Monday, November 03, 2008

Social Media Overload

This critique of the social web gave me plenty to ponder over but if one was looking for a succinct description of why social media is an insufficient remedy for all that ails society, Trebor Scholz has it exactly right:

Social platforms become a partial remedy, a fix for these societal ills. It would not be hard to find cases of social isolation but overall the obese teenager or the alienated adult is not a product of the Social Web but of the described problems of society at large.

The other noteworthy point he makes is the need for successful social media to be a popular watering hole for those who participate - which is why the friends, contacts, followers and the like. Scholz says :

User’s friends are concentrated in only a few places, which is a key motivating factor for people to congregate there. Content, therefore, is also concentrated, which makes these sites more attractive. This captivity is not accidental but is rather central to startup business strategies.

While the sites may become attractive destinations, the individuals who frequent them seeking social connections are still likely to feel isolated and lonely, not sure which is favored destination of the moment - i.e should they be on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn or something more niche like Shelfari, Gather or Vox.

With that, it becomes almost impossible to not have s
ocial network aggregators to come to the rescue. The only problem with these rescue packages is that while they will gather up the activity from all your different networks to one place, you are still on own your own as far a being able to tune out the noise and focus on what you really need or like.

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