I'm positively fed up with the faux colorblindness of social networking sites. Social networking sites like Facebook, Foursquare,Twitter and the like all enjoy living in the same blindspot. Social networking sites have vastly increased the efficiency and speed with which we can connect with people on nearly every vector save one: ethnicity.
When you become a member of Facebook for example, they don't ask you how you self identify your ethnic background. Ethnicity is not a searchable category. If you want to connect with other blacks, jews, asians , whatever, you have to go searching that out the brute force way. Its not a simply searchable element of your profile. It oughtta be.
My frustration with this state of affairs has been around for a while, but was aroused afresh by my discovery of a neat little app using the Fousquare API called Assisted Serendipity. Using this website, you can monitor check in activity at local bars and clubs for the ratio of men to women. The site notifies you when the ratio meets a specific level (i.e., when its 4:1 women to men at the club, you get an update to that effect and roll out). Mind you, if a ton of guys (or gals) are using this app, they are going to be getting the same alert and rolling out to the club too. The ratio could quickly slip out of wack again. But I digress.
After chuckling at Arrested Serendipity's purpose, I wondered to myself, what if there was an app that told you about the ratio of black to white at a location? Or what if the Arrested Serendipity app let you set up alerts when X number of black women show up at the club? What if Facebook let you self identify your ethnic background and made that searchable? What if every social networking site by default enabled people to establish connectivity with each other affiliating based on ethnicity?
Why do social networking sites do everything in their power to accelerate social connectivity along every vector but ethnicity/race?