No one can argue that social media hasn’t had a significant impact on modern life. My current favorite example is the Zooniverse series of “citizen science projects” that bring people together to apply human brains to tasks in science that computers aren’t very good at yet, like identifying types of galaxies in Hubble images or craters on the moon. Supported and produced by the Citizen Science Alliance, this is social media at its very finest: Bringing communities of people together for the common good of humanity. The whole thing, I gotta say, leaves me a little verklempt.
On the other end of the ultility spectrum we have Cookie Bonus Solitaire, a little nothing of an iPhone solitaire game that cleverly bakes in cheating. It also incorporates robust social features like profiles and chat, achievements and leader boards, the whole shebang. I used to play Cookie Bonus Solitaire daily on my commute, but got irritated when there were constant updates to the social features of the program. Hello? Solitaire is not a social game, that’s why they call it “solitaire.” I finally deleted the game in disgust when it got to be too much, chalking it up to me just being some old fuddy-duddy who just doesn’t get it.
But, this is where I draw the line.
This is only acceptable in a home-care situation where people can keep track of the health and well-being of infirm individuals. Beyond that? No. Just no. Sleeping is not a social activity, and I say that as a married woman who sleeps alone only on business trips. What’s next? Social colonoscopy?
How did this happen? I can see it now: a conference room at SDI Technologies, a red faced manager pounding the table and demanding innovation. “How can we make this alarm clock more hip? What is it that all the kids are into these days? Social networking, right? How can we incorporate that?”
This, my friend, is where a brave soul should have spoken up. Not everything is social.
Jenea Hayes is a Design Director and Cooper Professional Education instructor at Designit San Francisco.