I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Social Networks Overtake Email: Observations

According to Nielsen Online, social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular kinds of online activities. 67% of the world online population are now visiting them and the time they’re spending on them is growing by three times the overall growth rate of the internet. Social networks are now visited more often than personal email is read. Some social networks have grown to such enormous proportions that they rival entire countries in terms of population—if Facebook, for example, was a country, it would be the fifth-most-populated in the world (right between Indonesia and Brazil).

There’s a lot of variety out there in the realm of social network design. Some sites keep a very professional approach (like LinkedIn) while others have a more organic, free-form look (like MySpace). Most sites fall somewhere in between, mixing professionalism with personalization (like Facebook). But what’s the best way to design a social network? What are the elements that make a social network more user-friendly and more attractive to users? Read on to find out.


I can certainly sympathize with what the article reports. I can go two or three days without checking my personal email, but I am checking out my various social networks several times a day...and have taken to giving people my Twitter Address instead of email when they ask for my email address. I tell them that it may be up to a week before I see an email, but I will respond the very same day to DMs on Twitter. (I receive about 100 DM's a day)


If you don't know much about Twitter, The Lost Art of Blogging has a good start up guide for beginners.

Also, I would suggest that you become familiar with hash tags if you want to be anything close to effective in getting your message out to the Twitter Community. The Twitter Fan Wiki is the place to learn about that tool, and you can explore the wiki to find hours of reading material all all things Twitter.


I'm not a real fan of Facebook as a political network. I think it is a clumsy, walled off garden. There is no way for me to ascertain how many people visit my page, watch my videos and I really hate that I can't use HTML in my posts over there. I think it is devoted too much to games, quizzes and becoming fans of causes or politicians like so so many schoolkids picking sides at recess. Over the past year or so, with the flood of old people coming on board, it has morphed into Myspace for seniors. Not a pretty sight. I did, however, create a public account separate from my personal account to share information with the noobs. I keep the two separate and never the 'twain shall they meet...and the only way to get my personal account info is to promise not to post political crap on my wall or suggest friends I don't even know.


I am a real fan of Ning Networks. I belong to over four dozen networks, and have created a dozen myself, most of them private networks focused on limited objectives. I have considered abandoning this blog, or moving it to a Ning Platform, to take advantage of the endless possibilities over there.


When I go to political events, I almost always give the organizers a fake email address (real, but the account mostly goes unchecked for weeks at a time) because I really hate unsolicited email, especially when I have to weed through so much spam and offers of looting millions of dollars from Africa via my bank account.

It is really hard to carry on a conversation or collaborate with a network of people via email because the response threads can be so easily thrown out of whack and vital information can be lost if you don't open every single one...even the ones from idiots who seem to forward more than they contribute, or attack others on the list than they contribute.

These emailers need to look up the word COLLABORATION and burn it into their very soul before they ever hit the send button on their email program again.


It is really telling that most of the high-profile people and groups with the Republican Party seem to spend more time attacking their rivals than they do in seeking out like minded individuals and working with them to build for the future. These people have a poverty mindset in that they believe that politics is a zero sum game, that there can be no new players brought on the field. They waste time trying to tear down other people's character with data about their personal life instead of debating the issues at hand or getting new people involved.

We all lose when that happens.