Cory Doctorow has a fun column over at The Guardian responding to three of the common quips used by people to dismiss social networks
, and pointing out why those complaints miss the mark. He responds to the following three:
- It's inconsequential -- most of the verbiage on Twitter, Facebook and the like is banal blather, by noting that what's inconsequential to you is most likely not inconsequential to those it's actually targeted at.
- It is ugly -- MySpace is a graphic designer's worst nightmare, by noting that this is done for a good reason, which is to make it a place where blatant overly designed marketing can't take over.
- It is ephemeral -- Facebook will blow over in a year and something else will be along, by noting this is a feature and makes sure that the services adapt or die.
There are, of course, lots of other silly "complaints" but my favorite (and perhaps this is really a subset of the first one) is that "I don't want to use Twitter because I don't care what someone is eating for lunch." And, certainly, at some level I can understand the thinking behind that. And, yet, one of the first times I realized how useful Twitter could be was a couple of years ago, when a random Twitter message about what someone was eating for lunch resulted in a chance to meet up
with someone who I'd only known as an occasional email acquaintance -- because it passed on a variety of little tidbits of information that we wouldn't have realized otherwise. Since then, I've noticed this quite often. No, I might not care what everyone I follow ate for dinner all the time (not that very many people I know share that info), but quite often these random tidbits of information paint a great picture of someone, which can be useful at other times. And, honestly, if your complaint is that you don't want to know what someone had for lunch -- stop following the people who post what they had for lunch.