Are you in Linkedbook.. um.. FacedIn?

There appears to be a surge in the number of… hmmm… not sure what they are called so let’s refer to them as ‘meta information website thingies’ which are being adopted by bloggers but which, surprisingly, are really flying above the radar of the masses. That doesn’t sound right. Suffice to say these sites are flipping past my peripheral vision at best. Let me explain.

I’ve been aware of Twitter since just before SXSW (a gathering of geeks which really pushed Twitter forward in a big way), and I’ve been using it sporadically since then. I can understand the appeal but, as I haven’t fully bought into it, it has yet to permeate into my ‘online flow’. Whilst that sounds vaguely rude (or just plain pretentious) it’s probably more telling that the main reason I’ve not “gotten into” Twitter is the lack of a nice, subtle interface. In other words, whether ‘tweeting’ via the website or using any of the 3rd party applications I’ve tried to date, it’s impossible to hide what you are doing. That’s fine at home but, whisper it, I occasionally access the internet for personal reasons whilst at work so it’s very off putting to have all those huge badges flashing up on the screen everytime I decide to mention that, say, we’ve just got a new ‘proper’ coffee machine installed in the canteen (machiatto anyone?).

Ultimately though, Twitter seems to be spreading largely by word of mouth of the indirect kind. A mention here, an example there, and you suddenly realise how many people are using it and wonder “maybe I should look into this Twit thing?”. The really interesting thing is the way these sites propagate, with only a few posts and the sudden appearance of little boxes on some sites. Even then you don’t realise just how widespread it is until you sign up and start using it.

In the same vein, sites like LinkedIn and Facebook seem to be fairly widely adopted but no-one seems to publicise that fact. At least not overtly, which for these services seems a bit odd. Surely the entire point of a networking style site is to, you know, help you network? God I hate that term. I don’t “network”, I maintain contacts, I chat to people at conferences, in mailing lists and blogs. I am not a computer, I will not be assimilated!!

Ahem.. sorry.. where was I?

I’m a member of both LinkedIn and Facebook, and consider them fairly useful. However, like a lot of the “Web 2.0” websites, they depend on you investing some time in maintaining and updating your profiles, manage your links/network and so on. Hence why I’ve not yet “fully leveraged” these sites and my network remains “incomplete”. The more time I spend visiting these sites, the more I’ve come to realise that I may never really use them to their full potential.

That may just because I’m a lazy bugger, a point I’ll happily concede, but it’s also because I struggle to see the advantages of these sites (and I include Twitter in this as well) beyond the obvious and immediate ones, e.g. as a glorified contact list.

One of the main reasons I moved this blog to the current domain was to free up my name domain (gordonmclean.co.uk for those arriving late) to act as a central point of contact. If you know me from a conference or meeting, or see my name in a publication or mailing list, then googling for me should take you there. From that point you can easily contact me, or head to one of my websites.

That’s all I (currently) think I’ll need. Of course I’m not stupid enough to completely rule anything out… so with that in mind, feel free to “add me” if you use either Facebook or LinkedIn. If nothing else, it’ll help me confirm who is using those sites… my gut feel is that they are used by more of you than I realise.

Update: Maybe I should’ve read this first?

16 comments

  1. Another update…

    I saw the Web Worker Daily article today and really enjoyed it. For some more ideas… I ran a group blogging project last month called Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn, and have been maintaining a categorized list of blog posts from dozens of bloggers on various business (and other) cases for using LinkedIn.

    Enjoy!

  2. I find Facebook incredibly irritating, but I can’t put my finger on why. I have briefly reconnected with a few long lost friends on it, but on the whole it just feels so…shallow. It feels as if you’re adding contacts and being added as a contact just to build up contact lists of people you’re probably never going to contact. Maybe I’m just looking at it in the wrong light.

    That said – I still use it, and I’ve added you as a contact. Does that make me a sick, irrational person? Why yes, yes it does.

  3. I’m on Facebook, but I don’t advertise it to blogland because I’m in under my real name, so that I can keep in touch with real life friends who don’t know about the blog.

    However, I’m in the situation now where blogger friends have found me added me as friends and have mentioned blogs and my two worlds are colliding! Scary…

    Facebook is very strange, though. I feel like I might be a bit old for it and I find it very hard to find people. Not a very good stalker tool at all! ;o)

    I’ve given up on Twitter – just couldn’t be arsed with it any more.

