Colin Walker

on social media, tech, blogging and the internet.

Getting too social?

Social media is both a blessing and a curse.

We have the ability to communicate with many interesting people from all over the world in the easiest ways we have ever had available to us. The flow of information and responses is incredibly engaging and is making the world ever smaller – even if governments still have their differences, the citizens of the world are rapidly becoming citizens of the one global village.

On the other hand, however, social media can be a huge time-sink if not managed correctly and the danger exists that we become too engrossed so that other areas of our lives start to suffer. As I have said before: it is about finding a balance that works for us.

Different strokes

We all use social media differently, we have different goals and objectives, different reasons for using one service over another. Bloggers will use services to expand their audience and make items available to a wider cross section of the web thus enhancing their exposure. Nowhere, however, is is written that we must engage on all fronts and, as such, should not be criticised for not doing so.

We all have our favourite services and social networks; we may have accounts on dozens but we invariably use a core set of tools to get us through our daily lives be they Twitter, Plurk, FriendFeed etc. We have our followers across the web and can choose where we interact with them – our choices do not have to match and the variety in social media is what makes it interesting.

Echo?

We complain about the echo chamber and call for users of social media to broaden their horizons and use social media in different ways but, it seems, when certain individuals do this they are criticised for not being accessible or interactive.

A while back, Phil over at Scribkin called out¬†Steve Gillmor among others for signing up to FriendFeed, importing their streams and not returning deeming those individuals Posers.¬†Now, Tad questions how many of those “well known outside of FF” actively engage on the service (fftogo link)

Forgive me if I’m wrong here, but FriendFeed is an aggregation service that just happens to let you discuss items in situ. There is no obligation that the conversation must take place in any given location or even that a conversation should take place at all. Why is it then, that someone using a service for one purpose (aggregation) should de facto be using it in the same way as others? Doesn’t this go against our call for variety?

Following blindly

Social media ‘friending’ has always been pretty incestuous – once we follow someone in one location we tend to seek them out on the new services that we join so that our following/follower lists become ever more similar across the board. While it is always nice to have a few familiar faces on a new service there is no guarantee that we will use it to interact with each other in the same way and this should be recognised, understood and accepted.

It is our choice who we follow on any given network but if they don’t use it in the same way we do then so what? As Robert Scoble commented “God forbid somebody actually try to do something other than hang out in FriendFeed all day”.

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July 31, 2008 Posted by | Social Media | | 19 Comments