The Dangers of Social Software

February 21, 2009

Quite a story on the BBC Web site here. I don’t think too much about social software, but folks are forcing the subject with me. I tolerate; I don’t participate. No tweets for me. Thank goodness because an expert named Dr Aric Sigman has allegedly suggested that sites like could harm users’ health. For me, the most interesting comment in the remarkable article was:

A lack of “real” social networking, involving personal interaction, may have biological effects, he suggests. He also says that evidence suggests that a lack of face-to-face networking could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, the function of arteries, and influence mental performance. This, he claims, could increase the risk of health problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart disease, and dementia.

Yikes. I am glad I don’t have a,, or Twitter account. Google rejected my request to sign up for Orkut when I learned about the alleged legal action about intellectual property and the alleged use of the system by certain individuals of interest to some authorities. Shucks. I wanted to see if any of my former pals in Campinas were on Orkut. Now I will never know.

What if I * had * used Orkut? According to the BBC story, I would run the risk of:

  • Lowered immune response
  • Wacky hormone levels
  • Inefficient arteries
  • Cancer
  • Strokes
  • Heart disease
  • And (my favorite) dementia. I know I will have dementia when I embrace SEO and hang out with SEO carpet baggers, shills, and entitlement analytics wonks.

The BBC opened my eyes to risks of which I had not thought. To me social software means security issues, evidence, and clues for users’ predilections. From Top Gear to the dangers of social software. That’s the new BBC.

Stephen Arnold, February 21, 2009


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