Social Networks On Slippery Slope

Molly Wood, a CNET editor, has published a piece claiming social networking doesn’t work.

I’ve gotten a lot of invitations to Friendster over the years, which, to be honest, I ignored. I always just assumed I didn’t have time for that tomfoolery. Plus, I already had a boyfriend, and I already had friends. I know that all sounds horribly snobby, but there it is. But then, along came Orkut. Suddenly, because I was working in the Geek Zone, my coworkers were sending me Orkut invites. Every geek I knew was into it, and the peer pressure got too strong. I signed up. I filled out my little Orkut profile (I think I even uploaded a photo), and for about three weeks, my friends, coworkers, and I obsessively hung out on Orkut. And then, suddenly, we just got bored–weirdly, all at the same time. My entire Orkut generation, all the people who’d found it at the same time I did, just up and lost interest. Of course, round about that time, Orkut got painfully slow, and although it’s better now (I just checked it out in the course of writing this column–hey, maybe I’ll have a resurgence of interest!), it’s still a heck of a lot easier to just e-mail or instant-message the people I know.

The thing I think is odd about these sites is the fact that they tend to be insular. That is, you can not link to a perma page. I guess that’s the whole point–that the content belongs to the community in question, not to the entire web. But if networking is the objective and you can’t share with everyone, what’s the point? I know, I know…the point is exclusivity. Whatever. I, like Wood, am not that impressed.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.