How big a deal is social networking?

Here are three stories I found today on the impact of social networking:

Facebook destroyed my marriage

Should cities have friends?

How big a danger are LinkedIn recommendations to employers?

These stories all suggest that social networking has caused a major societal shift affecting marriages, government and employment but how scared should we be of this change?

I wrote in a recent article:

“The rise of social networking, like all innovations, follows a predictable pattern. There is the initial gee-whiz factor and the blank stares from most people when early adopters enthuse over the latest innovation.  Then there is broader adoption and the ensuing hype over how Twitter is a panacea.  Then a backlash develops based on exaggerated claims, ignorance and fear.  Finally, the technology becomes such a basic part of doing business that it no longer garners unusual attention. ”

So we are in third of four stages, the backlash period when people worry about the new technological monster.  But really, all that has happened is that technology has made communication cheaper, quicker and more pervasive.  That’s something that’s been happening for a very long time. 

Really, which is truly scarier: a city with Twitter fans or city that sells the name of its civic auditorium so it now known as “Acme Construction Hall?”

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