Monday, January 2, 2012

Plugging into social networks

Social networks look a little different in the country than they do in the city.

This morning I was walking to church and my neighbors were pulling out of their driveway and offered to give me a ride. Yesterday before leaving for a party I walked to another neighbor's house to wish them a happy new year. That neighbor happened to be my brother, so I guess that's a little different. The point is, in the country a social network involves very few zeros and ones. Rather, a country social network is a bunch of people living near each other. That's it. Simply being near each other requires you all to know everyone and look out for everyone. I know if some strange car pulls into the barnyard our neighbors will know and report it to my parents. That's just how it works.

Now that I'm living in LA, I don't even know the people who share the walls in my apartment building. My social network there consists of some people I met in classes who live all over the city.

My point here is that country social networks are people in proximity while city social networks are people at a distance. You can make arguments saying it's a division of responsibility between more people and how that means every individual is less responsible for everyone else, etc. What I've noticed from this is my own subtle detachment.

I remember when I said yes to every invitation to adventure, whatever it is (or I at least imagined a time when I might have done that). Now I would much rather say maybe next time and just play xbox. I see it in small ways in improv in the moments when I resist saying yes to something my scene partner introduced. I saw it in church when I was asked to be one of the people doing the collection (I view that as the tax for sitting near the back of the church). I am an actor and am used to being in front of people and here I am not wanting to carry a basket on a stick during mass.

Now that I recognize this, I can shake it off and move forward not only maintaining my social network from all the places I've been, but building it wherever I go by saying yes and participating in life. No more dalliance with detachment. Now there's a New Year's resolution for you.

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