So, there's lot's o'buzz this fine saturday morning on Google's new social graph API (in a post titled URLs are People too....and as I read thru Brad Fitzpatrick's post, all I could think of is that engineers really need to get out more and learn about people....
You see, Goog's new API is just another way to port your peeps from one network to another....and, if people truly are getting burnt out from social networking, as the comScore stats hinted at, then maybe part of that is because they're just not meeting anyone new....
Let's look at it: there are all these nifty little social networking thingamabobs that try to sell us on how they're better than the others. Twitter is better than Facebook because it's updates in real time. Facebook is better than LinkedIn because you can let your business buddies and causal friends know what kind of music you like and if you're looking to hook up. LinkedIn is better than Plaxo because you can put in recommendations and not have to go thru crappy-assed Outlook.
But when it all comes down to it, it's not that they make our social lives better--it's that they're just competing against one another in some kind of weird personal information land-grab.
So, rather than giving us an opportunity to meet other people, because now other people are either "predators" or identity theives or whatever (and none of these platforms gives us any *real* way to interact with one another--Twitter being just a series of declarative statements about ourselves) what Goog wants us to be able to do is take whomever it is with us wherever we go.
So, we essentially change our social "neighborhood" and our "house" (look at my new profile page!) AND we can take all our neighbors with us!
Hmmm...when people are getting bored and tired of social networking, and with this new API, doesn't it seem to be that what we are doing is taking all our info from one place to another, giving it to some other software development company, never knowing how they're going to eventually use this info to make money for themselves, and NEVER improving how we actually socialize on the 'net.
We are not being social. We are rarely, if ever, networking in the space provided (that's done before we add someone)
We are only learning new software.
The only writings on the whole thing that have made some sense from a software Silicon Valley perspective were Nick O'Neil's where makes a comment about Goog's trying to "out open" Facebook (never know) and Andy Beard who talks about Goog shooting itself in the foot 3 years ago with nofollow.
But all of this is just software talk anyway. Nobody's really talking about what people really think and feel about social networking (it's fucking boring if all you're doing is taking everybody with you from one place to the next) and tiring (if all you're doing is taking everyone with you from one place to the next.)
And that's because nobody who's developing this stuff knows a darned thing about people. All they're caring about is moving around information and beating one another at the social networking game.
So, I'm sorry Brad, but URls aren't people. People are people. and all your graphs and crapola aren't going to make our live any more convenient or better. It's just one more thing I have to sign up for and learn if I want to keep up with the "cool kids."
post script there's also, I'm sure, a very dark side as to what Goog might do with all our social network info if it's all maintained by one Giant. That's what's really kinda scary about this.