Where does all this-more-than-buzz come from ? What stakes are on ?
The New York Review of Books published very recently a -long, interesting as usual- article on the « social networking« . Not always far from oversimplification, it recalled the selective origin of Facebook in Harvard and the parallel and opposite history of MySpace.
What is « social networking »? For all the vagueness of the term, which now seems to encompass everything we do with other people online, it is usually associated with three basic activities: the creation of a personal Web page, or « profile, » that will serve as a surrogate home for the self; a trip to a kind of virtual agora, where, along with amusedly studying passersby, you can take a stroll through the ghost town of acquaintanceships past, looking up every person who’s crossed your path and whose name you can remember; and finally, a chance to remove the digital barrier and reveal yourself to the unsuspecting subjects of your gaze by, as we have learned to put it with the Internet’s peculiar eagerness for deforming our language, « friending » them, i.e., requesting that you be connected online in some way.
Add-on : Social Media and Business Model by Alexander Osterwalder on his Business Model Alchemist blog.