In response to last week’s post about whether social software designers are thinking politically about their work and about whether social software can serve the public interest, fostering civic participation. Chris Messina, a developer of the Flock web browser, responded:

In fact, we’re designing Flock to serve that very purpose, considering the citizen journalism angles and working to build a suite of tools that can be used to re-democratize media.

That’s encouraging. I often fear that some web services like MySpace or Flickr are used as 21st century vanity plates, places for people to admire themselves and their collections of friends. I tried Friendster back in the day but it seemed pointless; I wasn’t really friends with many of my Friendster friends, yet I felt the bizarre need to collect more of them every time I came across someone with like 750 Friendsters.

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