A new social networking generation rises

Have you ever noticed how fast young children pick up new trends on the Internet at elementary school? It is amazing really. My children come back from school and as soon as they get the chance they fire up the Internet. The boys are mostly into different computer games, my daughter likes MSN better than games.

Children adapt new technologies much faster than our generation does anyways. My 5 year old could already at the age of 4 start the computer, go to the Internet, turn on some video-clips and then surf to a game site where he plays different games. He knows all about the sites and the way they work by looking at his older brothers. My 7 and 8 year old sons however use a different strategy. Rather than searching for new sites on the Internet, they pick up new trends from school (preferably from the older children). They go from game to game. Half a year or so http://www.runescape.com was their favorite, then they moved over to http://www.pokemoncrater.com and more of such games. A game will be popular instantly, but can be out of their favorite list in no time too. They usually don’t know exactly what the web address of the game is (how do you write runescape dad?), but they find it easily. Within minutes they are signed on, and a few days later the game “slang” hits their conversations. My wife and I don’t have a clue what they are talking about, but all the kids at school do.

One interesting aspect about it is the way they deal with their game profiles. Unlike us grownups, they tend to share their accounts with their best friends. The reason for this is that there is simply more game time spent on the profile by more children, thus greatly increasing the level of play and the game powers they posses. They do not feel the urge to protect their privacy. You might think it is simply due to naivety and age, but I think that this is not the case.

These children have found ways to have a joint social interaction that benefits the group as a whole. They put more trust in their true friends and share more with them than we would. I see the same tendencies on the way the children use MSN or their mobile phones (have you ever seen 5-10 children together sharing background pictures on their mobiles using bluetooth?) . For this reason I think this generation will have a much more complete and beneficial social interaction on the Internet than we a grownups now will ever have in Facebook or any of the other social networks. In some ways less private, but at the same time much more connected, more about sharing experiences, and definitely more interactive. Advertisers and brand marketeers beware! A new social networking generation has been born.


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3 Responses to A new social networking generation rises

  1. If you approach this from how it ties in to identity, then the above is all about Joint Identity. Although this seems unique to kids, it is quite prevalent in real life too. My wife and I share (clumsily, given today’s technology) a Joint email-Identity for the facet of our life involving the kids. A realtor friend of mine in the bay area shares his business identity with the rest of his outsourcing staff in India – so he seems to be on the job 24 hours a day!

    All this could easily extend to bands, teams, etc. to connect with their fans – or even with other bands/teams for concerts/competition.

    Sharing an identity is the ultimate in social sharing wouldnt you think?

    This is the reason why Identity2.0 is really only Identity1.5. It makes the assumption that relationships are only a means to accessing relevant web services, and not a goal unto itself. Such an approach is insufficient to create the true “Me” experience for Web2.0. You will just not get the mass adoption.

    Once you have the “Me2.0” in place, empowered by the collective intelligence of connections in my various facets, each reflecting on my identity, only then will it be possible to plug in Semantic Web services and realize the vision of Web3.0

  2. Alexander van Elsas says:

    Hmmm, sharing identities, I like the concept. As you can see in the post you commented on that is precisely what my kids do already. But to have a single identity work for me across all services is already impossible (hence the difficulties of Identity 2.0). If we allow for multiple or shared identities the problem becomes bigger.
    There is another fundamental issue that need to be addressed. Humans are by nature lazy. Having to pay attention to your on-line identity, even manage it yourself, is a major hurdle to be taken. That is one of the worries I have with the work done by Dick Hardt. It better be super simple to use for the user, otherwise it will be too muhc of an effort.

  3. Most of the group sites tend to become large amorphous blobs and do not reinforce identity. You are right, Dick Hardt’s Id2.0 is tough to implement – it needs to be an organic growth, not structured.

    Do a search for ‘small groups’ – and you will find 49million hits – mostly for Christian evangelism – and delve a little further into the concept. They recommend an amoeba like approach to spread the word. Once your small group starts to become bigger – you break off and start your own small group. Wikipedia defines small groups as between 5 – 15 members. The point is that in these small groups, the collection behaves like a single entity, i.e. Identity is manifest. When Identity is reinforced through daily interactions, then it becomes automatically managed.

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