As If in Unison, Public Relations People May Have Finally Figured Out That Every Institution Doesn't Need Its Own Social Network

By Robinson Meyer

On the upside, FaceBach and Wagnr remain ad-free!

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Classical music has been historically hampered by a panoply of marketing efforts, of which the photo above represents only a sample. (Shutterstock/ra2 Studio)

If they care to remember it, here's something our kids will file under "Annals of Web 2.0 Ridiculousness:"

Three years ago, the San Fransisco Symphony Orchestra had its own social network. It had a place to post videos, discuss concerts, and a feature called "Ask a Musician."

And, as the latest sign of our shift into the Great Period of Social Network Maturity: the Orchestra shut it down in June. According to Lisa Hirsch, a Bay Area writer (and the source of all this history), it's decided to focus on its marketing efforts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

This is a comical story: It's funny to imagine that anyone, ever, thought that the average person would circulate every day around their 20 or 30 topic-based social networks, each operated by a different institution. But it demonstrates, more seriously, that our choices on the web are narrowing. We are down to a few remaining centralized sites. The choices they make -- about privacy, ownership and licensing -- don't just blandly affect the future of the web: They'll constitute that future.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/08/as-if-in-unison-public-relations-people-may-have-finally-figured-out-that-every-institution-doesnt-need-its-own-social-network/261406/