A Dog or a Social Network

This weekend we enjoyed a lovely lunch with Kristin’s Catalan friend Anna at her apartment in San Cugat — just outside Barcelona. We then walked a few blocks to her parking garage so we could drive to the woods to take Greta, her dog, for a walk.

Greta... Dog or Social Network?
Greta... Dog or Social Network?

Several people said hi to Anna as we walked into the garage. She commented that she has two groups of neighbors… those in her apartment building and those in her parking garage. As we drove, and walked, she also mentioned the people she has met through dog walking.

Greta is, in a way, one of Anna’s social networks. There are people she encounters only because of Greta.

And the interactions are clearly very warm, human, social…. They are decidedly “undigital” — waving, smiling, nodding, glancing, exchanging a small set of words — teeny social interactions.

I know many people who feel the web is a cold, impersonal place… and that spending time online is nothing like walking around with a dog interacting with people.

I disagree (though I’d never argue for and end to walking around… ever!)

Tools like Facebook and others allow for many digital versions of these little forms of social interaction so important in the “physical” world.

“Poking”, “nudging”, leaving little comments on photos, etc. are small forms of social interactions that didn’t exist a short while ago. They are very social. Very human. Very warm.

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1 response

  1. b,

    dogs are like kids that way. at least having a dog in the city is. they bring you in contact with a lot of people – and a lot of these people are outside your normal circle.

    I’ve got a lot of acquaintances in my neighborhood – I barely know their names, mostly know them by their dogs. But we’ve done a fair amount of political organizing (mostly online) and managed to get the city to install a brand new dog park in our neighborhood.

    it’s just a natural, common interest – our dogs. very human, very family (dogs) oriented, casual. usually avoid politics.

    so what? is that something important? you tell me.

    also, can I have a prize for commenting?


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