Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Why are social networks popular on the internet?

maybe it helps in identity formation, decision making control (and informed decisions via data mining), or sense of community.

My opinion is self obsessed* visualization of one's status, identity, and community. How many friends you have, movie preferences, likes and dislikes, photos, groups you join, etc are all public. Its almost like a self perceived ranking amongst not only your peers, but against the local community and communities afar. A virtual popularity contest masked as a communication tool. Lets face it,the communication is one sided and delayed.

(stepping down from soapbox)

But its the visualization that I think is popular. You can see your quantity of "friends" and how you relate to them. How you organize or categorize them. Which circle they might be in with you. Plus you can meet new people and see how that relationship or connection evolves.

Its also safe from personal contact, like IM, but is more than words, thus the focus on visualization.

This epiphany I had stems from realizing that most learners of college age tend to be more visual than not. Thus the popularity of these social networking sites might be evidence that visual learners are becoming more plentiful. I don't know the stats on this to be sure, but I will attempt to find out.

*Not everyone is self obsessed. If you have more than 50 friends, your obsessed. 50 is a not-so-random random number. It is age dependent is a way that I should not attempt to quantify.