Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Anti-social social network: Democratic Party Builder

The fatal flaw of the Democratic Party's Party Builder social networking platform is that you can prevent people from finding you. On a list of people registered at Party Builder close to zip code 98501 only three people show up inside Thurston County.

On the Thurston County Democrats group that I manage, there are five members. Two don't have names (just "Democrat in Olympia WA") because they aren't friends of mine and they have decided to let other people know who they are.

When you sign up for Party Builder you are given the option to remain unknown to anyone else on the system, aside from your friends. This will end up killing Party Builder.

If you can remained unsearchable, unbrowsable, uninvitable, and unseen in a social network, you simply don't exist. And, if a lot of people choose not to be seen within a network, no actual social networking is going to happen. No one is going to message anyone else, no one is going to read anyone's blog, no one is going to be invited to any groups or become friends who wouldn't already be friends because of an offline relationship.

And, by the way, if you join a social network and just want to be left alone, then I have no idea what to tell you.

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