Does it exist or doesn't it?
I wonder if the phenomena is one that attacks older SocNet participants, who have a rich first live with a solid physical network that they have to spend time (offline) maintaining, as opposed to those who can, either through work or social freedom, take the time and energy to maintain these. Having been dragged away to monitor HSC study for the last few weeks, finding the time to do more than a brief status update has been hard.
I don't think that this means that social networks are dead, or even dying; I think it means that social networking needs to meet a different part of our lives - where the maintenance of out networks is not as much "heavy lifting" as it is now.
So, if we want to maintain our social networks, but can take the time to keep our own part of this up to do (and it only works if all of us play in the same open, public and participatory manner), where does this mean social networking will go?
Chris Anderson (yes, Long Tail Chris Anderson) recently commented that social networking is a feature and not a destination. I think this is right. He goes on to say "I'm placing my bet on the biggest impact coming when social networking becomes a standard feature on all good sites, bringing community to the granular level where it always works best"
Despite a few people I admire holding out that social networking as destinations are here to stay and that this is where communities have moved their primary communication to - I am, commercially placing my bets with Chris Anderson. I have Facebook fatigue, but don't want to give up all those now 'spyware' benefits of the newsfeed. So how can I have my cake, and eat it too?
I could of ideas are playing around my mind. As a friend of mine described them "Twitter without the heavy lifting". I like that idea. I want the feed, I want it updated and I want to participate.
But I don't really want to do any work...