Social software and social reality

Social software, as exemplified by Facebook, claims to make us more social, but it often ends up encouraging some pretty antisocial behavior. We know by now that a successful platform breeds anonymous spam, but beyond that it’s amazing how weird otherwise normal people can act. There is, for instance, spam from people you know. As a columnist for The Onion once wisely put it, My Brother Is Going To Love This Forwarded List Of Lawyer Jokes

When you forward a mass-forwarded e-mail, you get a good feeling inside. As nice as it is to receive a 10-page list of mommy-mommy jokes, it’s even nicer to send that list along to dozens of other people you think would enjoy it, too. Like my brother Jim. Jim is just the sort of guy who appreciates funny stuff like that. To give you an idea of his crazy sense of humor, he once replied to a list of “25 Reasons I’m Late For Work” that I forwarded him. His reply read, “Stop sending me all this crap.” Isn’t that hilarious? That’s exactly why I know he’ll love these lawyer jokes!

Some social behavior on the web is so odd that it makes you wonder how it would play out in real life. On the LibraryThing blog I came across this video of what Facebook would be like without the computers.

That video reminded me of another one I saw from The premise for this one is: what would a business meeting be like if people behaved the way they do on web comment forums? Beware: this one does have some rude language. Internet Commenter Business Meeting.

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