In Which I Map Social Media to High School Like Everyone Else, but with an Actual Map

It's a little frightening to me how well my social media experience maps onto my high school ones. This is a picture of how. Your mileage, of course, may vary (particularly if you hung out in the gym -- for me, that was like one of the Circles of Hell).

 Classrooms: Where we did Actual Work. This is why we were at high school, but nobody wanted to admit it. And for sure nobody wanted to hang out here. If we could, we would've hung out outside all the time.

Rally Court: Our quad was loud, busy, and everybody could see what everyone else was doing (which was how some of the cheerleaders knew me as "one of those guys who plays cards all the time" (spoken with trademark patronizing giggle, of course)). But for the most part, it was easy to catch up with friends here.

For me, Facebook is like this. There are lots of people there, including old friends I thought I'd lost touch with. But mostly I go there to hang out with my family and real life friends. It helps that many of Facebook's features make it easier for me to maintain conversations across timezones.

Cafeteria: Like the Rally Court, this place was loud and crowded -- even more so because it was enclosed. You could never tell if someone heard you or not. But as I became more socially adept, I had new groups of friends who didn't hang out in the Rally Court, and this was where I found them.

Twitter. It's loud, crowded, and I never know if anybody's listening. But some of my best friends are there, and I like how quick and easy it is to follow people and read updates.

Academic Quad: This place was exactly like the Rally Court, but with fewer people. Occasionally a couple of us would wander there to get away from the noise, but mostly nothing happened there.

Maybe Google will figure out some magic feature to make everybody switch over, but I suspect that what most people dislike about the other social networks is caused -- not by privacy issues or odd features -- but by the sheer quantity of people. If Google+ ever goes big, it wouldn't surprise me to hear a bunch of the early adopters complain about it.

Library: This was where I preferred to be, though not for the reason you think. We played D&D in there. It was relatively quiet, and mostly only people who actually wanted to hang out with me came in there, much like this blog.

In truth, I think the particular features of a social network don't matter nearly as much as who is on it. At least that's how it is for me. If everyone I know suddenly migrated to Bebo or Wooxie or (God-forbid) back to MySpace, I'd be over there too.


So am I the only one who played games all through lunch? What was your high school like?


Matthew MacNish said...

Your arrows make it look like you were trying to get the hell out of there.

Sarah Ahiers said...

well, i'm in MN so hanging outside for us was really only possible for like 3-4 months of the schoolyear. So hanging out in classrooms was no big deal, especially if you were friends with the teacher. I also spent a lot of time in the music rooms, since i was in orchestra

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Matthew made me LOL.

And this: we would've hung out outside all the time. is because you grew up in CA, the only place (beside FL) where all of this isn't enclosed.

My friends (all 3) and I hung out on the lawn, upwind of the greased-monkey-smelling cafeteria and about as far from the gym as was physically possible without scaling the chain-link fences. I don't think we did anything but talk (and read stories I had written when I was supposed to be studying Chemistry).