Social Networks: The “C” word – commitment

Darling, we have to talk. About the ‘c’ word – commitment. I think it’s time we settled down, picked a social network and stuck with it. Oh ok, we can have two or three but do we really need hundreds?

Remember that when people like Robert Scoble talk about the importance of aggregating their friends lists on hundreds of social networks, they are acting as a one-man media distibution channel. In other words, they need to get videos, blogs, fotos, articles out to as many of their thousands of fans on as many social networks as possible. You don’t. No, really you don’t. And yes, this means you too Mike Seyfang. 😛

I reckon Profilactic got their name right! :

What is Profilactic?
Profilactic is a digital life aggregator that makes it easy to keep up with all of the content you and your friends create online.

Here’s Mashable’s list of Social Aggregators – managing your profiles, I guess.

20 Ways To Aggregate Your Social Networking Profiles

In an inspired blog post, Jason Kottke said that social networks aren’t helping us organize; since all of them require different credentials to log in, they’re just adding to the noise. He just might be up to something there. It’s getting harder and harder to remember all those logins, passwords, and most importantly to remember which of your friends are using what network.

Social network aggregators is a relatively new breed of applications which try to consolidate all your various social networking profiles into one, with varying success. Let’s check out 20 biggest competitors in this field.

I personally join hundreds of social networks – for about 3 minutes – but only a handful (meaning, less than 5) get my attention full time. Most of those forums/online communities/whatevs I have been with for over 3 three years – a couple for around 8 years – and my online friends list is pretty well entrenched. Deep. Meaningful. The bells and whistles of social networking may not be there, but hey it’s home.

So next time you go out on the town, pick up yet another superficial social relationship, stumble home drunk on technology and start bemoaning the fact that you can’t build meaningful relationships because the tools given to you, don’t expect me still be here. That doesn’t mean I don’t still love you. But I’m not sure we can remain friends…

… of course, what I demand of you doesn’t work both ways. I have to remain free and true to myself. 😛 Have you checked out Plaxo/Pulse thing yet? It (re)launched yesterday I think.

Hmmm. Ok, maybe we should try therapy? 😛

From the podcast Dave N Wallace, Mike Seyfang and I did yesterday (not yet up), I guess what came out of the discussion was that the boys don’t want to have to go to a webpage to collect their social network information – they like what I call “takeaway”. In other words, have a dynamic page on the PC or mobile that updates with what everyone is doing on their various networks/user generated content sites. Me, I’m a “dining in” type of gal – I like loading up Facebook, poodling about, then closing the window and putting it away. I like the fact that it’s all badged with Facebook and I am a member of the tribe Facebook. That goes for my other communities too – I love the colourful World of Warcraft forums and wouldn’t swap them for a boring old text feed any day. It’s not the information but the ambience of the social network that is important to me. It’s also the fact that it’s not always on. Trust me, I’ve had to give enough people “time outs”. Emotions can run high if you are plugged in 24×7. But as usual, YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

4 thoughts on “Social Networks: The “C” word – commitment

  1. Hey Laurel,
    I agree that there is something to be said for the actual social network space, being within the site (facebook eg) and being able to exit and logoff…
    but I then think about rss feed aggregators, like google reader that I am using right now, that give me the summary of what’s new – which i can then choose to visit the page if I want to get into more depth – or level of interaction. I guess it’s the way you use the aggregator.
    I think it will be very interesting to see how googles social network aggregator, Socialstream, impacts on this space. Yes an aggregator lacks the ambience and personal touchy-feely aspect of the specific social network site – but sometimes the organisation of information, which google does well, is more important.

  2. Hi

    I, too, like to ‘be’ in a place, I have SL for that.

    I don’t think though that ‘belonging’ is a virtual geographical phenomenon. Sure, being in one spot, all cuddly together, can help that, but to not then be there shouldn’t have to mean the [conversayshun] stops.

    These ‘aggregators’ are a good start, but I contend that most are only still one way – read, not read/write. Read/write and mobile (in terms of not having to be at a predetermined place) offers moat flexibility and therfore most possibility to continue the relationship.

    Point taken about always on. Though I have a bit different slant on tat. Another day. I’m off to work *sigh*


  3. Hey Laurel, I came across your thoughts on social network aggregator here, and you seem to have done an extensive research on the subject. You probably have heard of Spokeo (www.spokeo.com), and our approach is to present these non-RSS information in a simple reader.

    I would love to hear your thoughts and critiques on our approach of aggregating your friends’ information into a reader.

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