Two weeks ago I painted a picture of Facebook as a friendship stock market. Last night on the newest South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone painted Cartman as social networking’s Jim Cramer. Gold.
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Naturally, I identify with Stan, the episode’s central character, as his friends and family coerce him into joining Facebook, which promptly adulterates every real-world relationship he has and eventually sucks him in completely (and literally). I feel that his experience, albeit animated, is example enough to buttress my nonjoiner resolve. Oh, and PS, South Park thinks your farm is dumb, too. Just sayin.
Here’s the beginning of an interesting article called “The Social Media Bubble,” from earlier this week on the Harvard Business Review blog:
I’d like to advance a hypothesis: Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn’t connecting us as much as we think it is. It’s largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.
During the subprime bubble, banks and brokers sold one another bad debt — debt that couldn’t be made good on. Today, “social” media is trading in low-quality connections — linkages that are unlikely to yield meaningful, lasting relationships.
Call it relationship inflation. Nominally, you have a lot more relationships — but in reality, few, if any, are actually valuable. Just as currency inflation debases money, so social inflation debases relationships. The very word “relationship” is being cheapened. It used to mean someone you could count on. Today, it means someone you can swap bits with. [via all things d]
Such a strong start, but unfortunately author Umair Haque loses me pretty quickly. Indeed, this notion of “relationship inflation” is something I’ve been ruminating on for some time, and while Haque lays out some interesting points about the tenuous and ofttimes dangerous ties that bind online, he doesn’t ever fully make good on his principal metaphor. I’ll try. Continue reading →