My Social Networking Spring Cleaning

TwitterThis past weekend I spent quite a bit of time doing some social networking spring cleaning. I use too many services, have too many “friends,” and don’t have good filters to get to the signal I want through all the noise. But that’s ok. Before I get complaining, I realize I should reflect on the fact that all of this social networking stuff didn’t even exist 10 years ago.

And until some entrepreneur (or company) solves the “problem” I’m facing, there are some incomplete solutions out there. For example, I use an app on my G1 phone called “Statusinator” to update Twitter and Facebook at the same time.

I also use FriendFeed to take my Delicious feed (which I have integrated into my browser) and automatically post to Twitter any articles I bookmark / find interesting. (And I use a combination of Google Reader and Techmeme to find/aggregate/organize all the articles coming in from my top 1oo-ish online sources.)

But that’s mostly viewing the situation from the perspective of broadcasting my “noise” in hopes that it’ll be part of someone else’s “signal.” What about a way for me to integrate/automate/filter the social noise/signal from my hundreds of friends across multiple platforms?

As a good friend of mine put it (via a tweet I have to copy and paste below since there’s no easy way to aggregate/automate this conversation I’ve been having everywhere):

Ah. I’m seeing that ff [FriendFeed] only aggs [aggregates] what you broadcast on other sites, not what those sites agg [aggregate] from your friends there. .. this is hard.”

And from another conversation I’m having on TechCrunch (which again, I have to cut and paste here manually, see below). Plus, don’t forget the first comment thread I posted about earlier today. So anyone want to take on the challenge of making the real time conversation easier/aggregated/integrated/automated?

Bob Caswell – April 1st, 2009 at 11:54 am PDT

I’m not sure which site represents me or whoever else better or worse than other sites… BUT, I am getting tired of updating my status/profile/activity on 15 different sites. Any time I find new tools (FriendFeed and certain phone apps come to mind) that let me do something once and have it happen on all my profiles, I get very interested.

But we still have a ways to go before the conversation can be seamless across blogs/comments/Facebook/Twitter/FF/Amazon/Netflix, etc., etc.

David Pitta – April 1st, 2009 at 12:07 pm PDT

Bob – ping.fm is good for this. Send one status and have it update all your sites (or only certain ones).

jack sparrow – April 1st, 2009 at 2:14 pm PDT

God, what all of you became to?

Are you all a global-syndication-news agency that should register with any freaking web application out there?

Seriously, I’d love to learn about reasonable common-sense explanation for why people need profile on each and every social network.

Anyone?

Bob Caswell – April 1st, 2009 at 2:55 pm PDT

Don’t turn this into a false dichotomy with two extremes (one profile vs. one million). The truth is, lots of sites are used for different reasons and have different friends/colleagues on them.

People don’t “need” a profile on any site, but plenty want and use profiles on many sites. For those of us who do, some of us (me, anyway) would love to integrate/aggregate usage to save time.

Bob Caswell – April 1st, 2009 at 3:08 pm PDT

Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look into it [ping.fm]… Now if there were only a service that could use your credentials from all your different profiles to aggregate/automate all your friends’ activities into one location, that’d be nice.

Throw on top of that a way to sort/sift/filter/search across everything by date/site/profile/friend/keyword, etc., and the one stop location could become a reality. As it is with current automation/aggregation, I still have to go to lots of different sites to get all parts of the conversation.

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  • Logan Beaux

    I totally get where you're coming from here. I just want to be able to customize my social media experience fully and completely. Is that so much to ask? :)

    Seriously, though, you're on to a real issue. And since there's a real need to have both compartmentalization and seamlessness at the same time, I gotta believe some smart buggers out there will come up with just the thing.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Here's hoping! I like the way you put it. And don't forget that with the compartmentalization and seamlessness, it has to be super intuitive and easy to setup quickly. At least, in my wishful thinking mind…

  • http://tomcaswell.com tom4cam

    The more you customize, the more it becomes complicated. I don't really care about making the distinction between family, friends, coworkers, etc. — a simple 5-star rating system would be fine with me. I just want the content to bubble up in order of importance to me. Tweets, blog articles, and delicious tags from “5-star” people I am following should always be at the top when I look at incoming content because I may not have time to get to much else. Better yet, why can't it just keep track of my use patterns (which blogs and tweets I read) and adjust accordingly. Rating/classifying stuff gets old, but I would be willing to do it once if there were a clean, consistent widget that would pop up as I added each person to some service. Thoughts?

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Interesting, Logan and I were discussing in a separate thread how recommendation engines still don't work very well (i.e., my friends help me pick movies better than Netflix can). I think the same problem will exist here if you try to jumble everything together and hope the computer can spit back what you really want just based off some previous star ratings.

    But your idea of tracking usage patters is really interesting. It'd be cool if you could have a “usage patter” feed that you could switch to from your “regular” feed, sort of a greatest hits way of looking at the current stream of info.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Interesting, Logan and I were discussing in a separate thread how recommendation engines still don't work very well (i.e., my friends help me pick movies better than Netflix can). I think the same problem will exist here if you try to jumble everything together and hope the computer can spit back what you really want just based off some previous star ratings.

    But your idea of tracking usage patters is really interesting. It'd be cool if you could have a “usage patter” feed that you could switch to from your “regular” feed, sort of a greatest hits way of looking at the current stream of info.

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