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Leaving Friends Behind – the problem of personal irrelevancy

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Social Evolution in progress…

From Ed Yourdon. Quote:

And so it is today with social networks. It doesn’t matter which ones you belong to; the point is that, to increasing degree over the next few years, if you adamantly and noisily refuse to participate in any of them, an entire generation of people who do use these networks will conclude: you’re irrelevant.

They won’t bother trying to convince you or persuade you; they won’t object, protest, march, or complain loudly. They’ll simply ignore you. It’s okay with them — and if it’s okay with you, then everyone is happy. But if you wonder why fewer and fewer people are paying attention to you, there’s a reason …

I began to notice this a few weeks ago when I started sending out Dopplr invitations to friends and business colleagues — mostly of my own middle-aged generation — whom I would enjoy meeting up with while on out-of-town trips. Thus far, roughly one-third of the people I’ve invited to join Dopplr (which, of course, is free) have accepted; but two-thirds have simply ignored the invitation.

One of them said to me, in person, “I don’t know what this is, and I don’t know why I would want to use such a service — and besides, it looks too complicated.” To which my response is simply a shrug: you’ve just become irrelevant.

As a result, I find myself slowly building a new network of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances … and slowly leaving behind a much larger network of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances I’ve built up over the past 40 years of my adult life.

It’s not that I dislike any of my old friends and colleagues … but it’s almost as if they’ve consciously chosen not to have an email address, not to have a cell phone, and not to have a fax number. Hey, that’s fine; Western Union and the Pony Express are out of business, but if I have to write a snail-mail letter to communicate with my old friends, I guess I can do it once or twice a year. But in the meantime, there’s a younger generation that’s learning how to communicate, collaborate, share ideas, and keep track of each other’s travel plans, and day-to-day activities through a variety of new networks.

Avoid personal irrelevancy – get with the program –


Written by frrl

June 17, 2009 at 3:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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