Has social networking sites gone mad?

I look at the ever growing list of social networking sites and wondering do we really need all of them? You go from Myspace to Facebook to Friendster casting the odd tweet to your Twitter while your Windows live space loads. Which consumes a lot of time literally doing very little and has it enriched our lives? Is it easier to talk to someone online than it is face to face?

The one good thing I have noticed lately is the way they are starting to bind together. I put a post here it automatically sends to my Twitter, Facebook, MSN and 101 other places most of which I don’t actually go to myself. Its good and bad in one place as the world becomes smaller and more of our information becomes public and cross referenced it allows people we want to keep part of our lives but has also created the marketing hell that is appearing all over the place with the constant “do you want to know how to make money from Twitter?”, “I am an SEO genius who can promote your business to thousands and get you higher rankings” or the pharmacy adverts that hit all parts of the internet 24/7. Either way it seems we have more junk hitting us than useful information especially the bigger your internet presence goes. Facebook has a current issue on how to improve its sales technique. It originally started like most websites that need people feeding into it as a platform of just people networking together, its now swiftly looking at how to make revenues from this which will be interesting to see what it actually does. It holds millions of peoples addresses, buying habits and generalised data that is a marketing companies dream knowing where and who to target at some point I can see Facebook turning on its users to make profit sacrificing all that privacy and secrecy that people use Facebook for in the first place.

Does it bother me? To be honest not really as people are bothered about their privacy but I’m pretty much dropped off the world. What is my sales worth? I only buy things I need. Generally when I am in the UK working I am looking for specific things and will happily wait until I need it or the price has dropped. There is no urgency or impulse buy. I definitely won’t buy from companies that email me of super offers or special deals. I know i will buy another laptop when I go to the UK but to be honest Toshiba was a brand I trusted and can’t anymore it will be difficult to actually buy something that does what I want. One thing for sure though its more likely I will review with what “people” have bought and tried rather than some glossy magazines idea of what I should be buying. I found it funny where the media were pushing “more people stayed at home to watch TV in the UK”. But forget to mention that its because people have debts to pay and staying in an extra couple of nights a week instead of going out  has happened to a lot of families. Reality being that it may assume its good news for TV channels to help generate more advertisement revenue but if people have less money and aren’t spending where is the benefit?

How does that tie in with what I am talking about truth be known companies need to use the internet more and more and need to tap into the markets online if they want to be more successful. At the same time I think people are getting less and less interested in advertising and often will try to avoid watching where possible. Consumer habits are changing and social networking could be the way for companies to reach its lost customers.