Adam Greenfield is anti Social Networking
I only recently came across this post from Adam Greenfield in which he explains why he believes that computer-mediated social networking is inherently bad: “Antisocial networking.”
It’s an important and powerful critique, though one with which I ultimately disagree. Greenfield essentially argues that:
- Social networking applications must, necessarily, oversimplify human relationships: they couldn’t possibly represent the complex and dynamic nature of any graph connecting a pair of individuals, let alone the mesh of a whole community.
- As a result, they inevitably create emotional distress, anguish, and pain for users (and sometimes even for non-users)
- Therefore, we should not use them.
The problem, as Greenfield sees it, is that we’re allowing technical architectures to intrude upon the pre-technical, social space of human relationships. We’re allowing the web of human relationships as-modeled-by-software-systems to reduce, pollute, and corrupt the web of human relationship as modeled in the human psyche and history of culture.