Social Network Overload!

I know I’m not the only one feeling the pain of social network overload.  In the past month I have signed up with over 5 different social networks.  If you don’t posses the Louis Gray Super Kickass Social Network Following Power, you are probably wondering when the craziness will stop, slow down, or at the very least, when we’ll see some of these apps communicate with each other more efficiently so we can keep our heads straight.

There are a few breeds of social networks (in my view):

  1. Social homes (MySpace, Facebook, etc.)
  2. Social niches (Flickr, LinkedIn, etc.)
  3. Social bookmarking (Delicious, Diggo, etc.)
  4. Social news (Digg, Reddit, etc.)
  5. Micro blogs (Twitter, FriendFeed, Rejaw, etc.)

This list is not all inclusive, but those seem to be the dominate breeds out there today.  It seems like (for now) the social homes are set in their space.  Social niches are, like they are titled, for niches and will always have their place.  Social bookmarking has been around for awhile and seems to have settled down.  Where things start getting interesting is within the social news and micro blogging breeds.

I was never a big fan of Twitter.  I didn’t get the point of it.  I know it is used for more, but in essence, why would I care about what you are doing now…and now…and now….and now…I think you get the point.  The concept didn’t sit well with me.  None-the-less, Twitter dominated the scene for a healthy amount of time (in technology years).  Then along came FriendFeed.  I don’t believe FriendFeed competes with Twitter at all.  Twitter is a pure bread micro blogging platform while FriendFeed is a a healthy mix of social news and micro blogging.  The early adopters took to it with heart and the community has since thrived.

However, in the past month, I have joined Identi.ca, Kwippy, SocialMedian, Rejaw, and most recently Strands (from what I can remember, there might actually be more).  It is extremely overwhelming and, to be frank, for the most part, all redundant.  Of the pack, SocialMedian is the only one that broke out and offered something some what useful.  I still have to spend some more time on it, but I do see it’s value.  Rejaw is in direct competition with Twitter (like it or not) and *way* better than Twitter on all counts (again, my opinion).  Strands is very new, so I haven’t played with it much yet.  From first impressions, they seem to be in direct competition with FriendFeed, however, Strands has a *ton* more bells and whistles, particularly with the ability to filter the incoming content.  On the other hand, as Rasheen Porter put it, “Strands makes me feel limited. I can’t explain it. Maybe the UI, but I feel like I’m in a box.”  Louis Gray has already done a good write up of Strands if you are interested in more details.

Kyle Lacy wrote a post on The Beauty of Viral and FriendFeed in which Kyle makes a point that I have seen  Louis Gray mention (in his own words) as well, “it is important to remember to be IN the conversation.”  I could not agree more when it comes to a company with a brand to support and spread.  But what about an individual who 1) is trying to be involved in the community as much as possible because they enjoy participating and 2) is trying to get noticed for what they have or want to offer to the community?

As an individual who is unable to hire someone to to get more involved on all of these social networks, how are we to decide which ones to adopt and which ones to ignore?   Is it necessary to sign up and keep up with all of them?  Is there a sensible way to keep up with all of them?

In the not to distant future, I would really like to see a service like Ping.fm handle the ability to post a message to a given service from your IM client of choice with a special command to send a message to a given network (like Ping.fm does now with @tt for Twitter, @ff for FriendFeed, etc.) as well as receive responses to that post via your IM client.  If Ping.fm can figure out this final piece of the puzzle, the ability to follow all of these micro blogging platforms will become much easier for everyone involved.

How are you handling the flow?

Till next time…

On a side note, Hao Chen has created an amazing tool to find all of your FriendFeed friends across the web on several different social networks.  If you have trouble finding everyone to re-follow on your social networks, give Hao’s application a go.

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Categorized: The Social Web
  • I am dizzy, just reading that LOL
    Nice write up, Kornbread 🙂

  • I am dizzy, just reading that LOL
    Nice write up, Kornbread 🙂

  • “Louis Gray Super Kickass Social Network Following Power” hah. You don’t understand how much I agree with that. 🙂

    On a lighter note.

    When it comes to how you manage your time on Social Networks I have pretty much broken down to 4 sites I use constantly (Sorry Louis, I don’t have the kick ass social power). I have four sites that cater to specific parts of my life: Business Interaction, Business Development, Social Development, Education/Information. There are overlaps in many of the areas.

    It almost represents your list of social tools in the post. RSS Feeds are my friend too.

    I am content to use FriendFeed, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Reader, and Facebook for right now.

  • “Louis Gray Super Kickass Social Network Following Power” hah. You don’t understand how much I agree with that. 🙂

    On a lighter note.

    When it comes to how you manage your time on Social Networks I have pretty much broken down to 4 sites I use constantly (Sorry Louis, I don’t have the kick ass social power). I have four sites that cater to specific parts of my life: Business Interaction, Business Development, Social Development, Education/Information. There are overlaps in many of the areas.

    It almost represents your list of social tools in the post. RSS Feeds are my friend too.

    I am content to use FriendFeed, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Reader, and Facebook for right now.

