Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Doing it wrong?

Is it possible to do it wrong? Social networking and social media that is. Is it possible that the users can do it wrong when using these tools? What constitutes wrong?



That's the key question here. There are grumblings among some of the more serious users about how others are 'doing it wrong.' The idea being incorrect and unintended uses of social networking tools, e.g. Twitter, Utterz, Facebook.



Several types of complaints are listed in the wrong category. The most prominent complaint is that of intended use. In example, several users feel that the purpose of Twitter is what its original statement of intent was, to show a person's status. Yes, the original idea was that a user and his friends would all join and could check the Twitter stream for the latest status of their friends. Twitter usage today can frequently be found to be used as a mircoblog and for multichannel communication. Users are no longer just blindly posting their status, such as Away, Out shopping, etc, but are sending messages directly targetted at other users, often carrying on conversation with several other Twitter users at the same time. Likewise, users are posting messages on a regular basis with no specific listeners intended that are very short blog style entries. They may or may not be looking for replies.



Another way that users are perceived to be using social networking wrong is the content type, even beyond the conversational style. Many early adopters were in technical fields or communications or both. These types of users frequently used Twitter and Facebook to network with business associates and acquantances, or like minded tech heads. Robert Scoble, http://scobleizer.com/, claims that Facebook is his contact list these days. HIs contact list on Facebook is a who's-who list of CEOs, tech gurus, and more. Today however, not only are people adding their own who's-who, but they are growing their network by leaps and bounds by adding contacts that are contacts of their contacts. (say that three times fast) As an example, I've had numerous folks add me as a contact that are family members of contacts I've made. The friends list just keeps growing. Few of these new contacts in your or my list will end up being in our fields, related fields, or even vaguely along those lines.



So aside from the above being right or wrong uses and usage styles, just how did these come to be common on those networks? One word: Access



Access to these networks is the key. Just like the Internet used to be difficult and complex to get connected to, so were these social networks. The initial barrier for entry was just out of reach of the non geeks. Today however, online social networks and the creation of social media have extremely low barriers. They've become tools of the people. Not just specific people, but anyone with connectivity can participate. Who could have imagined social networks like Utterz, where anyone with a cell phone can network. Or Seesmic, where anyone with even the cheapest video recording camera can do video blogging.



The tools have become the tools we use everyday and those of certain age have grown up using their entire lives. My son and his friends all have cell phones. He picked up on Utterz the day he checked out the website. Some of my own contacts are now blogging thanks to Twitter and Utterz, where'd they'd barely heard of social networks months ago.



So is there a right or wrong way or reason to use Twitter, or Utterz, or Facebook? Is it better to record a video blog on a topic or participate in back and forth video conversations? Is one way and topical better than multichannel and free flowing? That's for each user to decide for themselves. That's the joy of social networks; each person can decide for themselves how to participate and what to tune into.



How are you using your social networks?

Mobile post sent by tojosan using Utterz Replies.


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