Giant social networking sites

I keep being surprised by how many people want their online
presence mediated by a corporation.

I have a friend I’ve been carrying on an email correspondence
with for 15 years or so, and she had taken some pictures of her
flower garden that she wanted me to see, but she put them on her
facebook page and couldn’t figure out how to let me see them if I
didn’t send her my facebook ID. I think she’s wrong — I’ve
seen other things on people’s facebook pages without registering
and logging in, so it must be possible to let non-facebook users
see things if you want to. But in any case, I told her I wasn’t
getting a facebook page because I have two websites that I
attempt vainly to keep up to date, and their URL’s are in all my
email messages and they both have RSS feeds. So I don’t want to
also have a facebook page to get out of date.

Her response was that several non-technical people she wanted
to stay in touch with now had facebook pages, and weren’t going
ot read a blog or follow a flickr url. If I know people like
that, they haven’t told me about their facebook pages.

I was surprised again yesterday morning yesterday morning when
one of the mailing lists I’m on had a discussion about how
disconnected they felt with twitter being down. (This turns out
to be a side effect of the Russia/Georgia conflict, according to
New York Times article.
So don’t say Americans are totally
insulated from the effects of war.)

Unlike facebook, twitter
does seem to have things to offer even the technically ept who
are capable of setting up a blog or uploading pictures to Flickr. But I have yet to
sign up to take advantage of them.

Between email and websites and blogs, I really don’t see why I
need to sign up for a mass-produced page. And I don’t see why
my friend wouldn’t be better off getting a flickr account or a
blog on if
she wants to share stories or pictures with the world.

I like to think I’m not quite as bullheaded about adopting
popular technologies as the rest of my family (who don’t have
cell phones or cable TV, and got broadband internet only because I
forced them to and paid for it). But I really do think people
should think about “What will this do for me?” before blindly
following all the other sheep to sign up for it.

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