Facebook Friends social powerThere is a idea that I know is true. That idea is that I prefer to speak to a friend face to face. Maybe over a cafe latte or a glass a wine. Why do I prefer this type of interaction over social networking? Because I can SEE the person, I can READ their body language, maybe I can SMELL their perfume (if its a woman); I can TOUCH them and of course if there’s chemistry with someone from the opposite sex I can TASTE (kiss/bite) them.

What do I mean by all of this? It means I am using all of my 5 senses. And there’s much more to social interactions like banter, flirting, reading body language or non-verbal cues like touching of hair along with a certain statement or question, the movement of eyes, etc. I think you get my drift that MySpace, Facebook or any other online social network is severely limited in allowing you to fully and completing interact with people.

So it comes as no surprise I’m extricating myself from most online social networks beginning with MySpace. I joined MySpace a few years ago, when exactly I don’t have any records, so it may even have been before Rupert Murdoch bought the company in July 2005. There’s been some very interesting people I’ve “met” on MySpace. For the most part I connected with people I know and as many women as possible, evaluating it as a possible replacement for paid online dating websites.

Tom HodgkinsonThis past week I found an article by Tom Hodgkinson, who is fast turning into one of my favourite media critics: With friends like these… – a real scathing attack on the false premise on which most online social networking is built. When people are blogging about their Facebook interactions you know there’s something wrong with the world. There was a time when people used to blog about parties or interesting things that happened in the office. But now you more and more people writing about their online exploits more so than real-world exploits. It’s a sad state the world has come to when virtual interactions (read The Matrix) is preferred to sensory stimulus from other people.

Well deleting my MySpace profile was easy because most of my South African friends and many others have moved Facebook. Those who were never on MySpace, like Arthur Goldstuck, actually created a Facebook profile. Removing my own Facebook profile may be more of a challenge because I’m using it for marketing and promoting events.

You may be interested in downloading and reading this short little guide I’ve produced for HR managers and small business owners on the productivity dangers of Facebook use by employees and staff.

 
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  • I simply don’t understand Ramon. You promote yourself and make money as a result of your many articles and statements on LinkedIn (which of course nobody has ever wasted time on), a social network for business sake. You even state you use Facebook for business. As a direct result of relationships I’ve formed and rekindled in Facebook I’ve generated significant business.

    So why is one social network ok and another not? Does it depend on how useful it is to you at the time?

    Staff today cannot be commanded and controlled. They cannot be tamed. Employees will waste time regardless of what we’d like – a natural response to the evolution of social technology we simply can’t avoid. Should we be kicking against it or cleverly looking to leverage the trend?

    The novelty wears off and wears off quickly with these apps. Have you honestly never sung the praises of either MySpace or Facebook in a post, article or presentation? Have you never got excited about the networking potential of these sites? All that’s happened is that you’ve lost interest and now want to condemn any usefulness left in them.

    You say “It’s a sad state the world has come to when virtual interactions (read The Matrix) is preferred to sensory stimulus from other people.” but you also claim to be the quintessential online dating expert? I don’t see the logic?

    Sorry dude this is not a personal attack, but if you’re going to position yourself as an expert on anything, you need to be consistent in your approach.

    Two questions: Let’s imagine you’d had the opportunity to invest in Facebook at it’s earliest stage, knowing what you know now. Would you have? If so, would you feel any differently than you do now?

    Lastly I must agree with you that social networking online should not entirely replace real life connections. But look at the success we’ve had with the 27dinners, Cerebra, etc. These are real life things that rely heavily on the assistance and support of digital networking platforms to succeed.

    I believe a healthy mix is the answer, not either or. I have built a career not on expertise or business savvy, but the ability to network effectively in both realms.

     
  • Phuti

    Your point acknowledged, but remember those who write about products regularly have responsibility to write ongoing commentary reports-I understand thats what Ramon was trying establish.

    However, I believe we cannot stop using any technology because of perceived (even those proven) dangers. All technologies carries the same positives/negatives, it is our responsibility to debate ways to improve security.

    Social networking tools are the future, it be political, economic integration or social.

    They should not be abandoned-

    Damaria Senne write a regular column (Double Take) “making social media work for you”
    http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/columnists/doubletake/senne080116.asp?S=Internet&A=INT&O=FRGN#1

     
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  • Mike’s comments are spot-on. You cannot invest “faith” in a web site. You can only make it work for you or not make it work for you. If you are critiquing, that’s another matter, but you cannot critique only on the basis of it not doing what you had hoped it would do when it is obvious how much it is doing for so many people.

    LinkedIn works for me in many ways, and it is useless tome in other ways. That doesn’t make it useless, but it also doesn’t mean that it must work for others in the same way it works for me. Same with Facebook, same with any other social network, blogging platform, online bank, fantasy league or poker school.

     
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