In the last issue of SPTechReport, I wrote about yet another social network that has sprung up, and asked our readers if they think the proliferation of these networks is bringing us together or moving us further away from each other.
Here’s a sampling of the thoughtful replies we received:
“Back in the old days, all we had were Unix newsgroups, application documentation and personal connections. As always, there is a tradeoff. There was less overhead in searching for information, but that time was used by the method of trial and error until you figured out the answer for yourself.
“I prefer using the social software, but one has to be able to manage their time and use searches to zero in on the specific problem in order to find the solution. It’s probably out there. The trick is in finding it quickly.”
“I think that there is a point that more sites and more involvement is not beneficial. I personally limit my time in these community things to 30 minutes a day. I joined Twitter as an experiment some time ago. I thought at first I’d never find it of any use… But every day, it seems I pull up some exciting new piece of useful information. And to some extent, Twitter is hardly a community, mostly a bunch of folks broadcasting and not much interaction.”
“David… I’m with you: It seems people should stop developing more of these social networking sites, and just let everyone standardize to the same two or three that are already greatly established. Who wants to spend time searching in so many sites?
“But how do you stop others from creating new sites? Now, even classmates.com, mylife.com, and others are morphing into social networking sites. However, you have to pay a monthly fee to be members of those.
“Some other things I ponder: I’m still worried that at some point, users may be charged monthly membership fees, because who is paying for all the server space? Unless I am missing something, there is not a good way for advertisers to get through unless users join groups (and advertisers join them too). For that reason, I hesitate to be a ‘fan’ of groups, which may later be used to spam my Facebook or e-mail account.
“But I am thrilled that the social networking sites do allow a way to stay in contact with many friends and contacts, without having to read through endless junk mail and spam messages (such as what happens with e-mail). You can control that by not ‘friending’ anyone you don’t know, or not becoming ‘fans’ of groups that market. Eventually, spammers will probably find a way to use names of existing friends to get in the door, though. And you do still have to watch out for viruses.”
“Yes, it’s overload. Yes, it makes it harder to find the information you need. I, for the most part, don’t use the social networks; I ended up spending far too much time wading through posts about my cousin’s cousin, or what my sister-in-law ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes,’ or what my nephew’s high score is on some game. And having to monitor multiple sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), it just got to be too much. So, when I need information, I still rely on good ol’ Google!”