When I read the latest article from ReadWriteWeb on the present downfall of MySpace and collapse of Facebook, it hit me…
– What need do these social networks fill?
– Why do we spend so much time using them?
– How do social networks add value to our lives?
– And what does that value add mean in terms of what else was lost?
If I hadn’t spent those 5 hours of my life connecting with my friend from elementary school, would I have gotten a brilliant idea, saved a life, seen a mind-blowing film, or met my future soul mate instead? What about the Sunday afternoon I spent chatting with an ex from high school? Would my time have been better spent elsewhere? And if the conversation was important, wouldn’t it have manifested itself with or without the magic of Facebook?
What, exactly, have I been missing?
I know I’m not the first to reflect on these questions and the questions themselves are the reason many opt out of social networking altogether. At the same time, despite my doubt that social networking has a place in my future, I do feel tools like Facebook have added something to my life.
But as we sit and muse on the future of social networking and vote on what we’d like to see manifest, I have to ask myself…is social networking really part of our future?
Or can the tons of energy being put into social networking by people around the world be harnessed into building something greater – something that makes it easy not only to connect and share, but to create the space for real solutions to life’s problems to emerge, to inspire unbridled creativity, exchange support, organize action, and exploit our connectedness in a more forward-thinking way?
It seems the value of social networks as they stand today is diminishing.
I get that social networking, like anything in life, is what you make it, and I realize there are online and offline communities doing just the things I describe above. But as we spin forward towards the singularity at an ever-increasing rate and economic upheavals, global pandemics, and wars unfold in spades, will more of our best business minds will come together in the name of preserving our human race, and, dare I say, advancing human intelligence?
Connectedness is essential to happiness, fun boosts productivity, and laughter is the best medicine. These are all things I believe, champion, and understand. But who is to say we can’t connect over something much greater than texts from last night?
What do you think the future of social networking should be? Do you think social networking as it stands today will become obsolete as our collective consciousness turns towards bigger concerns?