I have battled against joining social sites consistently since myspace began to be the big thing in junior high. Why do I need a personalized webpage to stalk keep up with my friends? Is AIM, GChat, text messaging just not enough? I reluctantly joined myspace, and I admit, for a while it was fun. After a few months, it was worthless. I was getting friend requests from people who had never met, people had just known their names from chance conversations from high school, or people I could care less to keep up with. I started receiving junk message after junk message with random chain emails, quizzes, pictures, videos, etc. I just didn’t care.
Then came facebook. Facebook was different. It was originally limited to universities, or at least schools with fairly decent standards. This was a mass improvement. There were less ads, there was less seizure inducing pages. It was clean, it was consistent, it was well conceived. Keep the largest group of internet users interacting in a socially addicting situation with small ads that can generate mass revenues. Facebook offered everything I needed: an RSS feed of small updates, pictures space, and contact information for people I wanted to keep up with. It was great. I even dropped the myspace page because it had become obsolete I don’t think I really need to explain to anyone who may ever read this blog what’s happened with Facebook. The expansion to all persons, while I admit it was inevitable, killed my desire to keep up with the site. I still visit it fairly often as it is the only way I can keep up with some of my friends. Their addiction to social websites is just too much. So I post my occasional link, make my occasional comments at my friends’ comments, and check out my news-feed.
Now comes the next social networking site, Twitter. I’m not certain twitter will be able to take over a huge share in the social networking site, but it has created a solid niche. Twitter acts as an RSS feed of individual statuses while also allowing private direct messaging. Basically, it takes Facebook’s status and Inbox, and makes them stand alone without advertisements. Something tells me there has to be a bigger picture related to the site. While it doesn’t appear they are out to datamine user information, it appears quite easy to do. I became a follower of USC head football coach Pete Carroll’s tweet feed (an awesome site for any avid college football fan to read) and within days, USCTrojans.com began to follow my tweet feed. I’ve since blocked them from reading my updates, but it has become apparent they are using Pete’s charisma to learn about their fans. It’s actually a quite ingenious marketing plan.
We’ll see how long my experiment with twitter lasts. I could see it (as well as this blog) disappearing in two to three weeks just due to fading interests or lack of time.