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Comment on Social Networking Tools and our Future Society

Spaceweaver Thu, Nov 20, 2008
For quite a while I am busy with the issue of how web communication and social networks affect human contact and social interaction. I do resonate with the concerns you raise regarding the 'digitization' of human emotions and mental states into bite size packets of information with very little meaningful content. Regretfully, this seems to become the zeitgeist of social networking. Perhaps it is only a transitory phase until technology catches up with more complex means of interaction over the web, or perhaps it is a shift in our concept of human contact. Yet, I do not tend to idealize human direct communication either. Most of human interactions, I would dare say the vast majority of it, does not rise above the very superficial 'status reports' and lo-tech gossip. I suspect that the great success of social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter reflect the fact that these tools do serve most of human communication needs if not by quality by volume.

An interesting riddle I would like to share here is could we design web tools that will help, even drive their users to increase the depth and quality of their interactions?