Social networking – watching the ant farm

I was a reluctant convert to social networking believing as I did that it was all about 16 year old girls chatting about the bands and boys they fancied, pictures of twenty somethings vomiting at parties and idiots sending their friends online teddy bears.  I then attended a direct marketing conference and found myself in the position of needing to at least try it.

Since then I have joined Facebook, Flickr, Delicious, Twitter, Digg and naturally WordPress.  So what’s the verdict?  The answer is both positive and negative.  The positives fall into what I term the ant farm syndrome, as I get to watch the minute interactions of people at a level of detail that redefines trivial.  John is now a fan of the Screaming Pygmies, Jenny has sent a hug to Sean, Tim is now friends with some bloke I’ve never heard of and Ruth is off to the gym.  What’s more a photograph of Chelsea Fire Station I took two months ago is being shared on the London Fire Brigade Flickr group (think butch firemen fans and then run screaming for the hills)

You do learn a lot about people….who is a fan of Hillary Clinton and who wants to join a casual sex group (I kid you not). On the downside, I now have a means of wasting time that makes golf look as time consuming as changing channels on a TV.

I have also become an aggregation addict searching for ways to link this blog with Facebook, how to join my Digg favorites with my Delicious bookmarks and how to integrate my Flickr account with everything.  I now have four hundred separate user names and passwords, none of which I can remember – so I store them on Google Docs and can’t remember the password for that either.  I’m in danger of entering the ultimate social networking paradox that I am so busy managing my accounts that I have no time to do anything worth telling my so-called friends about.

So what next?  Cut the networks in half and get out in the sunshine.

If you found this interesting I can be found at https://marklanigan.wordpress.com, http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark_lanigan, http://www.travelpod.com/members/markl, http://twitter.com/lanig, http://del.icio.us/marklanigan, /, three email addresses and the revolutionary new technology called the phone.  However the chances of me answering any of these is remote as I’m too busy micro managing my life.

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