Reading these articles, I started to wonder whether it’s really important whether FriendFeed makes it or not. Maybe it’s doomed, maybe it’s not. Maybe another, similar, better site will spring up in a year or two and use the same concept, but successfully. But the bigger issue is what’s happening with social networking sites as a whole. The most intriguing thing I read was in Perez’s article:
It is inevitable that the Internet is going to become more and more “social.” Not too long from now, social networks will cease to be useful as destinations. Social networking will be a key feature for every website that takes itself seriously.
This makes me thing of how reader comments, which is the most social part of blogs, has expanded to news articles, making the process of reading the news more social and interactive, or commenting on products on Amazon, making shopping online interactive. The Internet is increasingly becoming more social. How will this affect our real social lives?
Here’s one recent example. In big news, teens in Russia created a tag on Twitter “rallying Moldovans to join” and propelling a protest of about 10,000 youth against the government. Their constant updates kept the world aware of what was happening during the protest before Internet service was cut off. The use of social networking sites is definitely carrying over into real life much more often, and becoming more political. They’re becoming more serious, breaking news before the media and organizing events and protests. I wonder how much a part of our real life they’re becoming, or will become eventually. I found this critique of Twitter on Slate.com:
Oh, please, no more: At least with the hula hoop fad, someone was getting exercise. I prefer to talk to my real friends and have real experiences. Isn’t this the complete fulfillment of Aldous Huxley’s vision in Brave New World? We’re amusing ourselves to death. One day we’re going to wake up and every Twitter post will simply be, “Me, me, me, me.” Outside will be a howling wilderness of shriveled civilization bereft of ideas and reason.
Though I don’t agree with the quote, the Brave New World analogy is kind of scary. Far fetched, definitely. It might not be so much that we’re getting sucked into social networking sites, but that social networking sites are getting sucked into our lives. But is that just as dangerous? Or could it prove to be helpful, like it did for the youth in Moldova?