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.
- Facebook – I have separate profiles for blog friends and real friends
- Del.icio.us – bookmarking, blogging
- Last.fm – music discovery, sharing music with friends
- StumbleUpon – voting/sharing
- Digg – voting/sharing
- Reddit – voting/sharing
- WordPress – blogging
- Gmail – email
- Google Code Hosting – hosting software projects
- Yahoo Pipes – creating RSS feed filters
- Userscripts.org – all of my greasemonkey scripts
- 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.
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?”
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