// Internet Duct Tape

Be My Friend (on social network sites)

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand (or *gasp* you aren’t obsessed with Internet culture), then you’ve noticed that we’re seeing more and more web service startups over the past few years. Last year I flamed the Bubble 2.0 soundly in “Web Too.Many.” Earlier this year I tried to get an idea of what websites people actually use by starting the What’s Your Web 2.0? meme.I think I’m past breaking when it comes to my attention span and the number of services that I use. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some I heartily recommend. If you use some of these services as well, then please go ahead and “friend” me. And yes, there is a Facebook account in the list.


Software Hosting


  • Twitter – sharing, republishing
  • Tumblr – aggregating my online presence
  • Jaiku – sharing, republishing


These are sites that I used to use often, but I’ve given up on:

  • MyBlogLog – too much spam
  • Flickr – it’s easier to share photos with friends on Facebook
  • RottenTomatoes – it’s easier to share movie reviews with friends on Facebook
  • Technorati – never indexes me properly
  • Blogcritics – got some books, but they aren’t a very good source of traffic
  • LinkedIn – until the next time I’m looking for work
  • … more than I can possibly remember.

What got me thinking about this is trying out Pownce for the first time and seeing how horrible it is at re-discovering my friends.

I just sent out some invites to Kevin Rose’s Pownce to my FeedBurner subscribers. (Thanks for hooking me up, Adam)

Pownce First Impression

I’ve seen other complaints that the biggest problem of Pownce is “what do I do with it?” It’s probably the most powerful web-based instant messaging client out there.

I was very surprised that they Pownce doesn’t have an “import contacts from address book” feature. That is rapidly becoming the only way to easily import the list of your friends from one web app to another. I was trying out Blue Swarm the other day and they are using a very slick widget from Plaxo that does easy address book imports. All web startups should use this, since email address contacts are the only universal data format for identifying your friends on the web.

This is a perfect example of why the Facebook application experience is so powerful… signing up and maintaining a user account is the major barrier that prevents most web startups from gaining a massive user base. “Social” web sites have an even bigger barrier in that you have to move or re-find your network. Facebook apps allow for any application to have the same user account and social network.

Obviously I think it would be pretty awesome if that Plaxo contact importer also supported Facebook as well as Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, and Yahoo.

What Others Have to Say

Scoble: “I see many of the same people in my friends list on Twitter, Jaiku, Facebook, and now Pownce. Pownce is growing faster than the other ones right now, though. 728 people have already added me on Pownce. I can’t take many more social networks.

Memoirs of a Bystander: “My question is this: Is there any value actually garnered from adding an obscenely large amount of random people as your friend on various social sites? Honestly, if a social networking site it meant to enhance you life through discovery of new interests, music, recommendations, etc…, is that easily done by wading through thousands of people?”

Mashable: “And it is this: on Pownce, you can send a message, or a file, or a song, or an event, to one person; or three of your friends; or only your family; or everyone.”

SocialHam: “Now more than ever Email seems to becoming a dead medium so can micro blogging sites fill in the gaps?”

JetPacked: “Can’t decide between pownce and twitter? This should help. Here’s how to post your pownces to twitter.”

Daily Grumble: “Social networking is a very difficult area for a new service to break into. How on earth are you going to persuade users of other, more established social networks to come to your service?”

Greg Verdino: “Are social media mavens living inside a bubble of our own making, artificially inflating the impact that most of these nascent technologies are having on the population in general, and ultimately getting our companies and our clients riled up over something that will, over time, turn out to be, well um, nothing?”

17 Responses

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  1. Webomatica said, on July 10, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Your weariness of social networking sites rings true. I feel motivated to try out new services but after the initial interest I am honestly only using 2 – 3 sites with any regularity. Right now its Twitter, MyBlogLog and a little Stumbleupon. I even notice I visit Digg almost never to comment – I just check out the top stories and that’s it.

