Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp!, Grub.it, Brightkite, Gowalla, Loopt, Tumblr, Newsvine, Digg, Del.icio.us, LinkedIn, Spoke, Google Buzz, Flickr, Ning, Friendfeed, Jaiku, Plaxo Pulse, Bebo, Hi5, Xanga, Koomk, YouAre, Multiply, Yammer, StatusNet, Vox, Shoutem, Streetmavens, myYearbook, Posterous, Tagged …
It is all a little much to handle unless curating profiles on the various social networking sites is your full-time job. It seems like everyday we get a new place to share information, link up with friends and post the yammerings of our daily existences. I’m all for it. I love social media and I believe it is the future.
But there are pitfalls. For example, I received a private message on Facebook last week from the mother of a friend. She just got her first computer and was checking out Facebook. She found her son (much to his chagrin) and then found me. Now, what is my obligation should she ever figure out how to ask to be my friend? I’ve met her once or twice, but I’m not certain I could pick her out of a lineup. But she is my friend’s mother. Am I obligated to be her friend?
Facebook surpassed 500 million users this month. That makes Facebook the third most populous country in the world (if you’re into geographical metaphors). That’s half a billion people voluntarily turning over their personal information: posting vacation photos, videos of their cats, cell phone numbers, addresses etc…
This week, someone posted a torrent file containing profile information on 100 million Facebook users. Today, I read where a huge list of major corporations have downloaded that file. And why not? It’s free info on 100 million customers.
Old Spice launched a major social media campaign and it looks like the effort paid off. Sales of Old Spice products rose by 106 percent for the month and 53 percent over the last three. So, there are some valid reasons to dip your commercial toe into social media.
Did anyone notice a big exodus from Facebook during the big privacy news cycle? I didn’t, other than a few articles about upstart companies trying to be the next Facebook. “Ooooo, they’re awful, but I want to be just like them.” Bah.
My current social media fixation is FourSquare. But even it has competition. Yelp! has started letting users check in at locations and since Yelp! already has a giant database of businesses and users, it might be in a position to kill FourSquare. Then there’s Gowalla (which I can only get to show distances in kilometers), Loopt (which doesn’t make an app for my phone) and BrightKite – all of which do the same thing.
If you’re a business owner, which do you pick? You don’t. You set up a profile on all of them and make sure someone in your organization is managing those profiles and keeping your information both consistent across them all and up to date.
If you’re a user, which do you pick? That’s up to you and how much time you’re willing to give to a phone app, I guess. But there is another factor: the effectiveness of these sites is based on the number of users. I have more than 300 “friends” on Facebook, about 60 “followers” on Twitter (@jutopia, btw), about four “friends” on FourSquare.
If you choose a site where none of your friends are participating, then it isn’t very social, is it?
You could choose them all, but then you get into that list at the beginning of this entry and soon you’re walking into your grocery store and checking in on five different apps so you can be mayor of the grocery store, duke of the frozen food aisle and baron of the pharmacy.
And for the record, I currently hold four mayorships in FourSquare and will fight like a rabid dog to keep them, despite there being no reward at all at any of the venues other than the knowledge that whenever anyone checks in there, they’ll see my photo wearing a tiny crown.
Hell may be other people, but social media hell is other people who’ve checked in at my bus stop more than me.