I started this post in the autumn of 2008 and it’s wrong. I thought that online social networking would level out because people would be too busy trying to keep their jobs or find new ones to fool around at Facebook. With the cash squeeze, I thought that free social networking sites would have their venture money restricted. I did not realize how powerful the need for connection would be and that even something as frivolous as Twitter could help people get through tough times. That’s right, I think the main motivator of all this listing and posting isn’t business but personal connection. Friends tell me they get some good ideas from Twitter posts, but if you look at it in terms of cost/benefit, there’s no way Twitter is a better use of time than some focused research or a call to the right person. The small group of people I follow are good sources, actually. They seem to have a lot more free time than I do and I am glad to benefit from their reading. But I get no real sense of community from this – it’s too disjointed and superficial. But other people do find it helpful and warming, and in tough times who can criticize?
Here’s the post I started six months ago:
One good thing about the economic crisis is that there isn’t going to be so much money going into new “community” sites so i should get so many invitations to connect on yet another platform. You know, these e-mails that try to get me to login to see who among the people I vaguely know has connected to whom (people I don’t know at all). I belong, technically, to Plaxo and LinkedIn and Facebook, but I don’t in any way try to keep up with people there. Then there’s the cyber-social stalking. A guy I once interviewed for a job has sent me more requests to connect that anyone I know. I finally had enough and responded, through Facebook, “Ernie, I have received more requests to connect from you than from my friends. Please please take me off your various lists–no hard feelings, but I just have too much else to do. No more mail please! Good luck to you, Karen.” He wrote back quickly, “No worries, my fault and it won’t happen again.” But I got something else from him not long ago.