hmmm, I’ve gone through different phases in the past with regards to how my social network was built and who was in it (see below). For the longest time it was very much an offline network even through I can’t really remember ever not having socialised online- I guess my existing offline network moved online. To have a resilient and diverse online social network it needs to not consist of people who are too much like yourself. And I think you get there by doing very different things in different contexts in your life. Mm I try to be impartial and reflective as well as to not be associated with any political entity- an independent thinker. I’ll generally refrain from expressing my opinions and requests for actions unless it’s about something that I know will adversely affect us all and is too unsexy for people to pay attention too unless friends point out that they need to.I am not comfortable with commercial networks knowing much about me-I also think that attempts at controlling the flow of our data are futile due to pervasiveness of surveillance. I manage this by trying to be careful about what I publish about myself.
Phase 1: First period as independent grown up. During this phase I was just drifting and kind of bumping into people along the way very excited to be out in the world and friendly and open, giving people keys to my home if I liked them. People were always hanging out at my place or sleeping on the floor of my room after a wild night out, seldom fewer than four people crashing at my place. And I’d cook pasta for everyone. Which is how I came to be living in a commune with some really nice people. It was a point where I was coming out of my shell in terms of my creative urges and started painting and drawing alot more. Over time my network started to change shape, more free-spirited, restless people with jobs that were different from what they were passionate about- jobs in supermarkets, hotels or cafes. And everyone was in at least one band. A lot of of my time was spent in dingy rehearsal studios in the middle of nowhere and gigs in non-descript venues or obscure festivals.
Phase 2: Get a profession. At this point I started feeling the pressure to grow up and get a profession. I tried my hand at different professions including working as a cook, really wanted to go to art school and ended up in Engineering uni. My social network started to change, including more students as a result of spending more time in the university building as well as more ambitious creative people outside the academic environment. This was a result of my getting involved in a lot of extracurricular activities, both ones directly tied to developing a professional profile and ones that were just fun like throwing art space parties. I was drawn towards people I could learn from and would just walk up to them and tell them i wanted to learn from them or collaborate on things together.What I was looking for in my relationships at the time was to get things done, make things happen. And I tended to draw people who also were very focused.
Phase 3: Survival and happiness. I’m at the phase where I see my social networks as a large chunk of what makes me happy in the world- being surrounded by people I like and respect and feel good around is my main focus at the moment. And that means people who are warm and curious about the world they live in and want to have fun experiencing it with others. It also means trying to build a lifestyle where that joy depends as little on the ups and downs of the world financial doings, or undoings if you like, as possible. And finding people who want to do that too…