I can't say I'm a really sociable person. I'm not that communicative and not that easy-going when it comes to making friends with new people. On Facebook, I usually talk with four or five people I often talk offline to and that's it. I'm quite happy with it, because I don't have any strong urge to expand my social horizons and get to know some new people or get in touch with the people I used to hang out with a lot but then lost them out of sight: if I do this, there usually is a good reason for this.
That's why I alway wondered what's all the fuss around the social on the Web, why every more or less large Internet project has the social as one of its top priorities. A couple of days ago I finally got it thanks to… Tetris.
The legendary Soviet game is not only legendary and Soviet. It's also one of the most boring games there are: the basic idea behind it hasn't changed since the 1980-s and if you're not playing it for the first time in your life, you must be really fed up with it.
However, the Tetris Battle Facebook app changes it all the moment you start playing. You don't merely have to complete as many lines as possible within two minutes, you've got to do it faster and better than your adversary. And you should complete at least two lines a time, because in that case you send an additional bottom line to your opponent.
Maybe it doesn't sound that exciting, but being a testosterone-laden being, commonly designated as 'man', as soon as it comes to contest and competition, my instincts wake up and take over the helm in my head. I just can't help it: if I know these are real people I am competing with, I MUST be the best and I can't stop until I win (either do millions of other men… well, and, to a lesser extent, women all over the globe).
And that's the gist of the matter. The social networks transfer the relationships between people into a virtual environment, giving them a new dimension. We can just enjoy all the things we enjoy offline (the excitement of competition among them) without spending so much time, physical, and financial resources on it. At the same time, our social scope within a social network is several orders of magnitude larger than that offline. Nowadays, we can not only play baseball with the guys living next door or show our ultimate Tetris skills to a classmate we invited to our place: we can play hundreds of game with boys and girls living literally on the other end of the world. And the same is true for most of other things we can think of in the offline communication.
In other words, the online communication is no different from the offline one. Moreover, it is utterly senseless to draw any distinction between the two: there's no such thing as the online or offline communication, there's only Communication. And that's why the social is so great.
P.S.: I am not affiliated with the developers and owners of tetris Battle and have any commercial liaison with them. Just love this app.