Social networking overload

I'm no fan of Jason Calicanis. Actually that's not really true. I respect the heck out of the guy as an entrepreneur and a self-promoter. He has a cocky, somewhat abrasive demeanor (at least online) that rubs a lot of people the wrong way. But I admire the way he riles up certain people (SEOs) while simultaneously setting up a site whose entire business model is based on SEO. Oscar Wilde would be proud.

But on this particular opinion, I'm increasingly in agreement. And unlike Jason, I'm not even using Facebook all that much nor aggressively seeking friends. Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't see the point. It's a great site for what it is. It's clean and functional. I understand the potential for all the apps (even though most of them are throwaways.) I get the groups. I realize a lot of people love it. But is it REALLY that different in the grand scheme of things?

And it's not just Facebook. There's so many social networks popping up now it's impossible to keep track of them all, much less participate in them. There's a slowly growing movement now towards trying to consolidate the functionality (Facebook's aiming for that as will Google and Yahoo with their upcoming networks.) And I welcome that.

But how many of these connections are really unique? One of Facebook's big hooks is that it supposedly minimizes the veil of online anonymity. It's supposed to be more of a real world reflection of yourself and actual friends/acquaintances. But even then, is leaving a quick comment on someone's 'wall' or adding a newsreader app that you could get at any of a dozen other sites that big a deal? I don't mean to sound like a curmudgeon and I'm not knocking casual or online interaction (far from it - it's what makes the net great.) But at some point we spend so much time going through the motions of managing proper social netiquette in all its various flavors that we run out of time and lose touch with reality.

I don't mean to rant. And unlike Jason I'll probably continue to use Facebook (if nothing else so I can see what's going on - since it is a walled garden.)

I have to go now. My baby here in the real world is crying. Somebody send her a Facebook gift to cheer her up.


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