Social Network Protocols

What’s your system for socializing? We all have one, conscious or subconscious. It’s only a question of whether you know how and why you socialize and of what you intend to do with such knowledge.

We already schedule time with friends. It might be regular phone calls or gaming sessions, football parties or knitting parties, conferences or conventions, real or virtual. It might be haphazard, like with our social media habits. In the latter case, though, someone else’s algorithms tend to do the scheduling for us. Why not take back control of your schedule?

How are you distributing your limited social energy and time? You could spend all day checking in on your parasocial relationships without receiving a single reply. You could interact with dozens of random netizens with only a few, disproportionately negative interactions to show for it (see: public voice chat on most multiplayer games). Or you could cultivate communications with a small, deliberate selection of people who have you context and care about how you feel. One of these options breeds FOMO like it’s going out of style (and is, in fact, driven by fads and fashion). Another one drives you away from participating at all. Only the third option allows and encourages community and lasting relationships. What concrete steps can you take to foster the latter?