Everywhere you go, there are people talking about social networks. Why is this, you may ask? There have always been social networks using things like human voice, postal mail, telephones, business cards, and I suppose it hasn’t been as easy to profit from them indirectly until recently.
When people talk about risks of social networking, and they’re not a penetration tester, I usually consider them to be all about the FUD to sell services. All of the old confidence scams are new again.
Investors have been interested in crowdsourced social networking companies leveraging web tew point omg technology to generate nearly-free content that is worth about as much as there is no trust network or quality weighting to them. Years of exploiting web 2.0 applications and evil twin attacks have proven this, but it is still a topic of ongoing conversation and innovation in data promiscuity.
If you’re going to take in talks that outline the new risks of social networks and web 2.0 application trust problems, I’d suggest the following:
- Abad’s Web 4.0 talk that was given at the first Seattle Toorcon
- Social Zombies: Your Friends want to eat Your Brains at this the last Defcon
- Shawn Moyer and Nathan Hamiel’s presentation demonstrating Evil Twin attacks on social networks at Blackhat/Defcon last year
There are also somewhat lame examples like this one that just show the information that the API is designed to share.
This doesn’t even enter into the problems of profit motive and the ensuing hijinks that the site operators seem to fall into routinely.
I find this speaks very well to the “Twitter Phenomenon” as it is called; people who want attention from those that have a 140 character or less attention span and think more of poorly documenting an experience than actually enjoying it.
Highly unique individuals (who are just like their friends) are flashmobbing, printing ironic t-shirts via online boutiques, liveblogging events instead of participating and paying attention, and taking hundreds of photos instead of enjoying whatever they’re doing.
Police Slog Through 40,000 Insipid Party Pics To Find Cause Of Dorm Fire
Additionally, I have a diminished impression of you as a person if you exhibit these social network behaviors:
- Flooding my news feed with a bunch of quizzes describing describing what kind of My Little Pony you are. Extra points for the test being apparently written by an illiterate 12 year old.
- Declaring your undying affection and fandom for things like “Sunshine” and “Delicious Cake.” This fandom includes giving your subscriber information to the Delicious Cake Chieftain.
- Adding a bunch of applications where you invite everyone you know in the universe to get extra credit in a game where 90% of people playing it are 15 year old autistics with obsessive compulsive disorder. (note that they are older than the aforementioned quiz authors.)
- You call yourself a visionary, an evangelist, or some riff of “strong leader.” Other people call you that. You do not.
- You have an online profile for each of your sociopathic personalities and non-interacting friend groups. I know non-fun individuals who have more than four on the same social networks. Why do I know them? Cause they’ve been kicked out of the social circles I participated in.
I think it’s great for people to work on their personal brand, reputation, and business in social networks. There is a problem though. I am seeing that many people, possibly the majority of super contributers, are favoring a brand presence than honesty or legitimacy.
I think it’s great when people get along, but not calling things as they are when it is important in favor of future rewards is, in this nerds opinion, disingenuous at best and misleading and harmful at worst. People need to learn to relax and find their own rhythm. There’s enough pretending people out there. It would be better to have authentic opinion and rhetoric that you can stand behind.
Of course if you’re really dumb, this can hurt you. Staying out of trouble is pretty obvious. If you’re not very sharp, it is always a pretty good idea to stay away from complexity.
I’ll finish my upcoming talk about the technology social periphery sometime soon which will include case study on people I find to be the ideal demographic for social networks.
If this whole topic isn’t old and boring for you now, and I really hope that it is, you can find more reading material and news at sites like Social Media Security.