Facebook Chronicles: The Three Rs and the End

by Barb Cashman on July 11, 2012

This is the final installment of our hero’s journey, and I’m combining the three Rs of the journey: Reward, Road Back, and Return with Elixir.

This sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it?  I think we should cue The Lord of the Rings’ “Return of the King” for this occasion.

The end – or is it just a new beginning?  Okay, so now that we’ve returned, we’re right back in the place we started from. The big difference is that now we can see differently – we have traveled to the “special world,” which isn’t just Facebook, of course, but a broader space of Internet-facilitated collaborative opportunities.  In Howard Rheingold’s fifth chapter of “Netsmart,” “Social Has a Shape,” he describes how networks exist everywhere in our world and the network is a common underlying structure of all networks that have fewer than six (about 5.5) degrees of separation.  These include: the nervous system of the lowly roundworm C. Elegans (with whom we humans share about 35 percent closely related genes); the power grid of the western United States; and our social cyberspaces as they come out of email, blogs, hyperlinks, IMs, and so on.

Maybe this “special world” is merely an evolutionary extension of our known world.  Check out this video from the Hubble deep field telescope, accompanied by the beautiful voice and ethereal music of Enya (her song here is “Pilgrim”). Our special world is the network society – having moved beyond the information society. The network society  is causing fundamental “reconfiguration of human social, political, and economic institutions.”

I also liked “The Evolution of Cooperation: Competition is Not the Only Force that Shaped Life on Earth,” from the July 2012 issue of Scientific American,  and the article by Martin Nowak, “Why We Help.”  Nowak’s article describes a public goods game (inspired by the “tragedy of the commons” of the late 1960s)  that found that people were more altruistic when: (1) they are convinced (educated) that sacrifices for the common good are needed; (2) they are allowed to make contributions publicly (to enhance reputation); and (3)  they feel they are being watched.  Sorry – but this last one sounds positively theological to me, so I have to mention Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who also had some very forward-looking ideas about the evolution of humanity and consciousness.

Nowak’s final observation is that “the altruistic spirit always seems to rebuild itself; our moral compasses realign.”  I liked this last comment about evolutionary simulations because it looks to be consistent with Teilhard de Chardin’s observations on the drawing together of noospheric effects and offers much promise for realizing the potential of social networks within the Internet.  I love this connection between Nowak, the mathematical biologist at Harvard; Teilhard, the late Jesuit paleontologist/theologian; and … Facebook!  That’s a glimpse of the special world that is all around us today – at least from my point of view.

If you’re still wondering about how much social networking you want to do and how much you can commit to, here’s a link to a helpful article in the June 2012 issue Law Practice Management about getting it started and keeping it up.  I have to admit that now that I am on Facebook and broadcasting my blog posts to my social networks, I seem to be reaching a broader audience.

I am still having some “issues” with nailing down the jello that is the distinction between my business page and my personal profile.  Posting to the biz page  is not always as easy as it ought to be … another story.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this series.  I approached it with much trepidation because I lost my collaborator on this project and friend Matt Willson, but I managed to pull it off.

This is an exciting time for Solo in Colo – we have several new regular bloggers who will write monthly posts, and we are always looking for more submissions to continue to build our community.


Image by andyarthur.


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