1. The Rise and Fall of Social Volume: Many start out rapidly collecting personal connections to demonstrate esteem, appeal, importance and popularity (an audience) both to themselves and to others. This provides early involvement of course. Inevitably, just like at college, people eventually also spent an awful lot of time filtering and ‘defriending’ people they really had no desire to be connected to until they end with a smaller (higher-connection-value) number of connections they (hopefully) actually share a positive connection with.
2. The Rise of Social Status: Didn’t we compare our own connection numbers (she has 2000 friends, 1500 twitter followers and 1200 connections) with those who had thousands and accept that some people have used their personal audience number as a basis for a value judgement about both us and them? Likewise haven't people actively seeked to share specific connections with others because some names became synonymous with inclusion, acceptance, quality, one-upmanship and status. Getting a high-value connection tells everyone something about you no? (said with much irony of course).
One of the primary reasons why older groups of social network users have increasingly cut down their use of some social networks is simply that people have started to feel that their connections were beginning to know too much about their daily life without sharing anything in return or communicating (yes I knew you had been to Singapore, I read it on Facebook 6 months ago). Social networks are often therefore seen as becoming too voyeuristic to be comfortable over time which in turn decreases the desire to share.
22. The Rise of the Taker and Self-Educator: Many social networks have become increasingly unbalanced over time, with the most active contributors consistently providing the most content whilst the silent majority taking away the most information for the purposes of their own information-gathering and self-education agendas. Whilst this is frequently dressed as a 'community-approach' people have seen time and time again that the greatest contributors frequently drop away eventually due to gradual resentment that they have gained little overall from their contributions. Whilst it is certainly the case that communities can be powerful ways of gathering knowledge through unhindered contribution, indicators show there is a parallel risk that posted-opinion is viewed by bystanders as a quick route or short-cut to self-education without formal investment in time, effort and structured learning which can itself prove inadequate in the long term and gradually undermines the purpose of the social network itself.
These are just some of the more obvious lessons many have taken from the last decade or more. in using social networks. As new versions of what we think of as ‘social networks’ are released, so we are faced with numerous new dilemmas which we have to find corresponding answers to depending on the services they provide people with. Importantly, outside of work the way we choose to interact with social networks is a personal choice because, after all, these are services we personally choose to be involved with and there is probably something personally in it for us.