There’s a fascinating post up over on GigaOM which starts to address something that’s been niggling at me for a while:
Much less noticeable is another trend: the rise of the web introvert. But while some web introverts might be introverted in the classic sense — that is, uncomfortable in social settings — many of them aren’t shy at all. They are simply averse to having a public presence on the web.
I have several people like that in my immediate circle of friends and family, and I think this is rapidly becoming the elephant in the room of social media discussions. The rush by Google and Facebook to push social interactions into the public space to support their business objectives has made this problem even more acute. And the fact that even with privacy settings in use of, say, Facebook, you are beholden to the tagging behaviour of your friends to maintain discretion around social activities makes this even more acute.
Unless we can find a way to draw these people into the social web – and that probably means more thought around both privacy and data ownership – we’re only ever going to get a subset of a subset of people involved. And that, in turn, will massively limit its potential.