The Incredible Silence of Over-Socialisation.
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Monday, 29th March 2010
Yeoh Siew Hoon reckons that we will no longer have anything left to share because we've done all the sharing.

I predict that soon we won't need to talk to each other anymore to find out how we are, where we are and what we are doing.

Think about it. In the old days, when we called someone, we asked, "How are you?" We were concerned about a person's well-being. Then it became "Where are you?" We were curious about a person's whereabouts.

But with geo-location devices and geo-location social networks - Foursquare, for example, the new darling of social networks that enables you to "check-in" at your exact locations in your mobile - you can dispense with the where part of the equation. (In Foursquare, users interact with each other by giving tips on places they've checked into (long waits, specific bartenders to ask for, etc.) And because of this tip-sharing, Foursquare is emerging as a new sort of Yelp! or TripAdvisor, says one article.)

Tie that in with your Lifestream on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, and your friends will also be able to tell what you are thinking.

So what sort of conversations will we be having, if we have them at all? We could talk about your Lifestream - say, you are one of those who put updates like, "Having a monumental headache", we could discuss your health right away.

Or if you say, "arrgh. IKEA ran out of stock of the clear square mirrors! It's only hexagonal brown toned ones left!" - I found this in my Newsfeed today - I could have a conversation with you around mirrors and colours.

But wait, do you even need to do that dance? Now there are new social media networks like Xobni and Gist which tie deeper and richer information (I use those terms liberally) with "friends" or "connections".

The promise of Gist is "know more about who you know". It "connects your email inbox to the web and gives business-critical information about key people and companies" and can work like a personal CRM tool.

According to a review by Travis Campbell at Marketing Professor, "For marketers, it is all about speed of information, so that you can provide timely (even real time) responses to your contacts, and get the pulse of your followers. With Gist, you can get a quick snapshot of what is going on with key contacts, giving you the opportunity to provide more meaningful engagement in the process."

This means by the time I have read your Gist information, I would have done away with the need for the next few steps of the courtship dance.

Which means we can then get down to the gist of the conversation which is, what, exactly, because by the time I find out all that information, I might have decided, do we really need to talk anymore?

I don't even have to ask you about how your trip to Antarctica went because I'd have seen it from all the photos, videos and blogs you posted.

Imagine, we'd have nothing left to share because we shared too much.

Yeoh Siew Hoon, one of Asia's most respected travel editors and commentators, writes a regular column on news, trends and issues in the hospitality industry for 4Hoteliers.com.

Siew Hoon, who has covered the tourism industry in Asia/Pacific for the past 20 years, runs SHY Ventures Pte Ltd. Her other writings can be found at www.thetransitcafe.com. Get your weekly cuppa of news, gossip, humour and opinion at the cafe for travel insiders.

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