Recently, Fictoris wrote a blog about learning Social Networking skills from small towns. In his blog he states that everyone knows everyone and their second cousin in small towns. Now if you’re not from North Dakota or a lesser populated state, a small “town” to you maybe a town of 50,000 people, or even 100,000 people - depending where you are from. But here in good ol’ ND, small is about 500 people or even less! The main thesis of his blog was to learn from the individuals in these towns that take a general interest in their neighbors/friends/citizens.

Can social networks learn something from this small closeness of a community? Can individuals learn something from the web of people and their connections in a community?

Social networks have been around far longer than the internet has, but now it seems like whenever we hear “social network”, we have learned to think about Twitter or Facebook. I have expressed a fear in lack of communication and social skills in people thanks to all that is capable because of the internet. And living with a self-proclaimed nerd, it is not an easy fight to win. Sometimes I think people have forgotten about face to face communication and the bonding that you can really only get through interpersonal socializing. Both social networks online and any individual can learn so much from a community that is made up of 90% of people over 65 years in age. These are the people that have seen the process of technology and the changes it has had on the world. These are the people that have seen and learned so much, and yet still are able to find that bond - that closeness - that link, to each individual they encounter.

Now I am in no way disapproving of online social networking (I’m on Twitter and Facebook and yes, sadly at one time MySpace). I just hope that people also remember their bonds with other individuals through other social networks besides the internet. And whether online or face to face, show an interest in whomever you meet and be part of something no matter how big or small you think it may be.