"w:Social Networking" is a loose term describing the new wave of Web 2.x rich media-sites & services that leverage the social aspect of human interaction
- Twitter & Identi.ca/Status.net
- Google Wave, Buzz, Orkut, Picasa
- LinkedIn, MySpace
- Other competition/alternatives attempting to address FaceBook's (well-documented) privacy & other deficiencies:
- OtherDecentralised social networks:
There is a strong argument to be made that "Social Networks" make us less likely to seek interaction with other individuals, thus rendering the term oxymoron *
In Social Media/Networking, as in the rest of the I.T community, there seems to be a growing distinction between 2 factions: Free/Open/Libre vs. Closed, each with their own merits.
Often referred to as a "Walled Garden", this often refers to the fact that casual guests are unable to participate without being part of the community themselves (i.e. requires membership). There is often a strong ethos of control associated, and questions around ownership of user data.
This generally refers to unrestricted & unencumbered services, which are less limiting in restricting participation, such as Wikipedia or blogs.
"The Internet never forgets"
Since data uploaded to SN sites remain online long after they may have been removed (including search engine cache's), and since a 3rd-party is able to disclose data on any person(s), there are serious questions around privacy & data-retention.
SN's are also a goldmine for marketing-research companies to mine, in order to better target marketing, and opens the possibility for mass w:Spear phishing
By it's nature, Social Networking is about people (or rather more accurately, the interaction between people & groups), and by extension geo-location forms an important aspect thereof. This raises further questions, as geo meta-data can readily be associated with an individual.
Other technology, although not seemingly directly related, form an integral part of the SN landscape