Online Social Network Site Shenanigans

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Online social network sites - Party

This is a slightly self serving edition of Fresh Finds, but then this site is called SamirBharadwaj.com, so what the hell. Online social networking is the new porn. It’s official. I’ve never been an early adopter of this stuff, because random online socialising has never been my forte. But, I do see the benefits of some of these social network sites and I’m trying my hand at it..

  • At long last I succumbed to StumbleUpon
    I’ve always found StumbleUpon to be the most homely of all the social-bookmarking-Web2.0 coolness that is out there and forever growing. For one, the people involved actually seem to care for what they’re promoting, and there’s a healthy dose of community involved in the best parts of the network. I signed up, and after plenty of procrastinating I’ve also started participating occasionally.

    While I often post themed sets of links in my Fresh Finds posts, StumbleUpon is a good way for me to tag and keep track of random stuff, and more one-off finds. There’s plenty of photography related material there, which seems to be quite popular on the site, and that fits in perfectly with my tastes.

    So, head on over to my StumbleUpon page, browse around, add me as a friend if you like, and I hope you find plenty to keep you busy.

  • That XING Thing
    Professional networking through one of the handful of online business social networks has intrigued me for a while now, because here is finally some purpose to the whole party. I actually got into Xing after someone contacted me through this site to use one of my comics. That’s how I signed up and I’ve had a account there for a while.

    I find the focused nature of this sort of network quite interesting. Sure, it has some of the random banter and incessant “friend” adding that comes with the territory, but at least most people connect here for common interests that go beyond the purely social. I’m not saying it is better, just different, and if you are at all interested in building contacts in your own field and others, it can be a useful resource.

    You can see my Xing profile to get an idea of how it works. The inclusion of “wants” and “haves” into the profile data is a clever one. It immediately adds purpose and common ground into the mix, something a many social network services lack.

  • Shut Your Face!
    And then there’s Facebook. It is the most popular network of them all at the moment. I take that with a pinch of salt because there have been different “most popular networks” every few years ever since the birth of the internet. I do have an account there, but do I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread? No, not really.

    Facebook has to be the best example of a perfectly efficient machine that is almost perfectly ineffective. Of course, it is popular, and millions of people join, and I’m sure plenty of commerce takes place over it, but in the great cosmic balance sheet, the end result of something like Facebook will always be zero. It is what has unfortunately become the norm in internet social networks, to be self feeding, viral and completely incestual in focus.

    The reason people do anything on Facebook is purely so that they can be seen as being socially relevant on Facebook, by other socially relevant people on Facebook, for greater social relevance on Facebook! It’s a guinea pig on a running wheel.

    Could something like this be a positive force? Of course it could, but I don’t see it here. If anyone can explain to me what the greater purpose of this thing is besides a way to waste time when you are bored, or convince me that it really is more important than the discovery of electricity, feel free to go over to my Facebook profile and give me a good lecture on my wall while simultaneously hugging me, poking me, and paying to give me tiny pictures called “gifts”. Yikes! It really is the future!

Samir

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