29. November, 2008 - Anti-social networking

Yesterday’s photowalk went pretty well, I think. I had fun, took a few photos I liked, and verified that the G10 is much better about noise than the G9 was, so that makes me happy.

But the thing that got me writing today is that I got an invitation to yet another of the many social networking websites out there, and wonderered to myself why there aren’t more anti-social networking sites.

Not that I’m entirely anti-social, but other than flickr, which has kept me much more interested in photography than I otherwise might be, I tend not to go to any of those sites unless someone has sent me an invitation that I need to respond to. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just that I’d generally rather see ’em in person than read things from them on some third-party website with lots of blinky crap.

But even that isn’t my real complaint with these sites. My real complaint (and I have a vague memory of having written about this before) is that these sites don’t support the nuance that happens in real life friendships. There are some people who I consider close friends, and they match up pretty well with what some of these sites have to offer. And then there are others, like a few of my high-school classmates, that while I wouldn’t mind gabbing with them for an hour or two over a few beers, I don’t want to share my entire life with them, and I suspect they don’t want to know that much about me. An hour or two every five or ten years is plenty for both of us.

I’m reminded of the saying: A friend will help you move. A real friend will help you move a body. But try to express those different levels of “friendship” on one of the sites out there. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I haven’t seen any site that’s done even a half-assed job of it. In most cases, if someone asks to be my friend, I go ahead and say sure, because if I don’t, they’re going to wonder what they did to piss me off. But then how do you flag your closest friends differently? Then again, based on the popularity of the sites out there, maybe most people don’t care about the nuance (or think about which friends they’d call on if they did have to move a body).

I don’t know. I don’t have any big answers here, just questions that wandered through my mind this morning.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:02:18.