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What’s wrong with social networking?

I’ve been in DC for two days for meetings about China and sustainability. I love the fact that these things are so much the buzz, but DC is a world of its own. I said to someone yesterday that I sometimes feel like I’m visiting another planet, where everything is about policy and funding. At the same time, I’ve been finishing up an article for GUANXI about social media in China and I came across this astute article: “The Buzz Report: Five reasons social networking doesn’t work,” by Molly Wood. (Read the article, but skip the comments–puerile at best, spam at worst.)

I love the fact that this author talks about time. Everyone I know seems to be pressed for time, yet social media people seem to think that we’re all sitting around waiting for something new and exciting to do, like set up another personal profile. I’m well-intentioned, but I have never got round to filling in my personal information on Linkedin, Frappr, or Flickr. I’m there, but barely. Woods’s comment about content is also to the point, “Orkut, Friendster, and even LinkedIn (which I do find more useful than the purely social sites) are interesting but less information rich than news sites, blogs, Google news, or any of the other sites I could visit on the Web.”

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