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We Are Gating Up Our Open Social Communities--Why?

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on September 11, 2007

Look around and you see people putting up silos around social media. Invitation-only social networks like and customized corporate vitual worlds are blossoming. FaceBook folks are putting digital “doors” on their pages, controlling who can enter and for what purpose.

Is the golden age of truly open social networking in decline, as the young race to hide their youthful digital discretions and the rest of us tire of communicating with the masses and return to our own social/economic/political circles?

Yes, I know Twitter is very hot and runs counter to this trend. Yet, something is happening at the same time. Walls are going up. Something is cooking.


Reader Comments


September 12, 2007 1:52 PM

Could it be that the original users of these communities didn't want there data mined by a prospective employer? More and more, tech savvy folks at smaller companies are using myspace and facebook to get the lowdown on resumes that come to their desks. Atleast my peers are using the spaces this way. I think that this is an effort by the web 2.0 crowd to keep there social life separate from their professional life on one level. Look for more customization like facebook is promoting. Different levels of access for different people where your profile is concerned etc. This may also mean that more people start to use multiple profiles. One private and locked down, one easy to find and access by someone just looking for them casually. The more specialized sites will have to come through with really relevent content or oportunities in order to survive. This "digital natural selection" should mean better more relevent social and professional networking. Hopefully, it will lead to a better understanding of the difference between the two and result in fewer companies starting myspace pages and second life identities without understanding why they are doing so.


September 14, 2007 8:19 PM

I'm curious Bruce, do you actively participate in any social media venues beyond this corporate blog? Do you happen to have a profile on Facebook, post your 'lifestream' on Tumblr, microblog on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, have an avatar in Second Life, etc. etc.? I'd actually like to see your results to the questions asked by David Armano. I just feel like you might be ready to have a more sophisticated dialogue regarding the digital doors in social web communities if you were actively engaged as a user, not an observer. Based on the title of your post, you might be surprised to see the 'Friend Requests' my wife receives on Facebook. If you have ever had a credit card stolen, you will know well the inherent costs of not managing your digital identity doors. The digital doors are not new. In fact, Facebook itself began as an .edu only network that allowed a new platform for communication and socialization. New users were placed into communities by school and/or location upon registration and then self-grouped behind digital doors based on commonalities such as school classes, movie and music interests, events, clubs, etc. As a digital immigrant to many of the networks and communities I mentioned above, I constantly feel the tension of selective sharing inside, and out, of the communities and networks -- who can afford not to? Anyway, I thought it was interesting your mixed use of the words community and network in light of Chloe Stromberg's post. I think her post was good, but I believe she has overlooked the mash-up and evolution of communities and networks on the web. Often times the key element to my LinkedIn network and Friends on Facebook is simply trust -- I have an open-door policy once you pass that test.


September 14, 2007 8:23 PM

I think the best example of my previous comment can be found in the message I received upon submission:

"Your comment has been received. To protect against malicious comments, Businessweek has enabled a feature that allows your comments to be held for approval."

I think this digital door you have in place on your blog is a perfect example of why we are "controlling who can enter and for what purpose."

Trisha Arno

December 25, 2010 2:48 AM

Amazing post, bookmarked your website for interest to see more!

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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