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Who is Tracy Reed?

I am a Linux enthusiast, a multi-engine instrument-rated pilot, and a traveller. I am interested in all aspects of computing and technology in general, especially Linux and Free Software. As an avid pilot I can be found somewhere over the skies of the southwestern US most weekends.  As a traveller I have been to many interesting places. Check out my photo gallery. Want to get me something cool? Check out my wish list!



Social network sites

by Tracy R Reed — last modified Jan 01, 2009 11:48 PM

So many, so lame...

Every time some new social network site springs up one of my many friends or colleagues just has to invite me. And of course I have to try it out to see if there is really anything special about it. So far I'm not too impressed. I'm on Myspace, Orkut, Linkedin, Yahoo 360, Facebook, etc. Pretty much all of them. Have been since the beginning. I never send invite requests to my friends. I'm afraid it might be annoying to them. Most of the kind of people I hang out with don't appreciate having their email addresses given to third parties without their consent. I get nearly a thousand spams a day now so I don't blame them.

I know lots of people visit these sites and some have market valuations in the billions. And if there were just one and everyone used it I might be more into it. But I just can't see using the site as my only means of communicating with people. I hear some folks do all of their messaging etc through it and they consider email to be out of style. I suspect these people are high school and perhaps college kids. It might work for gossip and kid communications but I suspect that for getting stuff done in the real world email has little to fear.

And what's up with the horrible page design and user interface? It seems everyone has to customize their page and make it impossible to read with lots of widgets and play a really sappy song in the background when you load it up. I'm not whether my ears, my eyes, or my browser are more strongly offended. I recently found an article somewhere lamenting this same problem but alas I cannot for the life of me recall where it was to link to it.

And now I have clients saying they want "social networking" added to their website designed to sell widgets because they hear about it all the time and think it will attract people to their site and sell more widgets. *sigh*

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It's convergence...for a certain demographic.

Posted by Anonymous User at Jan 01, 2009 11:32 PM
Me? I use email constantly, but since I of course have been using email since before my peers were on AOL, I'm a bit of a dinosaur at 25. Facebook, at least did a good job of originally connecting real communities (universities) to online social networks, and allows people to stay in touch with friends, schoolmates, and coworkers. Think of it as an address book you never have to update. To me, that's the value in it. I find facebook the only one that is "done right." Myspace is just hideous, Orkut got taken over by spam and half of Brazil, and the others? Blah.

The people asking you for social networking widgets obviously have no clue why people use the sites. It's just as clueless as bottom-posting ;)