Social networks allow you to socialize once you have a network to begin with but how do we socialize without one?
Without a network you need a new reason – a common situation, a shared interest, a workplace meeting or a chance encounter. Humans are social animals who are usually good at connecting with people without a lot of context.
Today, we have ways to build up online personas but in real life our level of social interaction changes depending on the situation and our mood. Maybe you are social at work, more social in the evening, less social in a family event, or casually social to strangers in the park. Every time we are free to choose our persona for that occasion.
Once we build a network, we’re stuck in that persona and the opportunity for all the subtle levels of socializing we do naturally is not available online.
It’s hard to change the network or change perception once it is created online without starting again.
Do we need a different structure for socializing online that’s more in line with the way humans naturally behave?
One that gives new reasons to socialize and is not reliant on an existing network of contacts. One that accepts you can behave differently depending on the situation and mood. And one that doesn’t tie you in to a persona and perception that lives with you forever.