i’ve got a long, highly jaded history with social networks (and apparently the title “anti-social neworking”), and none of them have provided me the sort joy promised. My social groups have not expanded, my life hasn’t been made easier and frankly, they’re more work then they’re really worth.
It’s just that now i’m not the only person saying that.
Again, the biggest problem with social networking sites is that they were created by people who don’t have friends. Think about it. All the social sites tend to assume that you’ve only got one group of friends/coworkers/family members/associates and that you all do everything with each other every day. That’s because the folks that build these sorts of things don’t have enough people in their lives to realized that folks don’t work that way. They have dozens if not hundreds of social groups that fit together like an omni-directional Venn diagram.
This isn’t to say that those networks don’t work for some folks. MySpace reflects one group of that (kinda) in that the cool kids who hang around together still do. It’s replaced slipping notes into you friends locker, only this time, it’s easier for your mom to find them. Still, if all they do is provide a way for you to duplicate what you’re doing in the real world, exactly what benefit comes from having it in the first place? If anything, all it adds is a level of hassle because now you have to not only make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest fashions, but your page also doesn’t look dated and old, only to find out that the people you’re trying to impress haven’t checked on it in weeks.
It’s like making sure your underwear drawer is properly sorted in case someone checks.
Do i think that social has a place on-line? Yes, i just don’t think that it’s going to exist solely for the purpose of being “social”. It’s going to be target oriented, (e.g. Fans of a Band, People in a Neighborhood, Students in a Class) much like a lot of traditional forums/groups/lists were before the advent of “social media”.
Granted, that means getting out and talking to people, and for some folks i know, that’s far scarier.