social networks


There is a tension between the providers of social software, and the

way we behave. When I move from one city to another my social network

changes as that's very location dependent, but when I do have that

network set up for the most part, I don't expect restrictions on where

I can go in that city with my friends. For sure, some friends of mine

might not be caught dead in the palace bar, they only drink in the

stag's head, but I could drop in with my palace friends for a quick

pint and catch up on news.

On the internet distance only affects us on the scale of timezones,

and even there our tail of interaction is much broader. Our changing

activities very much determine the networks we hold on to. I no longer

practice science, but I'm still in contact with my old climbing

buddies. However a big change at the moment is that the places we go

on the internet still don't play well with each other in the same way

that they do in real life.

I hope that truly mobile social networks will emerge, and I think they

will be driven my our address books on our phones. First we will have

real time tracking of the location of our contacts (to the point that

mutual permission is granted), and then this will start to seep into

awareness of location on the web. It's something that has been faces

before, with IM and VOIP walled gardens. So far only email and phone

numbers and physical mail addresses don't have this problem, and

perhaps for that reason those will be the media that crack the problem


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