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Social Media - am I just "antisocial"?

© December 2007 Anthony Lawrence


I'm sure you get them too: "So and so would like you to join his network at.." This started a while back, and has been becoming more frequent nowadays. I guess I'm just confused and out of touch yet again, because I don't get it.

Oh, I respond: unless I have no clue at all who the person is, I'll dutifully click the "Accept" link and if I haven't joined before I'll go through whatever annoying sign-up procedure is required. I even joined one (Orkut) because Google bought it and I figured if they spent money on it, it must be important.

Certainly plenty of people seem to agree. Look at this Let's Exchange Social Media Contacts post, where total strangers are exchanging social media links. Wikipedia says:

Social Media is the democratization of information, transforming
people from content readers into content publishers. It is the
shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted
in conversations between authors, people, and peers.

Wait, I thought that was what blogging and websites was about..

I definitely agree with gapingvoid.com on this:

2007 has been all about :"Social Networks". With Facebook leading
the charge, suddenly who you know seems far more interesting to
the journalists than what you know. Screw the nodes, it's now all
about the network, People. All about "The Social Graph", People.
We no longer worry about what we have to say, we worry about who's
controlling our data. We no longer talk about folk we know, like
and admire, and what they're up to, we talk about hot-shot startups
and how many billions Microsoft is going to pay for them.

Of course, you realize this is all crap.

Well, I'm not ready to say that yet, but I do wonder: what is the supposed value? I've poked around Linkin, Orkut and a few other places, and I just don't see why I'd want to be there. Yes, I can read What can your LinkedIn Network do for you?, but it just doesn't feel compelling to me: if we know each other now, what value does jotting that down in a "network" add? Everything that Linkedin or any of the other networks claims to offer us are all things we can do without it. So what's the point?

Apparently some see financial oportunity. The very fact that they do makes me even more disinclined to get involved, and it is immediately obvious that this sort of junk has taken over some community forums: look at this Mac forum on Orkut: it's cluttered with junk. Certainly better moderation can cut down on that, but tell me: what makes this any better or worse than plain old newsgroups? Why do I need a Social Network to read a newsgroup?

I don't. And if I want advice from people I know, or want to know if they know anyone who can provide something I'm looking for, I don't need a "network" - I just need a phone or email. Yet the networks exist, and seem to be popular, so I must be missing something, right?

I'm sure someone will tell me.. maybe I should check with my Networks?

Some other links:

Why Social Networks Stink
Social Networks Doomed
How Your Creepy Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook

Got something to add? Send me email.

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-> Social Media - am I just 'antisocial'

Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take Control of Numbers

Take Control of Apple Mail, Third Edition

Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course

iOS 10: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of iCloud

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