Posted on 18 July 2007

Network With Meaning

Gapingvoid: The Rules Have Changed. Except For The One About You Being Useless.Dave Slusher of Evil Genius Chronicles has had enough with the newest, shiniest social networks clamoring for his attention:

People invite me to services all the time. They want to connect to me on LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook. I appreciate that anyone cares and I get a little warmth from the sentiment. I’m not joining anything that I’m not already a part of though. People ask me why I’m not on FaceBook since that’s the cool, hot thing. That’s precisely why I am not. I’m not interested in coolness or hotness. I am interested in friends, true friends that matter to me and that miss me when they don’t see me for a long time.

He goes on…

Life is short and true friends that will go to the mat for you are scarce. The energy spent in chasing some sort of glorious future from service to service is friction in my life, not any sort of addition.

And I agree.

Though my logins to social networks has exploded over the last few months (in my quest of being at the crossroads of good people ready to make a change in their careers), all of them have a detrimental effect of the value of each network. I use them, but I like them all to play nice.

  • MySpace and Facebook are so similar now, one of them is irrelevant.
  • Twitter does cool things for me because it can follow me and keep me communicated wherever I am. I want it integrated into the other tools more (facebook is kinda-doin’ it)
  • LinkedIn is the granddaddy of work-related social networks, and I appreciate it’s size and the improvements I recognize they’ve made.

Facebook was way better before it turned into add-my-new-application-that-bugs-everyone-in-your-network-book. I am glad you can do it, but I don’t like logging all the way in to find out that it’s just another ho-hum app that people install, then remove 30 seconds later. I know, it’s glittery right now and everyone’s trying to get ahead of the next Joe, but when the glam wears off it will go back to doing it’s job… helping people connect.

I especially like getting notes from within my social network asking me to go join someone else’s social network. How does that make sense?

At the end of the day, it’s about connecting people to people. If Web 2.0 is about disconnecting the CONTENT from the INTERFACE (APIs, RSS, SOAP, AJAX, etc), then the social networks must learn to play nice with each other or they will eventually lose out.

I want a social network that lets me:

  • Blog on my own blog and it all works together. I don’t want to blog on YOUR blog. (duh)
  • Know WHO and WHAT should be in my network via smart autodiscovery and Microformats (XFN/FOAF) culled from what I blog about, what I link to, what feeds I read, etc, etc).
  • Post short messages like twitter that get blogged and published pro actively to people who care to receive them.
  • Allows people to access my status via ANY instant messaging app and also message me the same way.
  • Ditto the above for SMS, too.
  • Instantly get my contact details to their email app, cell phone, or whatever.
  • Share my likes and dislikes, favorite links, music, blog posts, movie reviews, even money.
  • I can post pictures using any number of drop-dead simple tools (sms, email, IM, drag-drop) and they are logged, tagged, geocoded and published to those who care.
  • Simple, easy interfaces like Tumblr that make my “stuff” look interesting enough to read once in a while.
  • I can host it and customize it and monetize it in thousands of ways. Share the revenues made when I recommend a product, service or even display what music I like and it causes people in my network to purchase something.
  • Helps me manage inbound communication (email, sms, whatever) through proactively knowing who is important to me thanks to my past interactions with them.
    • Give my closest associates more priority than people I don’t know… but don’t BLACK/WHITE list… that’s not granular enough.
    • Give me abilities to dig deep into my inbound messaging… able to deal with information on a relationship-based level.
    • If I’ve got five minutes in the airport to check messages, only tell me what’s most-relevant to me. After I’ve handled those, then it’s OK to share stuff on the next tier of relevance, etc, etc, until it’s all been deal with and triaged, GTD’d, etc.

Whoever comes up with that network, please send me an invitation and I will forward it to everyone in my address book. lol.

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