Clive Thompson – undoubtedly a good journalist – has a piece, entitled Information Overlord in May Wired issue (not online yet, but already problematic) on his experience with semantic Web app Twine. Clive also formulates a provocative though about the value of information modulated social connections.
“But the truth is, sometimes social connections are less useful than semantic ones.
I’ve experienced this myself. My Facebook page attracts my friends, with whom I share social bonds. Meanwhile, my science blog attracts complete strangers, with whom I share a common interest in a topic – like a scientific study I’ve blogged about. It’s a semantic relationship, based on shared meaning. So those strangers tend to tell me things – and point me to links – that are more useful than the social stuff on my Facebook page. Information trumps friendship”
I am not sure whether the distinction behind: emotional, social friends vs rational, information only semantic cooperators is valid. I think of my good commenters as digital friends and many of my Facebook “friends” as not friends, just simple connections.