I’m sitting here on the floor of the new apartment, Joleen working on a large scale multi-page poster type thing that will adorn the wall and I’m digging through various social medium online. The nature of this social medium is rather overwhelming these days and really makes me ponder what we can achieve through increased social interaction via the computer.
As is obvious, with myspace, Facebook, and the others (I remember when Friendster was the only real site out there) people are socializing online as never before. If I remember correctly at first, it was the fast wit, smart, or maybe just crazy people all over IRC (that’s Internet Relay Chat for you noobs). Tons of people chatting at any hour in any of thousands of chat rooms. Then there were other chat rooms, forums, and chat with icons and emoticons moved in. Before one realized there was just a whole mess of people blathering back and forth across the Internet.
Then came along the new trendy label of social networks. Social networks are kind of like Web 2.0, very superficial in difference but slightly more user friendly and sophisticated. Functionally, it isn’t any different than that bunch of elite folk bantering away in IRC. The difference now is the sophisticated part of metadata, conversation and person tagging, and the ensuing relational correlations that can be drawn. People can find stats of stats of more stats all over the Internet now in relation to their social standing. Mind you, there are still about 5.8 Billion people not involved with this social network of the Internet on this level, but there are about 200 Million that are. Between Japan, China, India, Europe (and England), and the United States the surge of interaction is massive.
There are so many things out there that intend, contend, and are pushing to be THE social network medium of the future. But it isn’t the Internet as a whole they’re going for but instead the Enterprise, the small businesses, the local community neighborhood, or some other niche community. One of the sites, that I watch once in a while is Jive Software. Jive is right here in Portland and has become one of those it places to work and talk about. The other social medium network site that I’ve followed closely, especially the more I’ve used it is linkedin.
But I can’t help but continue to wonder. OMG, WTF! Does this have return on investment? Does it bring us truly more connected to each other? Does it allow us to push ourselves even further away from those that are different and align ourselves more closely with those like us? Does it allow for us to cut off the world we don’t want and not have to deal with reality? Were does the line stand, is there a line, what is the line in relation to all this?
Is social networking doomed to keep giving us more and more of these TLAs? Emoticons of absurdity?
Many questions, which only time can clarify.
Until then I’m going back to my MVC playground.