  4. I don’t really get Facebook. I had one friend that sent me a link so I checked it out. But in order to see what it was she was linking me to I had to sign up (I hate it when I have to do that). Fine, I signed up. All of the sudden I started getting these messages from people wanting to ‘be my friend’. Now none of these were strangers. They were already friends. And here’s what really anoiyed me (I know I’m spelling that wrong but I’m too lazy to check) these people already have my email and blog address but have been silent for the past 8 months since I moved to Scotland. So now all of the sudden they’re all Hey, how are you? Fine, so now were’re ‘Friends’ on Facebook. And then it just stops there. I get the odd person posting a message on my wall, but wouldn’t it be easier to just go into your email and type out something and hit send rather than logging into Facebook, going to my wall and posting something there? I predict 90% of the people that join will tire of the fad and once again will drop off the face of the earth.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  5. Hi Chris and welcome to Scotland. We have a possibly unique system here which doesn’t involve any of the things mentioned in the blogpost. Basically you go into a thing called a pub, buy a pint, and start talking to people. Sometimes they become your friends, more often, not. Nevertheless, some of my best friends I’ve met that way.

  6. Peter – Chris was at the last blogmeet, were you? 😉

    And I think I fall into the same camp as a lot of you, Facebook does just seem to be about how many people I can get in my list (in a way Twitter is the same).

    So I guess, as I said, it may come down to usage, but i’ve yet to see someone really demonstrate why these sites are more than a glorified contact list.

    And yes, in that respect it’s unfair to group Facebook with LinkedIn (which does seem to be a little more ‘professional’ about things if that makes sense).

    Twitter wise, again it seems to be a fad with few examples of ‘hey that’s smart’ (and those examples are large down to luck anyway).

  7. You’ve not mentioned Myspace. There are four camps in Myspace:

    1. Those that are stupid teenagers who use it to make themselves feel like they’ve loads of friends, harrass/flirt with other friends and make the non-myspacer think it’s just for kids.
    2. People that have products; bands, authors etc. These people seem to do really well out of the whole network site experience. My husband is in a band and they are pretty much going to sell their album (when it’s finished) though their myspace site.
    3. Sex pests and swingers.
    4. People like me, who wanted to blog, didn’t know how. Set up a myspace to do it and then six months down the line realised Blogspot was better, easier and more credible and was sick of perverts messaging her because one of her photos was of her dressed as Princess Leia…

  8. I think Facebook is a bit like blogging for people who don’t want to write much and who are only really interested in talking to existing friends.

    I hadn’t bothered signing up for it as it was just-another-social-software-website, but lots of people I know who don’t do blogs or any of the other social networks have joined, so I have finally signed up.

    For groups of people who have just been scattered across the country (which is why it’s great for groups of fresh graduates) it works really well as a way of staying in touch. It’s more interactive, and finer-grained than a weekly/monthly/whatever “this is what I’ve been up to” email.

    For those of us with blogs, we’ve already built something similar with our networks of blogs, but to participate fully in our network you have to write blog posts, and it’s hard to limit your readership to just your friends.

    At least Facebook is starting to blur the boundaries between the two worlds – it will import your blog entries and post them as notes; and the developers API will hopefully help those of us who would prefer to stay on the social network called “the Internet” to interact with people who live in Facebook.

  9. MisssyM, I didn’t mention MySpace because, as you point out, it’s full of either teenagers, people with something to sell etc etc.

    I think Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn have a different market and appeal.

  10. I had same thing with facebook. Sign up and a zillion people ask me to be their friend. I think it’s more facebook scraping their hotmail address book or something though. Linked in can be pretty useful though, must be said. The recommendations on there are funny…they’re like feedback on ebay…ie they’re never really that genuine as you want the other party to reciprocate. So everyone ends up describing you as if you’re god or something..

    Other things in the mix..smallworld, maybe even plaxo (the latter being handy if, like me, bill gates seems to have a personal vendetta against you and regularly destroys your pc, laptop…everything)?

  11. However if you DO blog on a network site then you get a whole bunch of readers who aren’t necessary fellow bloggers…that’s why I keep my myspace going…for an entirely different audience.

    That and the swinging opportunities!

    (Sorry, just trying to see if I get censored again! I’m trying to cultivate a reputation as being a bit dangerous…seems to work for others…He He!

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