Monday, October 19, 2009

Social Singularity

Over a year ago, I made the very purposeful decision to take the twitter application off of my facebook profile (this was before "selective twitter" was up and running). I was noticing that there were things I wanted to say to my twitter followers that made sense to them and to that medium that the old friends, family, and grad school crowd wouldn't find relevant or even make sense. Though it felt odd at first, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to keep those worlds separate. That people who knew the way I was currently thinking (as a brand strategist and pseudo-cultural anthropologist) were all captured on one medium while those with whom I relate to in a different (though no less authentic way) I was connected to on another medium. Not exclusively, of course, but separate to some extent.

And for a while, this plan worked very well.

Recently, my brother started a twitter account. I was amazed, excited, and then alarmed. Last night, my wife and I talked about her entrance into the blogosphere as an aspiring novelist, and the various ways to get connected and to promote her books and build a community. And lo, the conversation included some overlap into the distinct worlds I had created for myself. Today, a friend from grad school started following my tweets. The fastest growing demographic segment on Facebook are women over 55. The norm is now that your parents are on the same platforms as you, sending you links, "liking" your status updates, commenting on your posts, and re-tweeting your insights and confessions.

We knew that this, like all trends, was inevitable. That was the whole idea behind it, right? The Influencers and their trickle-down technologies eventually must either move on to a different, less crowded space, or concede that those circles of distinction must at some point become crowded to the point where all personal networks are populated by the people from previously separated spheres of your life.

This convergence of the members of disparate real life and/or digital circles is known as Social Singularity.

The implications of this go hand-in-hand with the past decade's obsession with the notion of the "democratization of exclusivity" or "massclusivity". When we all have access, various things happen. Innovation and evolution become necessary as new platforms are born and grow. The heavily populated social spaces either lose their appeal, or evolve into hubs of active, though uncontrollable communications (see: YouTube & the gross increase of Twitter spam). And most importantly, in a very positive way, the newcomers to the digital social space make the space a more viable place to develop new means of contact and community, as there becomes less education and dispelling necessary when people jump in and experience things for themselves.


Bombchell said...

lmao your worlds are colliding. It's okay for my mum to use skype and msn but facebook even she admits thats weird, I'll stick to her browsing through my profile.

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