E. Miller on Thu, 6 Apr 2006 20:52:55 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> let's go negative and join snubster

I wonder if applications like Snubster are pointing out a reversal of
cause-and-effect undercutting the logic of the social networking advocates.
The social networkers message seems to be "we are building vibrant
communities, that's good" without contextualization across the larger
informational ecosystem.

Social networking sites, like all sites, are still largely a 'pull'
situation; the user chooses to participate by loading the site and
participating in the community.  It's a self-selected subset of the larger
population, and the self-selection is largely based on individual preference
and individual frames of reference.  (see Sunstein, Lakoff, Barabasi, and

The consequence of this is a Balkanization of frames of reference into
homogenous monocultures, each embodied in a given site or social networking
entity.  Example: it's great that there are large, spirited, and active
communities built around blogs like Instapundit and Daily Kos, but where's
the cross pollination of ideas?  The honest debate between viewpoints?  The
connective tissue between the ideological monocultures?  The mechanisms
enabling Darwinian competition and evolution of points of view?

So I might argue that while the individual sites foster positive community
building, the overall effect is one to be wary of: an effect of separation,
polarization, and isolation that is decidedly not a public good.



On 4/6/06 1:24 AM, "Felix Stalder" <felix@openflows.org> wrote:

> So, we have special interest communities, dog-lovers, negativity-lovers and so
> on.
> Endless solipsistic niches of like-minded people. Snubster just has a cool
> branding. The days of critique and negativity are over. Rather, we have
> interesting discussions on minor points, enabled by the fact that we basically
> agree with one another. There are too many options to waste your time really
> disagreeing with people.

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