I know I’m not the only one here who’s having a moment of social networking overload.
I got my arse on Twitter because everyone told me life was not worth living without it… I think I’ve tweeted about three times in this past week, and the most exciting thing I had to share was that I’d seen Maureen Lipman on the Northern Line and that a pigeon had shat on me. Not exactly earth shattering stuff.
Then I got me a Facebook profile because, well, all the other cool kids were doing it and it’s hard to measure the possible impact of something if you don’t experience it yourself. From the first, Facebook has baffled me, especially at the beginning when I had no friends *sob* Since then, people have found me and asked to be my friend. If I have a passing acquaintance (real world or online) with them then I’ve most likely agreed to their request.
I have enjoyed Facebook to a degree, but I’m still on the fence about it and can happily go for days forgetting to check my profile. The stalker element appeals somewhat ghoulishly to me but that works the other way too and I’ve felt more than a little stiffled over what I feel comfortable ‘posting’ there, knowing people from all walks of my life can see. It’s bad enough having the RLO from work reading, but to have old school friends privy as well?!
And then we come to the latest on the scene, Pownce (and was there ever a word more treacherous to a mildly dyslexic British girl?) The buzz about Pownce has been just silly, especially around 9rules. Even those who have no idea what it’s for are talking about it.
Here it goes again. Yet another social networking tool that I’m going to have to give a try because if I don’t, I’m not going to understand half the conversations the people around me are having.
I didn’t ask for a Pownce invite exactly, but one landed in my inbox (thank you Tammie ) and it would have been rude not to accept it. So now I have the grand total of… three friends on Pownce. I could have more because I know the names of a good forty or so more, but – and here we get to my main problem with social networks, both on and offline – I hate to go up to people. My MO is to wait for people to come up to me. Reticent to the point of ridiculousness I will admit it, but it’s the way I’m wired.
Plus, I still don’t know what Pownce is for, any more than I can really see the place in my life for Twitter or to a certain extent Facebook. When I want to tell people about things, I post them here on Bright Meadow. I have Flickr for my pictures. I have email, IM and a mobile for the people I want to talk to. Why do I need more? Why do I have to spread myself across multiple sites?
I liked Twitter when I was in London because I could blog to a certain extent through SMS from my mobile. The problem of having a laptop where the battery is buggered and phone that lacks even a basic web interface is that when away from my computer, I’m cut off from the net… Most of the time, no big problem, but every now and then it would be nice not to have to wait to share stuff. Twitter isn’t really the solution though – a way to interface easily with my wp-admin panel for Bright Meadow on the other hand… Sweet thought.
Facebook I think I’m starting to get to grips with, or at least find ways it fits into my life.
I like how I can watch people’s statuses change – this takes care of the only interesting thing about Twitter, really.
I can link to my Flickr pictures on my profile.
I can tweet to Twitter on the rare occasions I feel like it from within Facebook, though the refresh rate is a little laggy at times.
I can import my blog posts to my profile – in theory at any rate. Facebook keeps choking on my rss feed, refusing to update.
I can connect to my friends and friends-of-friends, sending them mail easily from within the site.
It’s got a birthday notification tool – useful. That only shows the day before… not so useful.
I have a ‘wall’ people can leave embarrassing drunk messages on.
But to view any of this activity, I have to go to the site itself. I get emails saying “someone’s written on your wall”, or “someone sent you a message” and I have to go to the site to view the message. I can understand why it does this, but it does bug me some when I’m at work, receive the notification, but can’t see what it is till I get home because work have banned Facebook.
I’ve never really gotten into the groups thing on Facebook. Oh, I’ve joined a few but never actually participated. I don’t as a rule write on friend’s walls because the things I have to say are normally private. So Facebook fits into my life better than Twitter, but it’s still a slightly strained relationship.
And as for Pownce, there I really don’t know where I stand. I want to give it a try before I consign it to the long list of services signed up for and never used again, but right now I really can’t see how it fits in with things. More importantly, I just keep forgetting to sign into the website. Yes, I downloaded the desktop application which is, I admit, as pretty to look at as the rest of the site, but it’s not gelling for me. Give me an RSS feed at least.
I don’t know what I want, I think that’s the problem. I know there’s some mythic application or site out there which will have me swinging from the chandeliers in girlish glee, but I couldn’t tell you what I wanted that site to do if you promised me a date with the latest favourite RLO.
I know integration with Bright Meadow would be key, as would seamless integration with Flickr. Finding friends would be easy too, either through real name or their web-aliases. Oh, and you wouldn’t force my screenname to be more than four characters. (If I could reserve ‘Cas’ and ‘Bright Meadow’ on every webservice in existence now and in the future, I would be a happy, happy bunny). There would be easy ways to assign people levels of permissions and RSS feeds for everything imaginable. I could, if I wanted, view messages people had sent me within the site on some other medium – email, at a suggestion? Perhaps most importantly, I could upload content from a variety of means, including SMS and email. There might be a sweet desktop application that was as straightforward to use and as effective as Skitch is for Flickr.
More than that, your guess is as good as mine. I know I want to stop spreading myself across multiple sites. I only have so much attention and time to spare. There are so many things that I’m already letting pass me by because I can’t fit them into my life – Last.fm, Pandora, podcasts. All things on paper you’d think I would love. LinkedIn, Joost… You name it, the chances are I’ve looked at it and thrown up my hands in despair. Perhaps I’m not as social a person as I thought.
This is me throwing my hands up and admitting I’m defeated. I’m not sure I can do it any more. I can’t cope with more than 300 RSS feeds. I think I’m maxing out the number of Flickr contacts I’m happy with. And I don’t think there’s room in my life for yet another social networking site. If nothing else, I’m growing tired with the constant rounds of “Oooh! Look at this sexy new site that can do everything include make you a three course dinner!” followed by everyone and their dog signing up, then a few weeks of frenzied activity, before it all dies a death as everyone migrates to the next best thing since bread came sliced.
That’s not how I act – like in all parts of my life, it takes a lot to get me involved, but once I am, I’m hooked for good. I’m just not fickle that way.
The more I think about it, the more I think I’ve got my home on the web – Bright Meadow. Flickr does me for images. Facebook does me for the slightly more real-world connection to people. And 9rules does me for when I want to be more social… Why do I keep thinking I need more?