Friday, December 04, 2009

What's so social about social networking?

I just came across a great posting on location being the missing link between social networks and the real world, which made me think. We're so used to being registered all over the place in so-called social networks, but are they really social?

Basically, they're about identity management, involving some sort of profile (either explicit, i. e. information about yourself that you provide), or implicit (e. g. the music you listen to via internet radio (such as or pandora), the things you like (such as getglue and other services aimed at delivering personalized resources). Besides, it is possible to establish connections to other users, sometimes named friends, and some services also include messaging functions.

That's nice, but what it is really all about is the attempt to model real-world issues so you might be likely to mistake the model for the real world. That's where location (or more generally, context) starts to be relevant. If you have one of these fancy smartphones (by the way, they are as smart as computers are, but you knew that, right?), possibly with integrated GPS, connectivity via various channels and decent input and output facilities, you are all set to try another approach: enhance your real world experience by bringing to you relevant information as you move along, respecting you privacy by allowing you to control how much information you would like to reveal about yourself to whom and when. What we need is "an extension of social networking into the real world". The core task of social networking should be a helpful support to connect to people in the real world and discovery of things you wouldn't otherwise easily find. Mobile marketing could be a part of this, but your life surely isn't all about shopping, so it needs to go well beyond that.

Surely it's my choice how much of my lifetime I spend on the web, whether mobile or fixed. But what I find is that it is often a very unsocial activity. It's not even networking to me. I guess I prefer to hang out with real people in real life. Context sensing and permission based resource discovery may support that, but only if they act as a powerful filter against the myriad of available information that keeps me from focusing on real things.


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SHEHZAD said...

Social networks are very useful for an advertising companies and nowadays use of social networking is become a habit of teenagers and new generation , we have to use this innovation in positive way ..!!!

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