Seems like every month there is something released in the press talking about how social networking is taking over the world. It’s the greatest revolution since the dawn of the Internet. Of course, the Internet was supposed to be running everything by now, right? Stanley Kubrick had us on the moon, finding the Monolith… or SkyNet was taking over the world. Take your pick. Either way, we ended up with the iPod in 2001 instead of a second sun or a machine revolution.
So, we need something else to sink our sensationalist teeth into. Enter Zucker: The Man and his Social Network. Facebook is exploding in numbers. Everyone is on Facebook. We need to reorganize our entire lives because our grandma friend requested us and Tom from MySpace keeps friend requesting us because he wasn’t automatically added to our friend list! God forbid the boss friend requested you on Facebook either (although that was very unlikely given that people over 40 don’t use Facebook).
Of course, we have plenty of time for all this social networking because nobody has jobs! Comscore says email usage is down and social networking is up among teens. Besides those who hold a doctorate degree in mathematics, I can’t think of another demographic that has a higher level of unemployment than teenagers! This isn’t a dig at teenagers, it’s just an observation of fact. Teenagers don’t really have 9-5 jobs, and they certainly won’t get an office job if they know how to use Facebook but don’t know how to use a spreadsheet and attach it to an email.
Ultimately, the point I’m trying to make here is that there is an eerie correlation between the unemployment rate and the rise of social networking. I’m not saying that social networking causes unemployment. I’m saying that unemployment causes social networking. Traffic on Linked-in has shot up big time because people are trying to network with long lost friends from the pre-dotcom bubble to find jobs. Traffic on Facebook has shot up because there’s plenty of time to spend stalking your friends and hoping to find something to do with your abundance of free time because you haven’t had a job for 15 months.