Finally, all of these reservations, as strong and as heartfelt as they are, do not in the end even begin to address my single most important problem with social-networking systems, which is that social comfort and coherence require that by far the majority of actual feelings regarding the people in our lives not be made explicit. In my experience, any degree of smooth and compassionate human concourse absolutely requires plausible deniability, and a certain degree of dissembling regarding your actual, operative feelings for the people you’re engaged with, however much you love them. (Depending on context, that degree may even be greater the more you care about them.) By contrast, having to declare the degree of intimacy you’re willing to grant each friend, whether in public and for all to see or simply so that they see it, is a state of affairs I’ve described, in comments elsewhere, as “frankly autistic.” It’s no way to arrange things as absolutely central to life as friendship, of that I am sure.
It continues to frustrate me that as more people more eloquently communicate the shortcomings of social software, Dan Hughes built a social software 5-6 years ago that immediately addressed these problems to a greater degree than any other system out there, and that we (integrationresearch.org) were very close to getting the funding required to see that system to some level of actuality. Meh.