Top 15 Tech Disappointments of 2007

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These lists are everywhere. And seemingly every website and media outlet has a top 10, 15, 20 or 50 of some kind. But PC World's Top 15 Tech Disappointments caught my attention. And not so much because I agree or disagree with their choices, but because I find number 13 an interesting selection - social networks. "But it's all so... 2006. Haven't you got anything new to show us?" reads the post.

While every other top-whatever list claims social networking to be one of the top stories of 2007 and top trends of 2008, PC World is saying enough already. Why? Because it's on everyone's mind but the marketers' touting it as the next billion-dollar ad space (eMarketer predicts $1.5 billion in 2008) ... social networking fatigue is setting in. There are many social networks out there outside of the big two of MySpace and Facebook. So many, in fact, how is one to keep up with all of these new friends, and who has the time? Yes, it's wonderful to be able to connect and share each others' lives. But there are numerous hassles along the way. The proliferation of spam on MySpace and, more recently, big-time privacy concerns over at Facebook are two.

I think PC World got it right ... and wrong. Social networking fatigue is real and these networks will dry up - at least in their current form - but they won't disappear. Portable networking is going to throw a wrench in everything. Social networking will take on many new forms, through email, widgets, shopping ... you name it. As long as security issues are addressed and non-obtrusive advertising is achieved, there's no reason why the Web won't be transformed into one giant, portable social network. And who else to lead the way but Google with their anticipated Open Social system?

The truth is, we've been "social networking" ever since the Web came online. Forwarding emails, URLs, blogging, making new friends and contacts never before seen ... the only things that have really changed are destination sites and user profile pages. Now, we're going to see a sort of retro-networking scenario - where we're once again free to go wherever we want on the Web and not be tied down to a spammy site loaded with security risks, pornographers or get-rich-quick schemes but still be able to share all those hilarious YouTube clips with our nearest and dearest. So get ready for 2008. Gather your friends, and get ready to spread your wings - your way.

 

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