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Water Seeks Its Own Level

February 24, 2010

Tonight, my department chair invited Gerard Bush and the cool folks from brpr to share their thoughts with my public relations students at Miami International University of Art & Design. The comment I’ll remember most – which Gerard attributed to his dad – is this: “Water seeks its own level. Show me your friends and you’ll show me yourself.”

The idea that we are defined by the people we surround ourselves with is not a new one, especially if you’re from a big family or a small town. But it has new meaning when your Facebook friends, your LinkedIn connections and your Twitter followers may be literally visible for all to see.

There are interesting and even ominous practical implications. At a recent SMCSF meeting, someone in the financial industry said they’d started looking at people’s social media posts, and even the people within their online networks, when making lending decisions. Employers increasingly Google prospects and look at their social media interactions and connections when deciding whom to hire.

Other implications are entirely personal, particularly if your life and career span multiple worlds, and you’re connected to people with widely disparate beliefs and priorities. I must admit I’ve unfriended people because I got tired of their political diatribes or spiritual explorations showing up on my wall.

Recently my sister eloped. My family all learned about it not from the family meeting she convened that afternoon to share the excitement, but from the photos she’d posted on Facebook a few hours earlier on her drive back home. People in her life who I’d never met had already congratulated her before I’d even heard the news.

Life’s most important moments, decisions and ideas happen in a hyperreality augmented by what happens online. Our worlds are both smaller and larger, hungrier and thirstier as a result.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 10, 2011 1:44 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I also had to drop some friends from facebook because of the company they keep. I’ve always liked the phrase “Water seeks its own level.” It represents for me my desire to meet individuals of kindred spirit to engage in conversation which is the ceremony of companionship. Thank you for your post.

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