  • Ian

    I know how you feel, Rejaw is especially time consuming. Personally I wish I could relay messages via Ping.fm by a text message to my 13 (so far) social networks. One thing I’ll add is there are two more categories:

    Social Video: YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo
    Video Blogs: 12 Seconds, Seesmic

  • Ian

    I know how you feel, Rejaw is especially time consuming. Personally I wish I could relay messages via Ping.fm by a text message to my 13 (so far) social networks. One thing I’ll add is there are two more categories:

    Social Video: YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo
    Video Blogs: 12 Seconds, Seesmic

  • When I joined Strands, I started to feel overwhelmed. Socialmedian is another site where I don’t really pay attention. I clip stuff, but I rarely go to the site.

    I think it’s all about finding what fits into your routine. I like to talk to people so I follow Identi.ca (XMPP), FriendFeed, and Rejaw primarily. I talk on Twitter and Kwippy, but only if people talk to me directly (XMPP alerts let me know).

    All the sites like FaceBook, MySpace etc. send me an email if anything important happens. Otherwise, I don’t have to pay them any mind.

    I use Ping.fm to send status messages across all services. I kinda like figuring out how to stay uber connected, though. Maybe I’m weird. 🙂

  • Mona – Thanks! Hope your head calms down soon.

    Kyle – I think that is good advice since most of us don’t possess the Louis Gray Super Kickass Social Network Following Power. There is only so much we can keep up with on a daily basis. But, what are our personal brands missing out on by not being able to keep up with every service?

    Ian – You are right. I should have included the Social Video networks as another category. These networks only add more complexity to the equation and they are becoming more and more integrated with how we interact as well. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • When I joined Strands, I started to feel overwhelmed. Socialmedian is another site where I don’t really pay attention. I clip stuff, but I rarely go to the site.

    I think it’s all about finding what fits into your routine. I like to talk to people so I follow Identi.ca (XMPP), FriendFeed, and Rejaw primarily. I talk on Twitter and Kwippy, but only if people talk to me directly (XMPP alerts let me know).

    All the sites like FaceBook, MySpace etc. send me an email if anything important happens. Otherwise, I don’t have to pay them any mind.

    I use Ping.fm to send status messages across all services. I kinda like figuring out how to stay uber connected, though. Maybe I’m weird. 🙂

  • Mona – Thanks! Hope your head calms down soon.

    Kyle – I think that is good advice since most of us don’t possess the Louis Gray Super Kickass Social Network Following Power. There is only so much we can keep up with on a daily basis. But, what are our personal brands missing out on by not being able to keep up with every service?

    Ian – You are right. I should have included the Social Video networks as another category. These networks only add more complexity to the equation and they are becoming more and more integrated with how we interact as well. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Rahsheen – This entire post was spurred by the introduction of Strands. Just when people were adopting to FriendFeed, when people were beginning to accept it as another core network, along came Strands. Granted, Strands is still private beta.

    I should really look into XMPP alerts. I’ve seen a few people talk about it, but have yet to investigate.

    As for your need/enjoyment of staying connected, I think people by nature are like that, however, that does not get you off the hook of being weird. 🙂

  • Rahsheen – This entire post was spurred by the introduction of Strands. Just when people were adopting to FriendFeed, when people were beginning to accept it as another core network, along came Strands. Granted, Strands is still private beta.

    I should really look into XMPP alerts. I’ve seen a few people talk about it, but have yet to investigate.

    As for your need/enjoyment of staying connected, I think people by nature are like that, however, that does not get you off the hook of being weird. 🙂

  • The idea is to try and find what you like, and with more competition and development, other sites will continue to improve.

    * I like FriendFeed because it easily pulls in my activity from around the Web and has a sharp community with good conversations and hiding.
    * I like Social Median because it lets me just see news and posts on topics I pick or from people I follow.
    * I like Strands because it has similar elements to FriendFeed, but more filtering and some good potential. I also know it can continue to improve because it’s early.

    I don’t yet know Rejaw. I’m in, but not an expert. For now, barring disaster, Twitter is the only microblogging service anyone needs. Identi.ca is fine, but I’m not really engaged there. Plurk was not useful.

    Find the platform you like and the people you like and do as you wish. There’s no quota. (or superpowers)

  • The idea is to try and find what you like, and with more competition and development, other sites will continue to improve.

    * I like FriendFeed because it easily pulls in my activity from around the Web and has a sharp community with good conversations and hiding.
    * I like Social Median because it lets me just see news and posts on topics I pick or from people I follow.
    * I like Strands because it has similar elements to FriendFeed, but more filtering and some good potential. I also know it can continue to improve because it’s early.

    I don’t yet know Rejaw. I’m in, but not an expert. For now, barring disaster, Twitter is the only microblogging service anyone needs. Identi.ca is fine, but I’m not really engaged there. Plurk was not useful.

    Find the platform you like and the people you like and do as you wish. There’s no quota. (or superpowers)

  • Louis – Thanks for chiming in and clarifying where your “superpowers” are concentrated. I agree with you and hope the competition will strengthen the other sites, as long as the other sites are the ones I enjoy 🙂

  • Louis – Thanks for chiming in and clarifying where your “superpowers” are concentrated. I agree with you and hope the competition will strengthen the other sites, as long as the other sites are the ones I enjoy 🙂

  • I totally feel your pain! I just come to realize that it’s impossible for me to 100% keep track everything going on on my social networking accounts and the thought put me at ease. 🙂

  • I totally feel your pain! I just come to realize that it’s impossible for me to 100% keep track everything going on on my social networking accounts and the thought put me at ease. 🙂

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