Monday, September 17, 2007

Strike While the Social Networking Iron is Hot!

It's no secret that sites like MySpace and Facebook lead the online social networking world, the latter of which finds much of its appeal in the level of control each member has over how much of his information is made public, and to whom. The latest service to enter the foray is from Yahoo!: a site called Mash that will supposedly allow friends to alter each other's profiles.

Yahoo! is certainly making a concerted effort to differentiate itself from the pack, but I can't imagine why on earth I'd ever want to give someone free reign to update my information. In Yahoo!'s defense, the site is reportedly geared at the younger generation (so is Facebook and MySpace, although both appear to have picked up steam by the 25+ crowd). I would argue this target audience is actually worse for such a feature. Here's why:

Kids today change BFFs ("best friends forever", for those who aren't hip to the lingo) like they do socks. Imagine permitting your "BFF Sally" to update your profile. A fight ensues one day, and by the next, all your dirty laundry, embarassing pics, and nicknames are aired on your Mash profile. Thanks, but no thanks.

I don't blame companies for wanting to strike an iron that's hot: if they didn't do so, we wouldn't see half as many iPod accessories as we do today. But sometimes the ideas seem a little "out there". Mind you, consumers have been known to take to strangest ideas and concepts, so I might be out in left field on this one. I guess we'll just wait and see.

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