Putting the “Social” Back into Social Networking

Susan Mernit explains why she suddenly finds Facebook so much more engaging than blogging. Hint: it puts the “social” back into social networking.

“I’ve become completely enchanted by what I think of as the Facebook small town Twitter stream–aka status updates–that flow of one-sentence bulletins posted by people who are connected to me.”

“These little details give me a window into my friends’ lives that just..feels..good.”

“They’re postcards from the present, and their pleasure is great enough I yearn for my best friends to hurry up and jump onto Facebook so I can read their little stories, too.”

She makes several interest points here. Blogging needs a sense of scale in order to feel “successful.” Without scale, it becomes a one way conversation, with the desperate hope that people will “comment” on your thoughts. This is a very “old media” paradigm.

But microblogging and social networks level this playing field. Suddenly, every node is equal to the other, and you are allowed to focus on the things that matter: staying connected and sharing.

The news here is not social networks are big, but that we must re-evaluate our expectations when we talk about blogs as social or two-way media. You could describe blog’s two-way-ness like this:

  • Blog Entry: ME!
  • Blog Comment: (me too!)

Destroying this heirarchy is key to social networking’s success.