Absurd. Right? Well, I recently jotted down some of the reasons I originally started to use email and compared it to the reasons I joined a few social networks. I soon discovered that the fundamental reasons I use social networks, is very similar to the original reasons I use email.
Before social networks, people would share their photos, interest, and information through email, and before thatâ€¦ well letâ€™s not go there. Online photo galleries would soon give people the ability to share photos and experiences with family member and friends and on many occasions the world, extending the amount of people a person could touch with just a few extra clicks of a mouse. Next came personal websites and the concept of a guestbook. Remember those? A guestbook would allow people people to enter their email address, web address, or name and leave a message on your page(Today we call it a wall). These messages, though now visible to anyone, look very similar to basic conversation style emails you would receive from a friend or colleague. Today social network users have; an inbox, where they can carry a dialog through one-to-one messaging, a photo gallery where people can tag, comment and exchange experiences, a wall where people call publicly post comments and more.
I know that this observation is vague, but if you really take a step back and think about the nature of a social network you may realize that it is basically, and I stress the simplicity, the connection of; email, photo galleries, and personal websites with guestbooks. Of course with the addition of widgets, videos, and broadband connections, sharing information, photos and oneâ€™s digital-self has becomes easier, and faster, than ever before, but even with the progressive nature of the internet, the fundamental reason to use a social network stems from the same reasons people originally use email. Again I stress the fact that this observation seems fairly simple, and doesnâ€™t take into account the sophisticated nature of a social networks today, but you really have to ask yourself. Is the social network one of the internetâ€™s first Mashups? Just something to think about.