First it’s blogging, then it’s syndication now it’s “Social Networking” as the new craze. It has completely gotten my husband, who is involved with so many professional networks at the moment I don’t know how he keeps it all straight. Online, he has embraced Ryze. Bloggers are talking about Orkut. I can see where Eric needs a broad network to be successful in his business, and his connections through Ryze have already helped him a great deal.
I’m not interested. I think I’m looking for more quality in the relationships I do have already, rather than using a network to give me more connections with people. Connections have to be nutured, and I’m not sure I have the time for that right now. In the past few months I have intentionally dropped from my personal “network” those relationships that do give me value, particularly online. I had been on a mailing list for 8 years and it suddenly dawned on me that the only thing I had in common with many of the people on the list was the fact that we were on the same list. I didn’t know these people at all, and they really didn’t know me. The point of the was that we had all shared a similar experience (in this case we all had children at the same time) but there was no basis for an ongoing group relationship beyond that. There are people in my life that I call my “friends” who came out of mailing lists. But those lists are targeted on a single topic (usually technical or design related) and the friendships evolved independent of that.
So on that basis, I don’t “get” the social networking sites yet. “You like cheese? Hey, I like cheese! Let’s be friends!” Friendships and real person-to-person connections take time to develop, they don’t just happen. And friendships aren’t collected and hung on the wall to show everyone, “Look how many I have!”