On social networks and human interactions

I have received recently half dozen invitations to join social web2.0 services: Roberto pointed me to twitter during a real life chat in Firenze, other invitations came via email to services like Plaxo pulse, Naymz, hi5, Spook and others. Many people are asking to become my friends on Facebook but I don’t remember meeting them and my email archives since 1997 ignore too. I’m starting to feel overwhelmed :)

I like experimenting these tools, but I can’t keep up with the pace they start (and die). All of these services ask me to replicate information I have already written down on this blog or on my Linkedin profile. Signing up to all these services would require me to quit my paid activities and spend more time online than offline. At that point Alex Wright on the NYTimes would be right. But I agree with what Dawn Foster wrote about Social Networks, Relationships, and “Friends”:

my online interactions in social networks do not replace physical interactions with real people, they simply provide a way to augment the relationships I have with my friends.

For me it’s also a matter of following conversations as they were described in the Cluetrain Manifesto:

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.

Noticing Facebook privacy issues, I still wonder if I should keep considering FB as a legitimate place for conversations or quit (it is possible, although difficult). And when did we start using our real names online? I remember the old days when we all had nicknames and everybody was careful revealing his real identity. What made us change our mind?