Facebook and MySpace and LinkedIn…oh my!

How connected do we really need to be? If the latest statistics around popular social networking services are to be believed, we need to be connected at all times, to a lot of people, sharing every aspect of our personal lives.
I’ll admit (much to my wife’s chagrin) that I’m often guilty of being too connected. I have a MySpace account to keep in touch with a few old high school classmates, another account on LinkedIn to keep up with people at work, and then there’s that Facebook account that I have. Oh crap, I almost forgot Twitter, because God forbid there might be something I need to share from my mobile phone via SMS.
I’ve received e-mail from friends who don’t even know what in the heck a "facebook" is, but they got an invite from someone, set up an account, and then connected to me. That’s because if you don’t have a presence on these services, then you can’t really participate at all. How useful is that? Is there a lot of value in opening another account that you’re never going to update, just so you can get into the party? It’s a bit like the IM craze a few years back, and it’s getting a little ridiculous.
But let’s not forget where it all began: my Windows Live Space (where you are now). It’s what I’d call my digital "home," and I’ve been updating it semi-regularly for over 2 years now. True, it’s not as slick and sexy as the aforementioned Facebook and MySpace (just wait until Wave 3), but I prefer the simplicity and elegance of Microsoft’s service. It’s integrated with other Windows Live services, including Hotmail, Contacts, Messenger, and SkyDrive (even that weird new FrameIt service). And best of all, anyone can visit and check out my latest blog entries, pictures, and lists with just a simple URL (which happens to be http://gregsedwards.spaces.live.com). No account required. Beauty.
Until someone comes up with the equivalent of Trillian for social networking, I’ll probably keep those other accounts, but they’re all just gonna point back here. If you want to know what’s on my mind, you’ll have to come to me. Smile
If I want to stay "in the loop" with my friends’ updates, I much prefer RSS (really simple syndication), which gives me lots of control. Using RSS subscriptions, I can receive only the updates that I want in one central aggregator (my aggregator of choice is the one that’s built into IE7). Most social networking services offer some degree of RSS integration (look for the RSS icon icon somewhere on the page or in the IE7 toolbar).
– Greg

5 Replies to “Facebook and MySpace and LinkedIn…oh my!”

  1. I agree that one can get too involved in these various services. Funnily enough, someone from MSN blogged that they’d be linking their news service to Twitter and seemingly invited all readers to link in and "follow" them. I did it but realised later on that I need not have done as the news is right in front of me all the time, anyway! I’ll keep it though, just to ensure I don’t miss the news but for general "soapboxing" and chatting with everyone, the Live service does it all and is simplicity itself, making use of it a real pleasure.


  2. Ha. I wrote this one before wave 3 was launched. Windows Live certainly has come to look more and more like Facebook since then. Perhaps the most annoying side-effect of the Web Activities in the new Windows Live is Twitter. Someone adds a new blog post, which updates my "What’s New" feed, then they tweet about it to all their Twitter followers, so guess what? I get another update via "What’s New." Groan. Twitter is about one step up from sending mass e-mail. RSS subscriptions provide a far better way to let your audience knows what you’re doing.


  3. Yeah, Greg. I know you did. I could tell from what was written. Talking of updates, I’m still learning a lot of Live and decided I wanted to edit the Guestbook greeting. Found out I’d made a comment by mistake and it got put in my updates! "Uurrr – I don’t want that in there" I thought, and promptly deleted (or removed) that particular update. Other than silly things like that, "Live" is by far the most simple and economical service to use and it all joins up which is really very nice! Can’t stand having to wade through a series of "Help" commands just to get something working. Live almost does it for me. Lovely stuff:-)


  4. I’m smiling as I re-read this post from late 2008. My, my, my…how things have changed. I now regularly use Facebook and Twitter, because so many of my real-world friends and family have adopted those services. A lot of it still holds true, though. I don’t see a ton of value in creating accounts that you’re never gonna use, just so you can follow people here or there. That’s the beauty of FriendFeed and WL Web Activities, which didn’t even exist when I wrote this. Now I have so many Web Activities wired up that I’m in danger of updating myself into oblivion. It’s great that Windows Live has retained a public-facing option for your profile and space.I’ll admit that I’ve learned a thing or two about social networking over the past year, thanks in large part to Windows Live Groups, and the overall explosion of the social universe into the mainstream.


  5. @Greg, you know we’re always interested in what you’re having for lunch <tongue in cheek>. Seriously, keep the updates coming.


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