I’m a social network geek. Facebook was my first, but I’ve fallen in love with Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and because I want to keep on top of what’s available I have accounts with Path and Foursquare.
But I have a problem. My head can’t cope.
On each of my networks I have different groups of friends, so if I want to discuss the Olympic Opening Ceremony for example, I need to decide which network to post it on. If I post it on multiple sites, I now need to follow conversations on each site.
Imagine holding a party with your work friends, your family, your personal friends and some people you met on a work trip. But instead of taking them to a bar, you invite them to your house and put each group in their own room. You now spend the rest of your evening going to each room in turn asking a question, or telling a funny story. As you move from room to room you start to forget which story you told in which room, which room gave you the answer to which question, and which of your friends knows each other.
The stress of it actually makes my forehead warm up!
You could say the aggregators like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite are the answer – but their value really lies in pushing messages out to multiple channels, not listening to all your conversations in a single view (yes they are on a single screen, but it isn’t one conversation).
Social online is like social offline – listen 10 times more than you speak. So, having an aggregator to push out your messages is great, but my problem is about listening to 5 different conversations at once.
And so ultimately I have to make a decision to pick one room to stay in, at least for a day, or a week.
Most evenings, it is Twitter – I love the constant stream of tech news, inspiring quotes and TV commentary.
Some days it is Facebook – this worked a treat on the Opening Ceremony as my wife was out, but many personal friends were online.
LinkedIn’s new stream is an improvement, but its not something that I would spend more than a few minutes on yet.
Google+ I love, and I really hope more people start using it actively.
Are Social Networks doomed like IM was?
My problem is, that as more social networks arrive, the time spent on each decreases, and potentially the value of the network reduces. IM ultimately failed to dominate because it wasn’t federated, and the same is happening again with social networks.
I don’t know what the answer is, I just know it is a problem.
What do you think? Does your head hurt trying to stay on top of so many social networks? Do you get drawn back to one, just because that is where your friends are? Could an aggregator like Tweetdeck ever make it seem like one single conversation?
I’d love to know what you think!