This is my first foray into social networking, other than watching over my daughter's shoulder. By the way, just yesterday she told me she has taken down her MySpace page. It's been a constant with her for the last 3 years and she has thousands of "friends", most of whom she met in real life first and actually seems to know. She taught herself Flash and HTML programming because of it. I tried to engage her in a conversation about it and the most I could get out of her was, "it's just annoying now." Whether this is her growing up (19, first year of college) or MySpace being cluttered with ads and robot-friends or something else I'm not sure.
All that aside, this community has been a cool place so far for me, but I feel like I'm still missing parts of the puzzle.
Maybe some of you can clue me in on what I'm not seeing!
1. I don't quite understand what having "friends" means. I'm happy when someone asks me, but I don't know why. Should that matter? So I've accepted every invitation. But what does that get me? Is there something I should be doing with my friends that I'm not doing with other people? Am I supposed to be asking people to be friends too? What are friends for? (the musical portion of the question)
2. I wish there was some "here" here. I guess by that I mean a notice that someone is actually around live. Maybe that's just so last Thursday, but when I get an email saying that there is a new comment, and I go to the site and there are posts from minutes ago, I get the feeling like there are people "here" but I just can't see them or talk to them. It's like being a ghost in the room and seems sad somehow. I know this exists in some tools, and maybe this is a "coming soon" feature. So the question is, Is chatting important or not important to a community?
3. Why is the chatterwall different from posts? Is this the answer to #2?
Ning seems to have its little quirks and growing pains, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm asking for a guide to the social scene and a tour through people's heads.