This week the professional social network LinkedIn made its service available to teenagers over the age of 14 in the USA, and children of 13 years in some other countries. As many commentators and publications breathed a collective, weary sigh of “why?”, others feared that this pressure to find activities that will look good on an online CV will stifle the natural curiosity and journey of discovery that every person should go through as they grow up.
To paraphrase Josh Constine‘s article on TechCrunch, what would have happened if Picasso had been born this century and was now going to coding camp because college recruiters will like it, rather than exploring his passion for painting?
But lost in all this discussion is another message, a message that intimates at our maturity in the face of different social networks. Clearly there is a strong feeling that you can definitely be too young for a network such as LinkedIn, so are there identifiable age bands within which you become too old to meaningfully use a certain social network? Possibly, possibly not. But from my own experience, I have friends with whom I used to interact a lot on Facebook, however now we contact each other online almost exclusively through LinkedIn.
Perhaps as you get older you start to interact with your friends and contacts in a different way, and certain networks will rise and fall in relative popularity depending on the type of content typically shared and the people who are sharing it. We only need to look back to the latter half of the last decade to see the likes of Bebo and MySpace leading the pack in the social media explosion. Bebo was widely regarded as a network for younger net users, Facebook is typically (but not exclusively – I’m just generalising to make a point here) the stomping ground of the high school, college and university students, and LinkedIn is the one for professionals.
Now, while those example demographics may sound like very different types of people indeed, we will all be them at some stage in life. So instead of looking at them as unrelated silos of data, the different social networks – and more specifically the content stored on them – are all part of your whole story. It’s hard to understand the next chapter without being able to reference the one before it.
To get your whole story, download SocialSafe now, and create your own journal full of your social network content. Keeping you memories safe on your own machine, you’ll be able to look back on all of your stories, no matter what happens to the originals. Start yours now!