and other business done there.
There’s very little to do with Computers, the Internet or IT in general though. In fact wherever possible they try to steer well clear of anything postdating a typewriter and abacus.  
Still though, according to Wikipedia:

A social network is a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, idea, financial exchange, friends, kinship, dislike, conflict, trade, web links, sexual relations, disease transmission (epidemiology), or airline routes. The resulting structures are often very complex.

I’ve never really been one for ‘networking’, never the ‘social butterfly’, even though I am the founder of an IT Networking Organization but this, I can do.

I don’t even know how I got into this group, it kind of just happened.

This all got me to thinking how now a lot has changed really, well at least between ‘Social Networking’ online and in person.

The idea hasn’t changed, if you know someone who offers a service you recommend them to someone else. If you’re in a group of like-minded individuals then you deal with each other. Because people know people the web spawns, people know each other and circles grow and the network expands.

‘Geeks’ haven’t changed either. I’m talking about that group which I consider myself not a part of. I’m talking about the stereotypical, pocket protector wearing, magic playing, bespectacled, reclusive, greasy, pimpled, unnecessarily long word using, IQ touting…. nerd.

So, where did the online social networking community come from? Social and IT (nerds) never meshed.

What caused a new group to emerge? when did it happen? I know that in Pittsburgh at least, the group of New/Social Media types I know can be as technologically knowledge as some of the nerdiest nerds out there but are nothing like them.

Would you call this one a subculture? it’s hardly an underground movement.

What do you think? Cause of the emergence? when? who and how?

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  • http://scottsweep.com/blog Scottsweep

    I’m not so sure that our crowd isn’t really just geeks-evolved. Are we hard-core computer science types? No, but we certainly espouse some of the aspects of geek culture (yes, a few of us enjoy playing magic and have had hours long discussion over the merits of 80s cartoons), but this group is something more. The Pgh New Media crowd is a mash-up of numerous personalities that works because of the shared interest in social-media and the use of technology. I truly think the technology is secondary, but it also enables a much higher level of bonding than just weekly or monthly get-togethers would allow. Without things like twitter it would have taken years for a group like this to gel. The catalyst for this group was most likely PodCamp as it was common ground for several smaller cliques. It evolved and grew because of shared interest. At the heart of though it is not all that different than folks sitting around drinking coffee and talking about the world.

  • http://scottsweep.com/blog Scottsweep

    I’m not so sure that our crowd isn’t really just geeks-evolved. Are we hard-core computer science types? No, but we certainly espouse some of the aspects of geek culture (yes, a few of us enjoy playing magic and have had hours long discussion over the merits of 80s cartoons), but this group is something more. The Pgh New Media crowd is a mash-up of numerous personalities that works because of the shared interest in social-media and the use of technology. I truly think the technology is secondary, but it also enables a much higher level of bonding than just weekly or monthly get-togethers would allow. Without things like twitter it would have taken years for a group like this to gel. The catalyst for this group was most likely PodCamp as it was common ground for several smaller cliques. It evolved and grew because of shared interest. At the heart of though it is not all that different than folks sitting around drinking coffee and talking about the world.

  • http://mybrilliantmistakes.com/ Cynthia Closkey

    I think humans are drawn to each other — that’s the social part. How we connect changes, whether it’s repeatedly running into the same folks at the coffeeshop and eventually making a point to hang out and catch up with each other, or creating events like bridge games so that we have something to do and think about while we talk, or creating new tools like http://www.pghbloggers.org so we can find like-minded (or opposite-minded) people with whom to discourse.

    The web is amazing for helping people find people. I had already met a few of the people in the Pittsburgh social media crowd through other social event series (Geek Night, PUMP), but I agree with Scott that PodCamp Pittsburgh was a catalyst and brought people together more quickly.

    I also think it’s true, though, that any one person can maintain only some maximum number of relationships. In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell cites studies that say groups function well with no more than 150 members. I wonder whether the web increases that number, or if it remains the same and we simply are getting by with some number of superficial connections.

  • http://mybrilliantmistakes.com Cynthia Closkey

    I think humans are drawn to each other — that’s the social part. How we connect changes, whether it’s repeatedly running into the same folks at the coffeeshop and eventually making a point to hang out and catch up with each other, or creating events like bridge games so that we have something to do and think about while we talk, or creating new tools like http://www.pghbloggers.org so we can find like-minded (or opposite-minded) people with whom to discourse.

    The web is amazing for helping people find people. I had already met a few of the people in the Pittsburgh social media crowd through other social event series (Geek Night, PUMP), but I agree with Scott that PodCamp Pittsburgh was a catalyst and brought people together more quickly.

    I also think it’s true, though, that any one person can maintain only some maximum number of relationships. In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell cites studies that say groups function well with no more than 150 members. I wonder whether the web increases that number, or if it remains the same and we simply are getting by with some number of superficial connections.

  • http://mybrilliantmistakes.com/?p=775 Let me tell you a story at My Brilliant Mistakes | Cynthia Closkey’s blog

    [...] On a related note, over at AndrewAlan.com Andy explores social networking on the web and in real life. Good [...]

  • http://www.financecoachllc.com Travis

    I concur with Scott. Although the technology may be secondary, it does accelerate the pace of knowledge and information transfer. The internet is just a big transportation device. Enabling many more “Real Estate office meetings” in a shorter time period to occur. Alvin Toffler may be right in predicting that one day information overload will hit. The net result is people will rely on “topic experts” in their online social network to help make decisions.

  • http://www.financecoachllc.com/ Travis

    I concur with Scott. Although the technology may be secondary, it does accelerate the pace of knowledge and information transfer. The internet is just a big transportation device. Enabling many more “Real Estate office meetings” in a shorter time period to occur. Alvin Toffler may be right in predicting that one day information overload will hit. The net result is people will rely on “topic experts” in their online social network to help make decisions.

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