If Foursquare wasn’t enough to meet the need for a new and shiny social media play-thing, there’s also lot of excitement in Blippy, which lets users publicly share their purchases – e.g Joe Smith just spent $18.85 at La Senza.
I’m a social create with a reasonably healthy appetite for sharing ideas, content and interesting Web services but I have a limited appetite when it comes to expanding into social networks beyond Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Flickr. I have tried Foursquare and taken a look at Blippy but my social plate is currently full.
The big question is how much social is enough. How many places do you need or want to share many or every aspect of your personal and professional lives? My take is that we’re living in a time when public is becoming the default while private is eroding, and that’s not entirely a good thing.
Take Blippy, for example. There are benefits to sharing your shopping activity – other people can see your purchases to help their own shopping decisions. But what’s really in it for Blippy users other than being seen as early users? What do they get from telling the world they spent $27.89 at iTunes? If this is the way we’re headed, it’s only a matter a time before someone launches Paybook, a new social network in which people publicly talk about how much money they make.
The bottom line is that social media and sharing everything with everyone is like a drug; the more services you use, the more you share. Before long, your private life disappears. Tweeting becomes addictive to the point where you’re doing it dozens of times a day without even thinking about it – it just becomes part of your very public existence.
Maybe I’m trying to live in two worlds – the new world of total disclosure, and the old world in which people actually had public and private lives. Maybe trying to bridge both worlds will have an impact on my digital brand but this balancing act feels like the right approach.
Update: In contrast to my pragmatic skepticism about new social media networks, Mashable has a breathlessly enthusiastic post about how Foursquare is “changing the world”. As well, here’s a good post from TechCrunch’s MG Siegler about the “social paradox” of location, and how the more people you follow on a service such as Foursquare, the less value it has. Siegler also has a post about a new desktop application for Foursquare called FoursquareX, which Foursquare “addicts” need to get “immediately”.