I noticed something in today’s paper that cell phone coverage in the US was now approaching 100%. (It’s already at something like 96.7%). The number of active social network users as a percentage of all Internet users is equally dumbfounding. Pretty soon it will not be hyperbolic to say “EVERYONE” is on fill-in-the-blank social network.
But what is that doing for us?
I think it’s important to remember that social networks are not new. Instant messaging and e-mail can probably vie for the title of “First Social Network.” facebook, twitter and all of today’s updated versions enhance and enrich our online experiences. For me, the intrinsic value of being networked online is to enhance my life offline. (Otherwise known as “real life.”) My presence on the different social networks has brought immeasurable value, for reasons grand and trivial, business and personal.
It’s been said that facebook is for connecting with people you know and twitter is for connecting with those you’d like to know. I think there is a kernel of truth to that, but they’re certainly not the only two networks out there. (Although when I watch my local Fox sports channel and they tag their promos with “follow us on facebook and twitter,” I know we have crossed some invisible mass acceptance barrier.)
To those who complain of social network overload or to those who have been reluctant to jump in, I would ask if you have considered what your goals might be in joining or not joining. Social networks merely facilitate the primal need we all have to connect, share and interact.
Think of it that way.