    You do spurr me to pay attention to an unmaintained Facebook account however…

  2. engtech said, on July 10, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Facebook has had massive adoption in Canada, which is part of what spurred me on. For most of my friends it is the number 1 way to contact them.

    I was talking to one of my co-op students about it and he mentioned that he swore off of it a few years ago because of negative experiences he’s had with privacy.

    So I’m being responsible about it. I separate my blog account from my personal account, and even on my personal account I don’t do many wall posts and I don’t allow “non-friends” access to photos.

  3. […] decree that BlueSwarm is amazing…very well put together. I wish them the best of luck.” InternetDuctTape.com “I was trying out Blue Swarm the other day and they are using a very slick widget from Plaxo […]

  4. luca said, on July 10, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Hey, I recommend to try Hictu! out. Hictu is an evolution of services like twitter, where you can post audio and video messages too. This opens new scenarios not possible with Twitter or Jaiku. Take a look, I’d appreciate your comments.


  5. engtech said, on July 10, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    I should probably make a claimID profile to track these.

  6. Gordon R. Vaughan said, on July 10, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    I think we’ll keep seeing new social networking sites until somebody gets it right. Social networking is really a form of search. There’s a great value to connecting with the right people, if you can find them, but that’s still not easy with people on so many different sites, and for different reasons/interests.

    I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see just a few “global” networks like Facebook survive, along with bunches of very specialized networks, so maybe that $40M investment in Ning this week wasn’t a bad idea.

    BTW, I haven’t tried Ning yet, and would like to hear about others’ experiences with it.

  7. adam said, on July 10, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    i kinda feel like pownce launched too soon. there are another half dozen features after the lack of a contact importer that are baffling in their absense. and without an API, nobody’s going to do it for them.

    they do have some damn nice default themes, though.

  8. engtech said, on July 10, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    I played around with Ning a little bit today. Ning is amazingly not user friendly.

    One of the few sites I’ve seen that gets the “first time user” experience dead-on is http://geni.com

    With ning you’re filling out a million things the first time you create a site, plus setting options that are permanent and cannot be changed. Plus once I was done I was kinda “what do I do with it?”

  9. engtech said, on July 10, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    they do have some damn nice default themes, though.

    That’s something I appreciate more and more.

  10. Terinea Weblog said, on July 11, 2007 at 5:36 am

    I think I’ll keep my Flickr account because that way if Facebook declines I don’t have to upload my photo again to another social network.

  11. David Olinsky said, on July 12, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    First, thanks for the pownce invite :) So this guy – http://pownce.com/peter/ – has 2710 ‘friends’….and his ‘notes’ section is a constant flurry of random posts by the horde at large. Items don’t last on his front page for more than 5-6 minutes before they’re bumped off. I fail to find any novelty or value in this barrage of information (I use that term lightly).

    A tool is just a tool. It can just as easily be abused as it can be purposeful.

    (If you couldn’t guess by now, I’m also not a really big fan of Twitter for the same reason. I could care less if IE is someone’s bitch. http://twitter.com/alexkingorg/statuses/145954702 ) Instead of these tools filling our lives with pertinent and meaningful information, we’re being sucked into a melting pot of social distraction, not social interaction.

  12. engtech said, on July 12, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    @David: so very true. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to swear off of them entirely… but I find that the ones that aren’t immediately useful to me definitely don’t last on my radar.

    Out of all of them I think del.icio.us is the one I use the most.

  13. […] aside, I use around twelve different online user accounts over the course of a week, and many more irregularly. When it comes to those dusty accounts I often […]

  14. […] aside, I use around twelve different online user accounts over the course of a week, and many more irregularly. When it comes to those dusty accounts I often […]

  15. syahidali said, on December 01, 2007 at 8:16 am

    @ David Olinsky – That’s Social Network Abuse 2.0.

  16. […] said before that the average person can only handle up to six social web app sites, and I’m finding that Friend Feed makes it easier for me to consolidate that all to one site […]

  17. Onwuzulike said, on September 04, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I want to make friends all over the world.
    I also want to have bussiness partiners.

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