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The Master
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- March 2009
Social Networking
   Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:49 pm

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Social Networking

Permanent Linkby The Master on Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:49 pm

I know, I'm like years behind on this stuff! Still, recently I have been exploring social networking sites and thought I would share my impressions of them. So without further ado:

My Space: I can see its appeal...a free little webpage of your own and a way to network with your friends. I also think its clever that bands have successfully used it to gain an audience and even record deals. I don't care for it much personally though. I think it skews quite young, and most of the pages are incredibly gaudy often the point that you can't even read the text. I'm sure the fact that I have a website already lessens its appeal.

Facebook: I located my old college roommate and a friend I had lost touch with that ended up in Brazil (!). That right there pushes Facebook up into the "totally works" category. I like that I have been able to get in touch with a lot of my relatives all over the country. I feel a lot more connected to their lives, which I think is great. What I don't like is the spam from all the little apps and side games. I don't want to take endless personality tests and movie quizzes and what not. I guess that's fine if you enjoy them, I just wish there was a way for me to opt out and block that stuff.

Digg: Again I think my having a website affects my enjoyment of this service. I already have public bookmarks...its called The Resource Network. I think that being able to sort/find bookmarks by tag instead of site name or category is cool, but Firefox offers that now too so you don't need an add on. I also don't like how many buttons Digg added to my browser...not just a toolbar but buttons in the status bar and buttons alongside the Home button too. Rather invasive IMHO, and I have noticed that FF starts slower with it installed. As a news promotion tool it works much like the similar services from Reddit, Propeller, and others where you can vote up news that you like. Over time you notice that certain things always push up and others always push down, with anything political being especially contentious. Tyranny of the Mob as they say, usually its not a good thing. Still, I have found articles I probably never would have seen perusing the listings so its not a total failure.

Diigo: Another bookmarking type service, this one's twist is the ability to leave comments like a sticky note right on the sites you visit. When you visit a site with comments you see little thought bubbles and you can click them to read the comments. One problem is you rarely run into sites with comments...the service would need to take off in a big way to make them very common. Another larger problem, and the one that probably will doom this idea, is that when you do find comments its most often spammers using it as another way to post ads all over the place. A huge let down for what seemed like a good idea.

Stumble Upon: Yes, another bookmarking idea but this time its a learning bookmarker. Enter the categories you are interested in and hit the "stumble" button to be taken to a (sort of) random site someone's favorites about that topic. I've found some really interesting sites with it, and its great for just wandering around the web. The quality of the sites returned depends on the user base and how many of your interest sites have been added, so its a good idea to be generous when selecting categories. It does learn...when you click thumbs up or thumbs down it adjusts how often it shows you that kind of site. I don't really use the channels/friends lists/reviews part of it, but I'm sticking with it for the random site aspect.

Twitter: I didn't get this service at first. Its short little messages, not anywhere near enough to say anything meaningful. Do people really want to hear every random little thought that pops into your head? Then I found out how many sites are using it something like an RSS feed and I found out I love it! Some sites feed it with their actual RSS feed, others use it as a separate update, but either way I get super short bits that are much easier to sort through than a full feed and find myself reading more articles than ever before. There is a danger of overload because some feeds push out tons of information so be selective. As a social service to see what Bob is having for dinner I still think its rather silly, but as a web publishing tool I think its brilliant.

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