General Tech

Heartache and the Tyranny of Social Networking Sites

This isn’t a continuing series, just some random thoughts from an observer. An observer I say because I’ve never been a social butterfly. I’ve always thought of myself as more of an observer, but over the years I learned to play my part and function reasonable well in social situations. I like to joke that I’m just a collection of heuristic algorithms!

Anyway, even in the best of times, breakups and other drama reek havoc over one’s social network of friends and acquaintances. But now, social networking sites like Facebook have the effect of magnifying this in  a way not seen since people started accidentally clicking reply to all on sensitive email messages. At least with Reply to All, things are going out over email to a relatively static and known list of recipients. But with sites like Facebook, not only is the list dynamic, there’s really no way to know who is now privy to your status. And triple damage bonus points come if/when it leaks to the general web and is indexed by search engines like Google. From that point the whole world, including past, present, and future employers may have access to info about your social life.

None of this is really new. But it really hurts when you see someone you care about driven off of the network in part because of this. Well that’s all I have for now, just had to let that out. I don’t know of any real solution. I think that social interactions will just have to renormalize, which like resetting the world economy, is going to take a long time.