No Social Network Day 28: Social Calculator


Picture: 1944: IBM co-develops its first computer, the Automated Sequence Controlled Calculator aka Mark I, with Harvard University. It was used by the Navy to calculate gun trajectories. IBM’s illustrated history

In this social experiment of going off social networks, I’ve come to realize a certain calculation, or equation, in my head. I will automate it, but for now, this is the plan.

On each channel: # of new people you’ve met * (talking to loved ones/ time spent online social networks)
The “quality social rate” is the (talking to loved ones / time spent online on network)

Hopefully this shows that the ratio of quality social time is very diminished by various factors that I need to work in (oh where is my 7th grader niece and her math skills that I was “helping” with this weekend?)

- lower the score if the ratio of quality to quantity
- increase if new people involved
- decrease if large time spent (less efficient)
- show improvement if IRL events planned via network

Will probably do this all with a weighting system.

What’s Going on, or, the Why:

What I’ve noticed after weaning myself from our contemporary social networks, is the basic lesson that In Real Life (IRL) interactions are vastly more efficient than our digital replacements. And, as I wrote earlier, that there’s this compulsive “Friend anxiety” about the digital social networks.

So the weighting/calculation here is that: Facebook and Twitter, while social networks, don’t deliver the full healthy meal of a real life encounter. They’re like the McDonalds compared to the Whole Foods’ quinoa salad. They serve in a pinch, but if you subsist on a diet of it, you’re going to be sadly lacking. Oddly, or conversely, and yet just in line with my metaphor, they have addictive gaming elements that make you want to stay on them far past the desireable time period (which makes them not only less nutritious, but less efficient).

It’s not all bad, as these evolve and as we learn our behaviors in relationship to them, we can use them for their beneficial qualities. Meeting new people, that evolve into new friendships and relationships to me is the goal, the optimal health marker in social life. Though Facebook has a lot of benefits, it’s not a relationship creator, but a relationship maintainer, which is important. Twitter, though less interesting than Facebook, does lead to new friends and acquaintances, making its worth and efficiency far higher. Still, I’m going to automate this so that you can calculate and compare your score, hopefully in a way of leading a healthier social life.

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