Giving Thanks for…Facebook?

[qi:017] In this season of giving thanks, Netizens feel grateful for the sense of connectedness and reconnectedness brought by online social networks. The big news, after all, isn’t that our Facebook profiles will soon turn into virtual Tupperware parties but rather that we can use them to stay in touch.

Bungee Labs executive and former Microsoft evangelist Alex Barnett says thank you to Facebook for the connections it provides:

I’ve rarely used a service that has brought me so much emotional satisfaction…connecting with good friends is a feel-good thing and it is this emotional value that makes Facebook hard to beat in terms of the gratification other services can provide. So much so, here I am even writing a thank you note to the service (I can’t remember doing that for any service…I’ve written about how “cool” stuff is, or how useful some service might be…but “thank you”? Never).

Yahoo! Personals product development executive Susan Mernit is similarly grateful for the personal and emotional connectedness the social web brings, noting in a blog post that she feels “amazement at how small the world is and how the virtual universe brings people together again and again.”

But just because Facebook provides real value to users doesn’t mean that value is easily monetized (through advertising, for example). Maybe Jason Calacanis was right when he said, “Social networking is second only to chat rooms as the worst place to advertise. The content there from your friends and your family is more compelling than any advertisement.”

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