FaceBook Versus Everything Else
FaceBook Versus Everything Else
FaceBook is the latest in line. There are only so many I can try before I end up spending all my time online sampling social networks, only to determine that none of them really solves the long-term sustainable problem I'd like a social network to solve.
No, not even FaceBook, despite its growing user-based and great name. But do those on FaceBook even think of it that way? Or do they merely like spending 24/7 glued to their screen to learn about what a person they may have met 10 times ate for lunch?
I have more contacts than most, yet like everyone else, want to keep in touch with and tabs on people I care about as well as another sub-set of professional contacts I only want periodic updates from. None of the social networks do that task well enough, yet. Despite the fact that I may be the 'ultimate' customer for services like Plaxo, I'm not a willing participant.
I have a life in the real world and that's where I primarily want to play, YET if technology can save me time and bring me closer to folks I have had heartfelt times with around the world in a way that is 'really connected,' I'm in. In other words, superficial updates and conversations won't keep me or anyone else satisfied for long.
I'm a little tainted given that I live in Silicon Valley. Those who write about these services often should really dislose that bias in large bold capital letters. Why? You become insular living here even if you promise not to. It's unavoidable. It's inevitable. It's human. You can't escape.
I get that and agree with Walt Mossberg when I asked him awhile back why not temporarily move here during the latest tech surge? Distance is necessary was the bottom line and I agree. So I try to maintain that, but its hard when so many in my industry think Twitter is better than sex.
So I didn't get sucked into Twitter despite trying it and I said I'd never try FaceBook, yet when the word on the street got out that it was no longer for kids or tweens and that word came from a few trusted sources, I had no choice. It's how it is in Silicon Valley.
As you'll see from my blog entry less than two weeks ago, I'm now in. In less than two weeks, I have nearly 500 so-called friends, a far cry from my nearly 2,000 contacts on LinkedIn. Rule of thumb: I have met every person I link to, add or invite, yet how close are all of these people really?
With LinkedIn, I'm a "LinkedIn Gatekeeper," meaning people reach out to me for connections not the other way around. If I need a favor or intro, I'm likely to just pick up the phone or shoot off a personal email. Yet, I keep thinking that perhaps it could be useful someday if I changed careers or launched a worldwide campaign. Despite the emails asking to 'link-in,' it hasn't been intrusive enough for me to say 'no more.'
On FaceBook, I find the status updates amusing and interesting. Since I know everyone on my list and these updates are mere one-liners, its like reading a summarized holiday card every day. If it only takes me five minutes every couple of days and never more than that, I may continue to browse.
If my time online on yet another social network continues to increase, I'll throw my hands up like so many others are starting to do and say ATTENTION AND INFORMATION OVERLOAD - no more, no more, no more.
Here's a guess at will happen in the next 3-6 months. I may decide to scale back and remove people from my list, narrowing it down to perhaps 100 which is something I'll likely opt not to do on LinkedIn because of the longer-term professional value. They serve different needs. LinkedIn is purely professional and about deal-making, employment, new gigs, helping biz friends out -- at least that's the way I use it.
With FaceBook, I find seeing people's sense of humor, writing style, and lifestyle over time compelling and addictive. Simple, short, brief. Who really has time for more than that?
Essentially, you need to ask yourself, how much time do I want to spend daily, weekly, monthly on a social network and what do I want that network to GIVE ME? Second, what can I give back that will add value to people I care about using this online vehicle?
If I edit my existing list or create a much much smaller list of top-friends, then it may be a useful tool to keep closer tabs on people I've met over the years in multiple countries, companies and gigs I want to die remembering. This is a much smaller list than the near 2,000 people in My LinkedIn, or 15,000+ in my personal database I may have shaken hands with once or twice or shared a five minute story with. Why not focus on those who have touched your life in a way that shatters the sand?
My advice. Think about who in your life has shattered your sand. Rocked your life. Energized your soul. Add them to ONE, maybe TWO social networks and be present there, rather than try to sample every and any new network that gets thrown your way.
FaceBook may be around for the long haul, but don't bet on that. Spend time on the one that solves your biggest pain-point, gives you what you need (and no more -- additional features, clutter and noise only detract from the value), and cast your vote there.