Long before Facebook or MySpace existed another tool called Six Degrees. It offered some of the same elements that has become the mainstay of what everyone considers what a good social networking site should be. For whatever reason, it never grew into the phenom that is Facebook. Part of the reason why it probably failed was because that the internet environment lacked the maturity it does today. And by maturity, I mean size of population that has fast enough bandwith and understanding of the world wide web.
However, this growth also presents a different problem. All of a sudden there is noise from the networks. Sometimes the noise are echoes (repetitive messages), sometime it's static (unclear messages) and sometimes it's distortion (conflicting messages). Some of this noise stems from the general devolvement of social media communication. Microblogging allows for quick transmission so it tends to be choppy, incomplete but frequent. I like it for the fact that if I follow the right people, I can get information quickly. Right now, I get very updated information on web 2.0 type news as well as mobile platform news.
As much as there is much noise being generated by the network right now, I strongly believe that your network is also going to be the best place to create a filter for the information that is being spewed right now. I believe tools like Google Reader, delicious and Social Median are the start of enabling this. I share all my interests with subsets of my friends. If they were socially active, things that they read or talk about could be of interest to me and enrich my knowledge of those topics. Based on those subsets, they would introduce new information and filter out much of the noise for me and I for them. This is one of the most powerful capabilities of our social network that we are just starting to leverage.
Ironically enough, while writing this blog entry, I came across an article entitled The Social Network is underhyped through Twitter. It's relevant in 2 regards. The medium it came in was Twitter and it highlighted a point that I've been dwelling on for a while. I would have not come across this article through my normal means if all I was reading were just my blog entries. There are so many ideas that can stem from the thoughts surounding networking on the world wide web.
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