The Social Network of my kids

Of course, after I post about this blog being more journal and less soapbox, I have an idea that warrants a serious look and a blog post. The idea morphed in the few hours I pondered it yesterday, starting out as a concept for a kid’s social network governed by the social network of the parents and turning into a more philosophical concept of what my (one day) kids will think of the social networks I am so deeply intertwined with.

The original idea was this: What if there was a social network that was built with family structure in mind. So if I, John Lithgow, and Charles Bronson were all parents and were marked as friends on the social network, then our kids (all Juniors, respectively) would then be able to interact on the network as well. It’s sort of the idea of a playgroup taken into the realm of the social network. Ideally the parental involvement would end at setting borders and limits as to who their child(ren) can interact with, but not such that they are notified of every action taken by the child.

It’s an interesting concept and one which kept my mind churning for a while last night. Social networks are built for the now, even Facebook’s attempts to identify and build social maps with users defining how they know each other, is still a fairly feeble setup compared to what could be done.

So this idea morphed more into the concept of asking, what will the social networks of the next generation look like? Will parents and kids interact on the same social network? Will parents be shunned from their kids profiles, as parents are not exactly wanted when the kids get together and hang out? Or really will large families (like mine) begin their own social networks?

My dad isn’t on Facebook, though he has been using online dating recently. But I have several friends who are heavy Internet users and their kids will soon be old enough to do their own share of internet using, will they be followers of each other on Twitter? Will the kids block the parents for an attempt at online privacy? The alternative is also that the kids will embrace the openness and simply accept that parents find out about misdeeds which get shared, and thus they accept penalties without much surprise. Or, the flipside is that the children will be shut out of these social networks and seek out ones that their parents aren’t present on, thus putting a surge into the smaller networks as the kids seek refuge from their parents’ ear.

Will Facebook look the same in a decade? Will it even exist? Not if it can’t begin turning serious profit. What about Twitter? Will it fade out as smart phones become more pervasive and things like Tumblr or other miniblog platforms really take off? We’ll have to wait and see.

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