Social Networking Overload

The onslaught of invitations for social networks is really starting to get to me. My friends have joined a variety of different trust, social, content sharing networks. They pick whatever ones they think work best for them. The problem is that I don’t want to join all of them to keep up with them.

Worse than that, I generally don’t want to share all my social activities with everyone I’ve ever met, even on one social network. Maybe that makes me weird, but I don’t tink clients I do business with, need to see pictures from a party I’ve thrown.Maybe only my family should see pictures of my father in the hospital. No social network I’ve joined (and has enough of my connections to be useful) let’s me control what type of contact the person is and easily give them different access rights.

The reality is that I have a real collection of contacts on Linked-In. I’ve found it useful for keeping track of where people I know are currently working and it gives me their current email address so I can reach them. I don’t tend to long on to Linked-In very regularly. Basically I go there when I’m looking up a contact, when someone I know sends me an invitation, and every once in a while to look for new contacts I might have missed. Of course, it’s easier to let them come to me, than it is to chase them down.

All the interest in Facebook got me to join that as well. Now I get a duplicate set of friend requests. Then I also get a ton of requests to be a vampire, ninja, warewolf, race car, etc. Those are big time wasters. All the fun boards etc seem to show is silly content.  My front page has gotten so huge with everyone’s updates that it isn’t really managable. I read today that Facebook is coming up with a new interface, but I think that misses the point. I’m not sure organizing the junk is really worth it.

Rather than just bitching, what do I want? Well I think linked-in basically works. It stays out of my way. It has useful information I can reference. It isn’t too hard to deal with the updates. I think we need a good single sign on system so I don’t have to register with every service out there. Instead I use my single sign on, and your service sets up my account automatically the first time I try to use it. Single sign on also lets me create one friend network. Now when I connect to a new service it knows who my friends are and connects them up autoatically according to a user preference. With those changes, everything gets simpler and more useful for the user. Then my final request would be for services to do a small number of things really well, instead of trying to be the wrapper around everything. Then I can decide what features I want to use, and all my friends can see my content without having to join. Personally, I’d probably stick to a few things like a blog and photo/video sharing, but that’s my choice. if you want to play all the Facebook games, then you can join that too.

I think that would make the world of social networking much easier to deal with, and more flexible. It does go against the money flow. Getting everyone locked in to one service that all your friends are on, is really about extracting the dollars. My suggestion would spread the cash around, so developers won’t like that as much.

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