I've been thinking a lot recently about why various social networking sites exist and succeed. What I'm most curious about is why people twitter, use facebook, post photos on flickr, etc. I'm sure there are many reasons, and each person's are different, but there must be some inner shared drive or motivation that I'm interested in learning more about.
I'm a fairly private person, but what fascinates me most about these new tools is the ability to not lose touch with people I know. When I was growing up and meeting many new friends or associates through school and camps, I always thought to myself that I would like to be able to keep in touch with everyone, but I didn't know how. I imagined keeping a very long Rolodex with everyone's contact info in it and going through it every year and just saying "hello" to each person I had met. I realized that this would quickly grow tiresome or difficult or impossible time-wise, but it was sad to give up. I remember meeting good, interesting people while traveling and always feeling sorry to have to say good-bye.
I haven't been the best at keeping in touch with everyone I know, but I hope that by understanding how to use the new tools out there effectively, I can do better. I'm wondering whether this same motivation is what fuels others to tweet or whether it's something else. Someone I recently met told me they tweet/fbook/geolocate everything for documentation purposes and to keep a permanent record of their life so they and others don't forget. At first this seemed odd, but after considering it for a while, I think this reason makes a lot of sense as well. Perhaps my sadness in leaving someone from my travels is similar to the sadness of forgetting something interesting about one's life.
I doubt I will ever really understand why others use these tools differently than I. Hopefully I can just one day understand how I want to use them for myself.