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Bigger, Creepier Social Networks

Do online social networks add value to one's real-world social networks? To a degree, yes, but what happens if one online network grows so dominant that it eventually contains most of the Web's users? That could present a massive problem for many people.

Our real-world social networks exist in silos: work, school, family, the activities and interests we share with other people. Sometimes, we don't want these worlds to mix. What happens, for example, to the homosexual man or woman who doesn't want their colleagues at work to know, when the boss requests that they become friends on Facebook? Does that person start deleting potentially revealing photos and change their stated sexual preference-or does he or she tell the boss, "Sorry, my Facebook profile is private." Either way, this is just one example of a potentially awkward position social network users might find themselves in.

At what point does all this friendly "openness" become a little too much? What's the alternative, closing off information on our profiles? Facebook and its cousins certainly don't want that--less information means less usage and a lower quality of targeted advertising.



Read the whole story at Information Week »

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