For the last six months or so, I’ve been feeling the same way about social, which is essentially analogous to Web 2.0, but more focused on applying social aspects to everything. I’m not alone in this belief; it’s shared by my ‘Lab partners and others (a good read).
This could be a reaction to my early adopter mentality, i.e. things are only cool and fun when they’re new and under-utilized, after people flock to them, I want to move on to the next shiny object. It’s a bit ironic that, ultimately, adoption of the stuff we evangelize drives us away from it, but frankly, that’s what we do as a so-called innovation lab. We chase shiny objects.
Rich told me today he was contemplating deleting his Facebook account. The reasoning is obvious. Too damn noisy and not very useful anymore. I wish him luck, since there are long-standing issues with completely erasing yourself from Facebook. Plus, apparently, they now give you a guilt trip.
The onrush of people to Facebook and Twitter has created an enormous amount of noise, spam and security risks. I haven’t used Facebook much since they were invaded by zombies and vampires well over a year ago, and my Twitter usage has slowed down to occasional retweets and @replies.
Security risks make me increasingly uneasy, especially with Facebook, since it includes so much personal data that can be used to hijack people’s identity. At the same time, if you take a look at Facebook’s privacy settings, securing your account while maintaining a semblance of transparency is an undertaking. I figure it would take me several hours to comb through my list of friends, organize them into lists, and tweak the privacy settings just the way I want them.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, since it’s in Facebook’s interest to encourage people to share. They have reached a critical point where the design of their privacy settings is too complex for the average user, which, I hope, will prompt a redesign. Seems doubtful though.
Twitter’s problem is more noise, since they are, by default, not private at all. Twitter’s success is driving Facebook to be more open, which can only end in tears.
Paul, the king of one-liners, has declared that social is “dead to me”.
I’m feeling the same way with a caveat. We’ve become a product team, which takes away from the lab work, and even though everyone is into social now, I’m looking ahead to the practical applications of the data we’ve collected in two years.
Now that we have a large data set, we can start investigating the next phase of social: reputation and reporting.
Reporting sounds a bit antiseptic, so maybe it’s better described as social analytics, e.g. comparing engagement and participation with connections, tracing the usage pattern of people in different organizations, correlating top-down announcements vs. viral adoption among small teams, tracking geographical patterns, etc.
You know, the interesting stuff beyond pure metrics.
Paul discussed some of this at Defrag last year, and he’s been noodling it for quite some time. From what a few commenters have told me, the consumer web is moving this way too.
Building interesting reports and reputation into the social platform is the next evolution for social. Now, if only we could spend more time on it.
So, are you fed up with Facebook and/or Twitter? If so, why? Or maybe we’re just being annoying early adopter types?
Sound off in the comments.