Jul 6, 2007

Social Networks Are Not for Me

To use the cliche, they are taking the internet by storm. Social Networks such as YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, Ning, and etc are being discussed all over the net as the next big thing. I recently read a blog post by Paul Allen wherein he states that FaceBook will be the largest social network in the world. He points out a number of things that I had never thought of in regard to a social network. My first inclination after reading his post was to run over to FaceBook and create an account.

But then I got to thinking about my recent experience with Twitter. Twitter was an interesting idea, but I failed to see how it could benefit me all that much. To me, Twitter seemed like an awful amount of work for so little return. But after reading about it from Phil Windley and Robert Scoble I thought I would give it another try.

After about a day of adding my tweets to the massive online network I gave up. I just couldn't justify the time spent. The opportunity costs were way too high for me. I look at it this way. What would I need a virtual social network for when I am perfectly happy with my real world social network? How could I spend time trying to build relationships with people I don't know or really care about when I so desperately need to be giving time to my family, friends, and church groups? To me, the latter groups constitute a greater sense of community and personal benefit.

That being said, it is interesting to me to see Internet icons like Windley, Scoble, and Allen really embrace these networks as a means to stay on top of their "game" and to spread their influence and ideas. I really enjoy reading their prospectives and views. I just don't see a place in my life (be it professional or personal) for these networks.

Am I wrong? Should I spend more time on FaceBook / Twitter? Am I really missing out on the next big thing? Let me pose those questions to the people I care about most, my wife and my children, and the resounding response will be that they would rather have me spending my time with them, focused on their needs, concerns, and life than having me SMS messaging my tweets to the world constantly. To me, it's a no brainer.

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