Social Media Need Not Rule

by Conor Friedersdorf

Reihan is excited about a new entrepreneurial venture:

Weeks ago, Business Insider profiled a few of the Chicago-based start-ups that angel investors Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, best known for backing Groupon, are funding, including an intriguing stealth concept: a company that leverages "the power of the social graph" to build more reliable and more meaningful credit scores. This is exactly the kind of idea that drives my left-of-center friends up the wall, and I love it. It is a sociological truism (or is it a lazy assumption?) that we are like our friends, hence childbirth and obesity are "contagious." Something similar presumably applies to our financial proclivities.

The difficulty lies in identifying our true social graph. When money is at stake, it becomes important to weight different relationships appropriately. And of course money being at stake will incline us to "curate" our social graph, to make it less like our real social relationships and more like an idealized version of the same -- or rather a version designed to maximize our credit score, or whatever other metric we're looking to game. 

Regardless, we have to start somewhere.

Ah, but we don't have to start somewhere! We could decide that the commodification of our friendships is creepy and ridicule it, or boycott any product that inclines us to "curate" our social graph, having concluded that the incentives at work are perverse.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Just In