Innovation in Social Media

by Dan Blank on September 6, 2006

Facebook added some new features to its website. Some commentary on both sides. First the postive from Michael Arrington:

“It’s interesting because Facebook clearly gets the idea of an attention metastream, where page views aren’t the currency that matters but rather how effectively the service allows users to communicate. Facebook users will now have a much easier way of staying up to date on what their friends are up to. It may mean less page views for Facebook in the short run as users rarely have to leave their home/admin page to see what’s going on with friends, but if it makes users love Facebook more (is that possible?), it’ll pay off in the end.”

Sounds good, right? Well, Fred Stutzman sees a flipside:

“This morning, millions of students were shown that they can’t actually rewrite history. Everything they do, all of the groups they join and interests they state or friends they make – it is all being recorded. Not only is it being recorded, it is being presented as content to other users of the Facebook. The Facebook is no longer just a current method of identity presentation, it is an archive of our digital identity. This is a cold, hard reality for students, and you’re seeing a lot of public venting of discomfort as a result.”

That is one of the interesting things about social media. For example, whenever I see a large SUV speeding up behind me, getting right on my back bumper, then jerking the car around me – all very aggressively, I always look over. More often than not, it is a middle aged soccer mom. (oftentimes with a child in the passenger seat) Nothing against soccer, moms, or middle age, but I have noticed that people tend to be much more aggressive and threatening when they are locked into a huge machine that can go very fast.

Likewise, people are eager to jump into social networks when they feel a sense of protection from their true selves. As more businesses include this functionality on their sites in order to build community, there is a delicate balance for its users.

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