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Social Networking Diseases and Disorders of the new Millennium

August 31, 2005

Contact Flickritis

Symptoms: general uneasiness, sometimes accompanied by mild headaches and sweaty palms; often characterized by feelings of deja vu and that feeling you get when you meet up with someone you think you know but can’t remember their names.

Typical Causes:

  1. contact A adds contact B to their flickr contacts, and contact B chooses not to reciprocate; contact A questions self-worth, wonders if they did something wrong or to piss contact B off.
  2. contact A adds contact B as a “friend” in their flickr contacts; contact B displays symptoms while struggling to decide to add contact A as a “contact” or “friend”
  3. contact A adds contact B to flickr contacts, contact B doesn’t login to flickr to see incoming messages and is oblivious that they have been added; often misdiagnosed as case 1, above

Treatment: 2 Stella Artois should alleviate any symptoms and may be repeated on an as needed basis

Blogroll Malaise

Symptoms: very similar to Contact Flickritis; general uneasiness often leading to sincere questioning of whether or not one should have a blogroll in the first place, and “what’s the point if everyone just seems to have the same damn people in their blogroll anyway”; can lead to the removal of blogroll entries, extraction of entire blogrolls, or in extreme cases the shutting down of a blog; Symptoms appear slowly while people check their monthly access logs – person may be a carrier without knowing it;

Typical Causes:

  1. not being added to a blogroll; typically manifests itself through the question “Why do I even bother?”
  2. being added to a blogroll and then being removed; typically manifests itself through the questions: “Were they expecting me to add them to my blogroll? Did I say something wrong? Are they not interested in my writing any more? and, Why do I even bother?”

Treatment: spending time with family, exercise, and eating good food are reported to effectively treat the symptoms of Blogroll Malaise; if not, a vacation might help.

Social Network Anxiety

Symptoms: similar to Blogroll Malaise, but more closely associated with one of several “social network” sites, including, but not limited to: LinkedIn, Ryze, and O’Reilly Connection [1]; symptoms typically appear much more rapidly than Blogroll Malaise due to instant delivery of (often) pre-determined, cheesy invitation emails; often characterized by delusions and/or cult-like behaviour[2] that adding people to a network is somehow going to be beneficial;

[1] Note that breakouts of SNA due to a boom in one social networking site tends to result in SNA spreading to members of other social networking sites.

[2] as of this writing, there is no scientific evidence that these are or are not delusions. Further, the collective promise in everyone’s mind that participates in these networks may lead to behaviour that can be seen as cult-like in some circumstances but does not necessarily imply that all or any social networking sites are cults or cult-like.

Typical Causes:

  1. contact A adds contact B to their social network and contact B reciprocates; immediately following this, contact B views all the connections for contact A; contact A wonders why the people on contact A’s list aren’t connected to them as well resulting in contact A exhibiting signs of SNA
  2. extension of cause 1, above, contact B feels tremendous anxiety as they question whether or not they should start inviting all the people on contact A’s list or not or if they should just leave contact A’s connections alone, even if they know them.
  3. severe cases can be caused when a contact has been exposed to multiple social networking sites; the effects of this anxiety are most acutely felt when deciding if a new contact should be added to LinkedIn, or O’Reilly Connection, or both, often resulting in a stalemate where the contact isn’t added to any of them at all, completely defeating the purpose of the social networking site in the first place.

Treatment: drink several “Smiling Jerry”s and seek ways to connect with these people in person rather than simply online

Post Event Stress Disorder

Symptoms: PESD is the most severe of all of these social networking diseases; after (and sometimes during) any major conference or networking event there is a frenzy of activity that involves all of the aforementioned conditions. Diagnosis is extremely difficult as symptoms of all previous conditions can be seen in varying degrees, depending upon the temporal proximity to the event.

Typical Causes:

See all above causes, combined together in the first few weeks following the associated conference or event.

Treatment: there is currently no known treatment for PESD

9 Responses

Comment by goodwitch — Aug 31 2005 @ 10:51 pm

oooooo grrrrrreat dr. d, give us a treatment but don’t tell us how to make it. recipe for “smiling jerry” please…..and hurry back to texas!

Comment by Andrea — Sep 01 2005 @ 12:01 am

Ha! I have had Blogroll Malaise for about a year now. But I don’t think even that is going to get me to exercise! Maybe I’ll try the vacation…

Comment by John Oxton — Sep 01 2005 @ 3:14 am

Ha! Do you take appointments?

Brilliant as ever Derek :)

Comment by isil flynn — Sep 01 2005 @ 8:01 am

This is so good! (and so true)
How about another one: Contact Flickritis by Proxy.

Contact A marks Contact B as a friend then realizes it was an error. Contact A suffers Contact Flickritis by Proxy as they must now decide to either leave said “friend” contact knowing Contact B will be suffering from Contact Flickritis primary or to remove said “friend” contact and have Contact B suffer from Contact Flickritis primary.
— heard it from a friend of a friend of mine ;)

Comment by Jeff Smith — Sep 02 2005 @ 7:27 am

I needed a little bit of a laugh this morning, thanks Derek!


Comment by ivan — Sep 05 2005 @ 11:05 am

I think i Have contact flickeritis :P haha

Comment by strimble — Sep 07 2005 @ 9:15 pm

This is awesome! Great job!

I’m currently recovering from all of those diagnoses. :D

No more Social Networking Diseases or Disorders for me!

Comment by Ben Buchanan — Oct 31 2005 @ 9:22 pm

This is so damn true I’ve linked to it permanently right below my blogroll….

Comment by Laurel Papworth — May 19 2007 @ 10:45 am

There is one more. Missed-The-Boat-Syndrome. When contact A has been so busy checking her Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, WordPress, Ning, Vibe, Google Reader, (add another 10, 091 sites) that it takes her TWO YEARS to find out that Contact B and C and … Z have all responded on a cool unmissable post like this one. :(