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, 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 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 does now with @tt for Twitter, @ff for FriendFeed, etc.) as well as receive responses to that post via your IM client.  If 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