It seems everyone has an opinion on Facebook. We love it or we hate it. Sometimes we ignore it, and other times we dive head first into its chaotic mess. But as the meta-social graph becomes murkier, many of us are starting to consider alternatives. After all, there a Law of Social Media Connections — we can actively only manage around 150 real relationships … beyond that we are moving into the world of weak ties.
This fantastic post contrasts the differences between Facebook and Ning. Axel Brun looks at the behaviours that each "platform" promotes and extends and explains why and where value lies within (and outside of) these platforms. In a world where we often talk about the technology, it is refreshing to hear/read someone explaining the impact that the technology (and its design) has on the methods and ways that we can interact as people. After all, social networks should, surely, be social. (I know, wash my mouth out.)
There is plenty to read through and think upon in this post, but it is summed up nicely as follows:
Frankly, in my view, Facebook’s walled garden approach ultimately perverts the idea of social networking, of social interaction, of sociality itself; however popular it may be today, I fear that as its inner workings become more and more obvious, we’ll find that that Facebook is giving social networking a bad name. Ning, and other sites like it, go some way towards reclaiming the idea of social networking by providing a more sensible, sustainable, and indeed social alternative.