Bill Tancer
Photo: Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock
Going through my Facebook news feed this morning, I count 10 status updates from "friends," that "can't wait for the weekend" and" several recaps of this morning's chosen breakfast cereal. As the users of social networking sites continue to grow, so do the amount of meaningless stream-of-consciousness status updates and vanity tweets.

According to Experian Hitwise data, more than one in every 10 visits online is attributable to a social networking site like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. At 10.5 percent of all Internet visits in the United States, social networks have surpassed search engines as the most visited category of sites on the Internet.

But given that the explosion of social networking is fueled, in part, by a growing number of inane postings, it's clear that popularity does not equal utility.

In the initial days of social networking and the rising popularity of sites like Twitter, many of us saw great promise in one-to-many and many-to-many communications. The ability to update family and friends, share poignant insight or pass around a favorite news story could possibly change the way we communicate with one another, both in simplifying and enriching our lives 140 characters at a time. But now, as I sift through thousands of tweets and updates, I'm hard-pressed to find value beyond but endless, pointless chatter.

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