Why I Use Social Software

Posted on Aug 31, 2006

Recent posts have been expressing why people don’t like using social software, or believe it’s just a passing fad. Since I disagree, I’ve made a short list of why I do use social software, and why I think the social aspects of our digital interactions will only increase not decrease.

Nick Carr writes that “The crux of the problem is that, in most cases, social software is an extremely inefficient way for a person to get something done” and “when the faddish phase subsides, something useful will remain, but it will be considerably less than world-changing.”

My experiences have been quite the opposite. Sites and services like Flickr, LinkedIn, De.licio.us, Basecamp, and numerous others offer both efficiency and social aspects. I can bulk upload and tag hundreds of photos with a few clicks; then experience the satisfaction of having those photos seen, and participate in conversations with people who share my same interests. I can connect with hundreds (or thousands) of netizens, entrepreneurs, clients, colleagues, and friends to discuss projects, tech issues, plans, and more. Dozens of projects can progress at the same time with multiple teams coordinating design and development from remote locations. And in the process, we get to know each others lives, too.

Social, useful, efficient: these aren’t contradictory terms.

Here’s why I use social software:

– I believe in the value of the network
– I like participating in peer media
– My participation = value – time
– I enjoy asynchronous and time-shifted interactions with real people
– I find increased productivity through segmentation (eg. social bookmarking at stylehive has kept all my product and trend interests together)