Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Network Overload

The total plethora of different flavors of social networking have my head spinning.  I mean, you've got Instagram.  What's that?  You take a pic, share it, comment on it.  OK, so how's that different from Facebook or Twitter?  And it seems all the other things that have popped up are some quirky flavor of, basically, texting.

So, I ask you - the general readership.  What do we need?  What do I use?  Facebook, Twitter (kind of), LinkedIn, and Google Plus (kind of).
  • Facebook - why do I use it?  Because that's where everyone is.  Think Myspace, but nowadays.  (Or maybe Myspace is a dated reference - who uses that anymore?) I would be perfectly happy to drop it completely, but most everyone has a FB account.
  • Twitter - I don't use it, but I do "cc" tweets via a multi-network publishing service.  Why?  Because I'm a tech geek, so I must be on twitter.  I do get Twitter's advantages, its value proposition if you will.  But it's not for me.
  • LinkedIn - it's a business Facebook.  That works.  Everyone is on it, so I'm on it.
  • Google Plus - Like Twitter, I really don't use it.  But I do.  It's the platform I'd like to use instead of Facebook, but let's face it, not everyone's on it.  But it's too important to ignore.
  • Microsoft Skype - I use Skype for voice/video, so it has a chat feature that is convenient at times.
  • Microsoft Lync / Messenger / Communicator (whatever you want to call it), we use it at work.  That's it.
  • iMessage - I use heavily, since a LOT of people have Apple products.
  • SMS - I use for mobile texting (and from my PC)
Then, we have sooooo many others who seem to be popular, seem to be doing well (as businesses, as startups), but where I totally fail to see any value they bring, or any hope of lasting beyond the whim of the moment.  Tell me I'm wrong, but I just don't get it.

Snap Chat - Instagram that disappears seconds after you see it.  So?
Fire Chat - some loopy chat program that links up by daisy chaining nearby so you don't have to have cellular, WiFi, or Bluetooth, but at least one, to be able to "tweet" anywhere in the world.
Salesforce - yeah, there's a chat in Salesforce.  Why??  Seriously, like we don't have anything else?
Yammer - some LinkedIn wannabe.

So, there is a lot of yammer out there - a lot of noise.  But what value is it bringing our lives?  Twitter, it seems, is the way to disseminate news - especially from suppressive societies.  Facebook is the premier socialization network, with Google Plus a runner up.  And LinkedIn is the premier business network.  Other than that, what else should there be?

Now I don't want to suggest that we stifle innovation, or that we close off any other possibilities.  However, how much can we really take?  What fulfills actual need?  Do we really need "After School" to be abused and contribute to anonymous threats, intimidation, and bullying?  I leave it to you, the using public, to decide.  How many networks do we need to be in?  Should we be in?  To me, it seems totally crazy to get embroiled in so many that I spend my real life digitally interacting instead of dealing with the people important in my life, who are sitting right next to me at the table or on the couch.  And I find it disgusting and reprehensible to have people over for a holiday celebration, and have them be "networking" on their mobile devices.  I'm thinking, check the mobile devices in at the door ("the Sheriff don't allow no weapons on this here premises, leave your guns at the door!").

Thoughts?  Criticism?  Evangelizing for a little-known networking platform?  Let me know.

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