POTW: Socializing Everything

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I've been mixed up with computers since 1979, and I've been online since 1981. During all that time, I've seen a lot of fads and trends.

I remember very well back in 1995 that the holiest-of-holy words was "Portal". People knew almost nothing about the Internet, but they could grasp the concept that a person needed a pathway – a portal – into this mysterious new world, so any business that called itself a portal must be a good one.

Legitimate portals were the likes of AOL and Yahoo. However, some companies begin touting themselves as portals which were nothing of the sort. My favorite example of this was Doubleclick, which simply serves advertisements. No one on the planet went to doubleclick.com in order to check out the web. It was a service for businesses. All the same, their stock, DCLK, soared when they simply uttered that they were, in fact, a portal.

Well, "social" is the big word these days, so everyone wants to jump on the social bandwagon. Facebook is the Uber-King of all things social, and there really isn't even a distant second-place winner at this point.

But calling your site "social" is often like trying to push a square peg through a round hole. This became clear to me when I started seeing that weather.com – of all sites – was spending a lot of money promoting itself as a social network.


I mean, look, I am a weather nerd, and even though I live in a place where the weather is agonizingly predictable, I still stay on top of all weather news. But even I would never consider being part of the "convo" (ack, barf, gag………) I mean, I love Slopers dearly, but I couldn't care less what the humidity or temperature is at your current location. I hope this doesn't mean we still can't be friends.