Ben posts about the point of twitter:
As far as I can tell, Twitter is a flakier, crappier knockoff of Facebook, that has even less monetization potential than Facebook.
Meanwhile, identi.ca is an open source knock-off of twitter, FriendFeed is a knockoff of Facebook, LinkedIn is knocking-off a little bit of both of them, everything’s getting comments and tags and automatic recommendations, and everyone and their lolcat is starting up their own social network of some sort or another. It’s all very confusing. Anyway, as a snapshot in time, the social media thingies I’m on at the moment:
- blogging — almost finished my fifth year of irregular blogging; now with comments enabled, and using email-address based gravtars so people can have an identity while commenting. Still like it.
- microblogging — have accounts on twitter and identi.ca under the userid “ajtowns”, with the twitter feed syndicated into the sidebar of my blog. Mostly used for trivial techy comments or link sharing — things too banal or already known, or just not fleshed out enough, to be worth blogging. The two accounts are hooked up via ping.fm, so they mostly get the same content. I’ve got both because twitter’s popular in general, and identi.ca’s the “alternative” version for the open source crowd, and the easiest way to follow other people’s comments via those services is if you’re signed up.
- google reader — in practice I mostly just use this to read other blogs, but I occassionally use the “share” button that shares entries with friends in my (fairly minimal) google contact list. Not really convenient, since it’s a nuisance to share random webpage that you get to by following links, so I’m probably switching to tweeting interesting tech things instead
- facebook — good for connecting up with non-tech friends and procrastination. Some (but not all) of my techy friends link this with their microblog accounts, so I get the same updates there and here, and any responses/comments they get then get further split. Don’t much like that, hope someone will fix it. Also the only way I ever know anyone’s birthday.
- youtube — also procrastination
- linkedin — really good for figuring out who some tech person is, haven’t tried
- stackoverflow — seems to be better than IRC and forums for getting useful answers to programming questions atm, and answering programming questions is kinda fun too
Having one or more social media accounts seems to be (becoming) a significant part of the way business networking gets done now too — with an @reply/comment and a friend/follow instead of† some idle chat and swapping business cards. Don’t know whether I think that’s a good thing or not, but it seems useful to be aware of anyway.
As far as contributing to the fads go, I like to think I provide useful content to a few of these (blogging, microblogging, linkedin, stackoverflow), I pay my own way for blogging (they’re my thoughts and I’d like to keep them, thanks), and I’ve followed some ads on facebook (though I don’t think actually purchased anything as a result).
Anyway, that’s my take — whether my contribution is enough to justify my slice of the computing power associated with keeping those sites running, I don’t know, but they’re currently all of some value to me. I suspect my blog is the only one of them I’m willing to keep going at all costs (especially since I know at worst I can just move it to paper).