Sunday, August 19, 2007

Social Networks

(photo of an amusing trio on an Amsterdam park bench)

I'm getting a lot of messages from people on "social networks" like Facebook lately.

Stating the obvious: the basic problem with social networks is that half of your friends/colleagues/family are on one, half are on the other and the other half don't use social networks. And the other half can't do math.

Just as one example, everybody in the Netherlands uses a service called "Hyves," (no seriously, that's its name. It's like having automatic insurance the network never spreads to the English speaking world built-in).

MySpace is a train wreck in terms of loading speed and the flashing cutesy crap, Facebook is better but also getting too 'busy' with all the applications, and LinkedIn is a little sinister in the way it tries to make you feel like you're "missing out" professionally if you're not expanding your network. And of course I know there are many more, including aggregators, etc. There's even one for models and beautiful people (?) apparently being launched by some people I knew back at Henry M. Gunn high school, which may or may not mean the whole idea of social networking has jumped the shark.

Somebody needs to set this straight. What I'm saying is, whoever figures out how to make it so you can post EASILY to all your networks at once, and review the messages at your various networking accounts at once, is going to make a mint. Sorry, I mean: make the world a better place.

Sometimes I wonder if "social networking" couldn't just be done with a combination of personal websites and email.

This guy ("Brad Fitzpatrick") explains it all here in semi-technical terms. He appears to have the resume to know what he's talking about.

Plus he links to some of the places where people are working on solving the problem.

Godspeed, Brad, and please don't name the social networking "solution" something like "Shyngles" or "Pyles."

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