Social networks work because social networking is the new way to interact with folks. And naturally the rise of social networks is leading onliners to complain about … social networks and how people are misunderstanding their significance:
The New York Times‘ Richard Siklos complains that it’s hard to “say no” in the online world, and you’ll aquire more “friends” than you know what to do with if you start hanging out in virtual worlds and social networks.
Brian Solis is concerned that PR people are just not getting Social Networks, especially the large agencies who Solis suggests are abusing Social Network marketing, saying those big agencies: “… screw the pooch in the public spotlight with highly visible and discussed attempts to fool, capitalize on, or manipulate the market…”
Brian’s also concerned that people are not getting what he meant in his long piece cited above.
My take is that social networking has reached that uncomfortable level of prominence where crass, objectionable commercialism is both undesirable and inevitable. At the last WebmasterWorld Pubcon people were strategizing about how to manipulate social networks to promote commercial sites and clients and I expect this to become more pervasive very fast. I think Solis would say that quality PR can be done without compromising the integrity of the social network experience and maybe that’s true but as with all things commercial we’ll see more obnoxious and manipulative stuff than quality promotion. And hey, that’s OK because this … is …. America and we like our commercialism crash, superficial, and obnoxious, right?