The Google+ “+1” button. The Facebook “like” button. “Tweet this.” These are all increasingly common forms of automated sharing. The problem, of course, is that attention STILL doesn’t scale, and, as pointed out in a recent issue of MIT’s Technology Review, neither does caring.
Facebook’s impending problem is that even if the company enables future pacemakers to share our every heartbeat, the company cannot automate caring—the most important part of the feedback loop that has driven the social Web’s ascent. Nothing can support exponential growth for long. No matter how cleverly our friends’ social output is summarized and highlighted for us, there are only so many hours in the day for us to express that we care. Today, the law of social sharing is a useful way to think about the rise of social computing, but eventually, reality will make it obsolete.
And I’ve definitely seen this personally, too.
“Oh you have to get on…Tumblr/Google+/Pinterest/Path/Storify/…It’s great!”
“Why didn’t you call when I was sick? I posted it on FB!”
I don’t have an answer, but I think it’s important to at least start asking the question. With proliferating outlets and ways to connect, how do we ensure we aren’t so busy spewing information into the stream that we’re unable to take time to make true human connection?