Marilyn's Musings

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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Is It Social Networking Or Social Engineering?

On a different board system, I noticed someone had in his signature that (board system name) was not social networking, it’s social engineering.

That set me to thinking.

I have a facebook account. Obviously, WordPress which is semi-fallow. (Hopefully will change some). I am also a big fan of message boards.

But, with blogs and facebook and twitter in particular, how much of this is really social networking?

So many of the platforms other than bulletin boards are more about a person posting something and then others reacting to the post if you are lucky to get people to read your thoughts in the first place. Most of them don’t offer much in the way of exchange of ideas. It’s mainly one sided. You post, I react.

These formats are about one’s self, not about really networking with each other.

Facebook does do a half-assed job of it, better than the others. The algorithm for which updates get shown on your feed first is weird, though. Those with more “faceability” than others routinely show up on my News Feed. Do a hard refresh, and maybe I’ll see someone with less exposure show up. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it other than eventually, I’ll see a two or three day old post from a friend pop up.

Now, I hear from far and wide that message boards are dying. I have to disagree with that sentiment.

All of these other platforms are fine. But they are act and react. Not that message boards aren’t built on the same premise. But, the difference is, it is all in one centralized location with many contributors. I can post something, you and others might respond to it. But then, you can start another conversation or discussion just as easily as I can.

The difference is that message boards offer a real sense of community and group cohesiveness over the promotion of one’s self.

I think there will always be a place for that. The day there isn’t is the day I’m gone from the Internet except to pay bills, shop, and gain information.