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When will the Facebook bubble pop? 23 July 2010

Posted by cooperatoby in Uncategorized.
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So Facebook has half a million members – 1 in 13 of the world’s population. It has become the indispensable monopolist. The social revolution it has engendered is that we no longer separate our work and personal lives. We promote ourselves as individuals all the time. It’s coming to be that the more we reveal about ourselves, the more we are trusted – the absence of a visible “hinterland” is seen not as a healthy concern for privacy but as being abnormally secretive and a bad sign. But there might be a backlash to this. First, if we use online social networks to manufacture an identity for ourselves, then this will eventually be seen to be (a) too much effort; and (b) too easy to fake. Secondly, there’s certainly no utility at all in being networked with most of the world’s population, and we will get tired of this endless self-promotion. To my taste, Facebook has thankfully grown out of its childishness (the sending of bunches of flowers) but has now got too commercial (it’s idiotic to think you can be friends with a brand). In an era of a superabundance of possible connections, the only way forward is to fragmentation into niche networks in which people, as in real life, choose whom they network with. LinkedIn already does some of that, by forcing you to justify how you know someone – a sort of password test.

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