Thursday, May 8, 2008

I Am So Sick Of "Social"

I have come to *loathe* the word social.

It has lost all meaning. Everything is friggin' social. Social meeedia they say.

Why not just be done with it and call email "social messaging" and instant messaging "instant socializing". How about "social walking" for when you walk down the street and say hello to people. "Social eating", for when you take a friend out to eat and are nice to the waiter. "Social sleeping", for when you go to bed with your wife or significant other, or, well with whoever. How about "social peeing", for when you (guys) go into a public bathroom and there is someone at the next urinal.

We use the term as though we are just so amazed that we can use the computer to actually *communicate* with people and/or share experiences. Well knock me over with a darned feather.

Now what *would* be amazing is actually figuring out a way to make some money out of all this "socializing". That would be a neat trick, since it seems even Facebook and Myspace are having a hard time with that -- at least on a revenue per user basis. And what is fascinating about it that we keep being told that it *will* make money. We are going to figure it out, etc.

I'm calling b.s. on that.

I don't think we are going to figure out a way to make significant dollars off of social *anything*. Yes the definition of significant is up for grabs. But for me it just means a major segment of the computing space. Like games. Or search. Or computers. Or enterprise software. Or like anything more than a financial footnote.

Indeed all this social may be a great public service. I personally love meeting and talking to my readers. And it may be fun to tweet, and message, and comment and such, but I don't think there are more that a few pennies per user per month in it. And for some services which get really really big, that will be fine. But it ain't no friggin' revolution -- financially anyway.

But anyway, enough about the money. That's a tangent (ironic isn't it). Can we please just stop calling everything social? Pretty please?

Thank you.

11 comments:

  1. That's funny, I wrote something this morning about why social isn't making money despite being a great experience:

    http://www.pchristensen.com/blog/articles/the-value-is-in-the-experience/

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  2. You're right. Web economics are in a state of purgatory - there's no viable model for "significant" ROI in sight, especially for application developers let alone social nets and web video. Talk about the accelerated timeline of the web; the optimism of a year ago has been replaced by ambiguous, wheel spinning terms such as "early days."

    Hank, would love your take on some of my rants on these topics:

    http://tinyurl.com/65o4nz

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  3. (Found this on FriendFeed via Louis Gray's Google Reader shared items.)

    This morning, they were discussing one organization on the radio that's making a huge amount of money via a social framework. It's called a drug cartel. And I'm sure that porn is making money also.

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  4. As you implied, the Internet was social from the beginning. I used local BBSes and later IRC back in the day, and I communicated more with people online then than I do now. Plus it usually led to meatspace hookups.

    And mr emperor, porn isn't making nearly as much money as it used to, and that's largely because of file sharing, and not just pirating. People make amateur porn and just give it away.

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  5. You wrote what i've been thinking ... i totally agree :-). But then: isn't this a typical behaviour of a hype? It gets hyped, the term misused, and when we're over the top of the hype cycle (Gartner introduced the model i think), we adopt it and use it in the ways practically possible.

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  6. Why not just be done with it and call email "social messaging" and instant messaging "instant socializing".

    "You can call email social, if you email just because your friend emailed"

    How about "social walking" for when you walk down the street and say hello to people.

    "Walking becomes social when you don't like to or generally walk, but now your friends starts to walk and since you see them doing it often you start doing it with them"

    "Social eating", for when you take a friend out to eat and are nice to the waiter.

    "Social sleeping", for when you go to bed with your wife or significant other, or, well with whoever.

    How about "social peeing", for when you (guys) go into a public bathroom and there is someone at the next urinal.

    "Well this is a bad analogy to make fun of social. Again, peeing become social when you pee just because your friends or people around you are going to pee and you pee as well, just because everyone was"

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  7. @Abhishek: You're right, that was a horrible analogy. :) But I get the point.

    @Hank: But you have to admit, "social" is a good buzzword. Just like "Web 2.0" and "Ajax" have become.

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  8. Social media or networking sites are fun and entertaining. But it depends on how you connect or using these sites. Facebook and twitter are the best example of a good for communication and for businesses related. Plentyoffish.com is good for finding friends and love ones online.

    ReplyDelete