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Linked – I’m calling it: Social networking is over

Image by Frau Hölle
Image by Frau Hölle

“Content creators can and do evolve to make articles, videos, photos and podcasts more distracting and attention-grabbing.

But your family and friends on Facebook aren’t getting any better at making their status updates more attention-grabbing. And so social networking is being outrun by a universe of professional attention-grabbers. The attention economy is a Darwinian, survival-of-the-fittest contest, and your Aunt Mildred with her cat photos and Uncle Fester with his political rants just can’t keep up.

Social networking still exists, but companies out to monetize social networking are reaching the limits of news feed algorithm tweaks that can make social networking attention-grabbing.

Now the websites formerly known as “social networks” are developing and exploring and evolving attention-grabbing activities that are not social networking. This process will continue until hardly anyone is doing social networking anymore.”

I actually totally agree with this. I used to use Twitter to interact with people and have conversations, but I rarely do that anymore. I use Twitter to try and surface articles and other interesting posts that are out there. It’s news-gathering, not social. LinkedIn has become overrun with company messaging as well, as companies try and get their employees to share updates. Again, it’s nice for news-gathering, but there’s not much that is social over there. Facebook is completely overrun with what I see as “social signals”, sharing ideas not because you’ve thought them out, or sharing articles you haven’t even read, because you want to be seen as the kind of person who would think and share those things. Of course, those things are professionally created just to take advantage of that reaction, so they’re not truly social.

There’s very little social behavior going on. There’s still some of it on Facebook for me, and it is worth the effort to find, but Facebook continually makes it harder to find in it’s ongoing search for it’s own business model. Aunt Mildred’s photos don’t generate money for the platform, getting you to go look for Aunt Mildred’s photos in the midst of ads, and “promoted” content, does. So it will continue to be that way.

That’s why I keep blogging. It may not garner much attention, but if you really want to read the things I personally find interesting, or want to follow my travels through my photography, you can, without fear of it getting lost in any social network, because while I certainly have outlets to share those things on social networks, they are also always right out here for you to wander over to, or subscribe directly to.

I’m calling it: Social networking is over

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