There’s been a lot of movement in social networks lately. Google has been expanding its Google+ project, trying to get closer to Facebook. Facebook has responded and incorporated a lot of the Google+ functionality, putting its Lists more in the foreground, thereby mimicking Google’s Circles architecture. Twitter is, well, still being Twitter.
I’ve been cross-posting a fair amount lately, and in the past week it’s unclear to me as to what my best strategy is. I don’t post in Google+ because Google still has Buzz; and I feed all my posts from here into Buzz, which makes it silly to post AGAIN into G+.
Facebook is getting smarter and slicker, though in the process I am starting to trust them less with my information. My click-through rates for both seem to be slim on the whole, too.
Twitter is still there, though I feel it’s less social in some ways since it depends more and more on external content. That the Twitter website is including more data into their own display pages is one indication of this lack. Promoted tweets are coming into my stream more frequently, too, which seems an act of desperation.
Maybe it’s just me, but the other trend I’m seeing in my networks is that there are certain patterns taking hold in who uses what. I know friend X is generally on service X, but not so much on Y and X. There don’t seem to be general rules or reasons for any of it; it’s just a natural separation eked out by an overload of too many mostly similar options. I’m not saying that’s bad, but I do look back to when everyone would just email each other and my Internet life seemed a lot more, connected.
Furthermore, my prior life in IRC channels blow all of these modern sites away, in terms of interactions and communication. I would almost always be in at least two channels of twenty people each, both of which had a fairly constant stream of chatter, links, and then private communications. Even the Facebook ticker is quiet compared to IRC.
Fatigue was the hip word for this phenomenon a year or so ago, though I think it’s at a new stage now: it’s all stratified and separated. If we’re connected, it’s often by the news story of the day.
I’m not saying it’s all doom and gloom; I am saying that we’re at a point where the war between Google and Facebook has stepped up a notch, and I’m already seeing some cracks in my networks because of it. As a result, I feel like I’m hearing from less of my friends rather than more, and that there’s something to be said for engineering common and open protocols for communication.