Why is “Social Networking” like “Global Warming”?
There are obvious reasons why academic communities can be resistant to adopting a new technology, more resistant than other other disciplines.
Step aside from the political and economic reasons why acting on “Global Warming” hasn’t seen a bigger initiative in the United States, and consider the failure of “Golbal Warming” to capture the overall dynamic of the situation. By no means am I the first person — more accurately like the 5000th — to talk about the failure of the term to accurately describe the issue, with “Climate Change” being a more useful label.
“Social networking” is a label like “global warming.” It is not entirely misapplied, but it fails to represent the bigger picture. Again I am not breaking new ground here, but I would prefer to talk about these tools in the context of “collaboration and communication.” The paradigm shift is not based in the ability to move a rolodex to the cloud.
The origins of the technology are social and flat, but the models currently being deployed emphasize a different set of tools that foster a different model of communication and work.
One of the failures of Facebook is the complexity in managing Lists of people who fall into different categories. The biggest — and most ballyhooed — change that arrives with Google + is the much more straightforward Circles interface.