Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#whowhatwherenow?

Google+ has now begun to establish itself as ‘Yet Another Inbox’ (YAIB) to be checked. It seems that every new Internet service establishes an onus on its users now to periodically devote time to checking for messages within the service. With the subsequent related risk of users then seeming to be standoffish for not responding to those messages.

Your number of inboxes will depend on your level of social media engagement. My own list presently includes Facebook, Twitter, Path, LinkedIn, Instagram, and still occasionally Flickr.

Although all of the various players would aspire to producing ‘One Social Network To Rule Them All’, I doubt that is feasible, and surely not desirable. So we can probably take it for now that our social graphs are not going to limit themselves to just one social network. And each of these networks creates a demand on our finite reserves of time.

Working from the basis that each of us wants to make best use of our social networks without getting drawn into a black hole of distraction and lost productivity. What then is our optimal strategy for managing all of our various social inboxes? A starting point is to think about each social network and what you intend to use it for. Who are you communicating with on each platform and for what purposes?

For example, it is easy to ring-fence LinkedIn as my online hub for career-related networking. There is the least amount of overlap between my LinkedIn connections and my other social networks. Messages within LinkedIn are invariably business-related. At this stage it is too early to say whether or not Google+ will enroach on business networking, but it is not improbable either.

The alternate approach is not to daisy-chain your social networks and to keep everything in separate  silos. Then all of the comments remain united within their own walled gardens. The downside of this approach is that only subsets of your total audience see your content on each of your unlinked networks. For instance, far more people see my Instagram photographs replicated on Facebook than on the native app. The comments on my Instagram photos are therefore split between both networks. The mandatory setting on Google+ is that no cross-posting is permitted from other services. Which is a valid stance for them to take, given the manner in which their Google Buzz product became simply a conduit for cross-posted tweets and never achieved a viable purpose of it own.