In the last three days I received two invitation to join Facebook, one invitation to join Pownce and two inquiries about my Twitter address (see an analysis by USAToday). Mind you, I have a profile on LinkedIn, and an old one on Ryze -- remember that one? Does anyone use it anymore? And let's not forget Jaiku.
Have we become so isolated in our daily work life as agents of our destiny that we need to have surrogate environments to hang out?
More importantly -- What about the work it takes to update all these networks? I have a hard enough time updating my LinkedIn! Has anyone thought about integrating?
And now that we have social networks are blogs obsolete?
There's a passionate conversation going on at Deep Jive Interests, started somewhere at Scobleizer and continued at Gapingvoid. Tony Hung took it over to The Blog Herald. Hint, there is mention again of the A-list and social networks. Ich bin auf der Z-Liste! I always wanted to say that in German. Thank you, Tony.
Have you seen your blog traffic decrease? According to Scoble's friends, this is because they assume their readers are now off to social networks. How many friends do you really have? How many people can you really call friends? I mentioned I have an extensive network in a previous post, these are not all friends and most do not read my blog. I will post about how to grow and nurture such a group in the future.
I think Tony nails it when he says that the answer to mega gazillion friends that some already have on these social networks is popularity. The more popular you are, the more people want to rub shoulders with you. Maybe some of the magic dust will make you lucky, etc. Tony says:
"Social Networks don’t change that [popularity]. And in many cases, I suspect, it's not a binary or mutually exclusive phenomenon either. Just *because* you introduce mediums that ask for your continuous partial attention, such as Twitter or Pownce, OR, walled-in gardens such as Facebook it doesn’t mean that you necessarily take away from blogging — which is one of the greatest one-to-many publishing mediums available."
Is this the twilight of blogging? Asks Tony at The Blog Herald. Before you answer that, he maintains it isn't. He says:
"Because, with respect to blogging, all of these services and applications are essentially creating a niche for the same people for whom blogging is not a good fit. As easy as it is to blog, it is even *easier* to join a social network that is robust, and where all of your friends and contacts *already* belong. And I think these kinds of places are a *better* fit for people who are looking to write and publish things of a personal nature, things that are purely for their own benefit, or people who just want to “try” out writing and publishing their own thoughts.
This will allow blogging to mature into the medium it was always destined to be, allowing blogs that remain to be voices that continue to be exceptionally passionate and opinionated, if not immediate, funny, intelligent, thought-provoking, or entertaining — because they will be written for people who learned, or who are dedicated to learning about blogging.
In a sentence, the signal-to-noise ratio will start *rising*. There will be more blogs that will appear to be worth reading, watching, or listening to if, for no other reason, than all the other “try-me-out” blogs will start disappearing.
And this is a very good thing."
Let's review here the motivations that prompted so many of us to enter the self-publishing world:
- To have a voice -- to express opinions, share knowledge, learn something
- To increase our opportunities for business -- let's face it, even when we say we use this medium as a branding tool, we like to get some side benefits that are monetary, yes? Not to mention the very important reason to have a dialogue with customers.
- To expand our horizons -- stretching is good. This has been geek week for me, for example. We can take what we learn here back to our day jobs, clients, and partners and be more valuable in utilizing these tools appropriately.
Building relationships and creating community are outcomes of these motivations. Greg Verdino via Gavin Heaton pointed us to Common Craft who show the most basic features and benefits of social media and focus more on what people can actually do with these tools. I like that, action.
What do you think? Are there too many social networks? What have you found useful as in action-driven? Do you need to be there because that makes you cool or because you can actually do things with those tools that you cannot do with blogs?
[Thanks to Chris Baskind, Paperfrog and Greg Verdino, Greg Verdino's Marketing blog for the assistance with some of the stats for the chart. The aim was to provide a visual orientation to non geeks, not a carved-in-stone statistical piece. If you have better numbers, let me know. I'll be happy to update it.]
ASIDE you may find interesting. This is an email I got from Greg last night with some tidbits about usability. Since I see him as the new/emerging media guru in my circle of bloggers, here it is for your information, unedited (thanks, Greg!).
"Jaiku is pretty much exactly the same as Twitter -- the interface is a bit prettier but the functionality, ease of use is exactly the same. Not sure if it integrates with Facebook yet (Twitter does.)Facebook itself as a Twitter-like "status" function that provides updates to your Facebook friends but is only for your Facebook friends. It's easy enough to use but that's not really the main reason people are in Facebook. And on top of that, a lot of FB users now also embed their Twitter into their FB page, so the two presence apps (FB status and Twitter) are kinda redundant.
Pownce seems like it is just as easy to use -- and I think (again I'm not a user) allows for more control (you can update everyone, just one specific person - both of which you can do in Twitter and Jaiku - or only your friends - which Twitter and Jaiku don't allow) and it sounds like they also allow you to do things like transfer files over the service (with Twitter you can only embed links).One biggish issue that nobody is really talking about is that anyone who starts using more than one of these services (or multiple social networks, sharing sites, etc) finds herself with multiple circles of friends, constantly updating various profiles/status posts, etc - there isn't any way for a user to bring all of their stuff/friendships/updates together in a single interface -- which can be a real pain if you're in MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Flickr, Photobucket, YouTube and del.icio.us. YIKES!"