How to take back control of your own social networks - So this is actually one of my New Year’s resolutions. Yes, I know – complete geek. Happy to read the article though and have just activated the Publicize component within Jetpack.
Rather than write a post on how big (or too big) it has gotten or how it has changed, I just wanted to write some quick notes about what got me thinking and what caught my eye at SXSW this year. Here they are…
This means that marketers will need to rethink how they approach content creation and distribution. They will need to understand how content will be broken down from the source and aggregated elsewhere across the web. This means that brands will be everywhere. And they will be nowhere. They will be surfacing on potentially any website, and they will no longer exist as a whole in any place with meaningful traffic – that does not also have aggregated content from elsewhere. As a concrete example, this means that marketers will need to stop thinking about their Facebook page as a destination – a place to drive traffic to, and instead start thinking about it as a platform for publishing – a place to create content that will surface in many places.
I’ve been saying something similar for a short while in a briefing here and there. Paul Adams says it better and more clearly.
I love Facebook. I love Twitter, Tumblr and Google+. I love that we live in a time that there are tools and platforms that allow us to communicate, share (and sometimes maybe over share) and keep in touch across geographies and in ways never before possible.
Even with all of this love, there are a few things that give me pause about using these platforms. Ultimately, the single most significant thing is that when we use someone else’s platform, we cede control (and in many cases ownership) of not only the data created by our online interactions, but also how our data is used (i.e. our privacy). We make a bargain with the platform owner that if they provide us with a platform that makes it easy to share and connect with our friends that we allow them to own and use our data in ways that are advantageous to them.
This is all well and fine if you are thoughtful in accepting the terms of the deal – namely, that you have no control over the terms of the deal.
When it initially leaked that Yahoo was going to shut down Delicious, it didn’t ask the users for permission. When Facebook makes changes to their default privacy settings, they do so at their own discretion. One of my closest friends, a photographer here in Boston, commented in a recent online discussion that he had over 137,000 images on Flickr – followed immediately by “I f-ing pray they never go out of business or start charging by the pound so to speak!”
For his sake, I hope not either, but he really doesn’t have much say in the matter if they decide to make some changes.
Welcome to My Online House Warming Party
Personally, I’ve made the decision that I am no longer comfortable with the terms of this type of arrangement. I’ve decided that I’m more comfortable owning rather than renting my online participation and interaction (or at least as much of it as I can). For that reason, I spent a little bit of time during my vacation this week making updates and tweaks to my site to where I think it can serve as my primary mechanism and sharing on the Web. I’ve had this blog to share random thoughts for a while, but I’ve set up spaces to share links that I find interesting (mostly work related at this point) as well as any photos I think others might enjoy.
Working in the user experience industry, I am intimately aware that how I desire something should work is not the only factor that will determine its overall success. For me, this site is a way to share in a way that I find enjoyable and a mechanism to interact with my friends and other interesting people. In that vein, I understand that making it easy to connect and engage is extremely important.
Many of my closest friends and connections use Facebook as their primary social platform. For this reason, I’ve created a 2 aldgate dot net page on Facebook that you can subscribe to (or like) that will automatically update and appear in your new stream if you are interested in seeing when I post things on the site. I’ve also made it possible for you to use your Facebook identity to login to and make comments on this site. Most of the links and blog posts will be published on that page while probably many of the photos will be published to my own personal news feed. (Note: I’m also planning on trying to do the same thing for Google+, so if that is your personal social networking platform of choice stay tuned.)
If neither of those are to your liking, then I hope that you will just come, stop by and visit once in a while.
Two Final Thoughts (for now)…
First, I believe that being connected is important. In my effort toward ownership, I’m not planning to shut down or stop using my accounts on Facebook, Twitter or other social platforms. Like I said, I really do love these tools and platforms and how they help us connect and share. I’d love to see projects like Diaspora mature and give us a rich platform that allow us to share and connect while allowing us even greater control, but I’m not sure we are there just yet (but I do think we will be soon).
Second, if you are interested, I don’t think the cost of ownership is all that great. Most of what I am using, WordPress with a bunch of plugins plus ThinkUp, is free. My only real costs have been web hosting (less than seventy-five dollars a year) and domain name registration (less than ten dollars a year). The primary cost has really been a little bit of time to play and figure out how to piece things together (and quite honestly, I don’t really think you need to be all that technical).
If you are interested in knowing more, let me know and I am happy to share.
Facebook and social connectivity: Closer friends | The Economist. - ”According to a recent study by Facebook and the University of Milan, our degrees of separation are apparently decreasing (from the proverbial six). The study indicates that “people were separated from one another by an average of just 4.74 conniptions (down from an average of 5.28 in a study the network conducted in 2008).”