Social Website Dysphoria

This kind of trend is actually becoming mainstream. Journalists that started writing about how computers would change the way they worked (in 1980), and covered all the possible technologies in the past three decades, now are eagerly tweeting around the clock about the conferences they attend — which are about how journalists should tweet more in conferences! You might think I’m bringing out extreme examples just to make a point, but the irony is that you and I are still reading blogs — at least spending a few minutes of our time doing so — while all our friends are happily tweeting, updating their status on Facebook and adding another cool application there, listening to music on MySpace or blip.fm, or, well, worrying about their sudden drop of karma on Plurk…

And this is pervasive. A site about, say, stamp collections, will feature articles on how cool Facebook is to share pictures of rare stamps. A fashion magazine will tell you to join Polyvore or StyleFeeder or any of those trendy social websites for the fashion-conscious (ack, yes, I’m subscribed to both…). A TV show about motorbikes will feature their MySpace page, and these days, there aren’t any musicians around without a MySpace account either. So people will read and discuss and meet and talk about the social website instead of, well, the topic that really brought them to it. I’m exaggerating, of course, but talking about social websites is, however, one of the major uses of the social websites themselves.

So why do I think this is not such a good thing?

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