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The Personalization of Social (Or Why We Need to be Architects)

The dialogue between client and architect is about as intimate as any conversation you can have, because when you’re talking about building a house, you’re talking about dreams. ~ Robert A. M. Stern

It’s funny how our mindsets change with the onset of age. Or experience. Or a mixture of both.

Take social media. When it first started gaining traction with the masses around 2009, it was seen as “the great connector” – a way for everyone to share, learn, support, and more.

Then, brands came along and got involved. Social media changed (though let’s not solely blame the brands for that).

Interaction was replaced with reaction; talk with was replaced with talk to; and a piece of intimacy was lost.

The result? Many social networks seeing a decline in both usage and users.

Plus ca change.


But then a funny thing happened. People clamoured for the personal. Communities of large and disparate became micro-communities of small and connected.

Blogs became more focused on the moment as opposed to the momentous. Bloggers stopped chasing numbers and instead started focusing on the people behind the numbers.

Channels gave way to channeled focus. And it’s glorious.

Personal notes for personal readers. Personal replies from personal thought providers. No mass sharing. No mass consumption.

It’s the antithesis of the chase for social proof and maybe – just maybe – the way forward as we look to reclaim the magic of intimacy on the social web.

Here’s to the journey.