Thursday, July 12, 2007

Social sites, Finding the ties

Since joining Pownce I have noticed that by design it limits some of the anit-social social behavior. With fewer pictures, and the ability to have your posts only shown to friends I feel like the stalking you see and hear about on Myspace that disturbs me so much is slightly limited. However the annoying trying to have everyone under the sun as a friend habit is not. This guy is already at in on Pownce.

In mildly related news Techcrunch reminded us that Myspace is still number one in the social site standings, and traffic is growing. First off, they certainly have achieved the tipping point so it is very unlikely that they will die anytime soon, even with a significant mis-step they are likely to continue to have strong traffic volume. The whole phenomenon is rather interesting on the micro-scale in that fundamentally the site is driven by personal connection. Users still love this, and the people that haven't created profiles yet that are coming to the site and starting into the community are still grabbed the way that many users where when Myspace started to get hot.

There is something profound about whole personal connection, especially the opportunity to reconnect. For instance I am going to a wedding this September for two people that knew each other in High School and lost track. Both had changed, and they reconnected on Myspace. That is some of the magic that will make those to strong supporters of Myspace, and I am sure they are not the first or the last to find romance. This type of reconnection used to happen through the community process that has virtually disappeared in the physical world. Friend of Friends meeting years later and finding love is neither new nor germane to the online world.

The downswing of these sites it is does require situational/information awareness in social interactions. Certainly this is not different than the physical community interactions in my opinion, so image control translates to the virtual world. The main difference is the reach, individuals knowing about your indiscretions vs indiscretions posted in a searchable and open to any eyes that go looking for it.

In spite of the inherent dangers of reach and overexposure the use and utilization of social networks is continuing to grow, and could be the key to rebuilding the community that news media bemoans as dying. The internet at large can still be about community, that I have a Name and choose to use a pseudonym doesn't prevent individuals from building trust in my moniker any more if I used a real name and that is something you can hang a hat on, maybe a coat too.

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