Naomi mentioned in passing this evening that she had used the phrase "the antisocial web," and I thought it was a brilliant idea. What we need are antisocial networking sites! Sites where instead of a Friends list, you can have an Ignore list. Sites where your status updates can say things like "I'm doing stuff but I'm not going to tell you what it is" or "I'm way too busy to post a status update to this site" or even just "go away and leave me alone!"
Sadly, but also happily, it turns out that others have also come up with this concept. A quick Google for phrases like ["antisocial web"] and ["antisocial networking"] come up with a bunch of sites and blog entries, some funny and some serious.
For example, here are some antisocial networking sites:
- Enemybook: "an anti-social utility that disconnects you to the so-called friends around you." (I gather that it's a Facebook app or plugin or some such.)
- snubster, where you can list people who are On Notice and people who are Dead To Me.
- isolatr: "Helping you find where other people aren't." The front page quotes Doc Searls as having said: "People always used to approach me to try to talk about this or that. I wanted to punch them in the throat. Now they leave me the hell alone. Thanks isolatr!" The same site also provides an IM client, IMolatr: "With IMolatr you are always listed as away, and if people try to contact you IMolatr will actually set their hands on fire!"
- Introvertster: "The new way to get rid of people."
- See also an article at Wired from 2006 about antisocial networking sites, and a blog posting from Wired from 2007 about antisocial networking sites.
And here are some serious articles about social networking sites that seem somewhat relevant:
- Verlyn Klinkenborg, in a sort of a get off my lawn! editorial piece in the NY Times, says: "I hope there will be room soon for some anti-social Web sites--places on the Web where you can go to be alone, to hide from your 'friends.'"
- Bob Blakley discusses social data portability and why he considers it a bad idea.
- Adam Greenfield reflects on the complexity of real-world social interactions (and the usefulness of dissembling about same): "social comfort and coherence require that by far the majority of actual feelings regarding the people in our lives not be made explicit." (Some of his comments remind me of my comments on social networking theory and applying labels to relationships on social networking sites.)
- Niels Matthijs suggests that social networking sites treat us as mere data sources.
- Michel Bauwens links to and excerpts from an interview with Geoff Cox, creator of the Antisocial Notworking art project.