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I am not one to post predictions or “best of” posts at the end of a year. It’s the antagonist in me, I suppose, but I just don’t want to do what everyone else does. However, I am not immune to end-of-year reflection. In that frame of mind, I thought I would look back on my own personal use of social media in the past year, how it has changed and how it looks in the face of larger media trends:
I started using Facebook and Twitter as (mostly) distinct channels: When Facebook first opened up to old folks like me, I jumped in alongside a lot of my communications and social media contemporaries–most of whom were also on Twitter. As a result, I treated the nearly identical networks with nearly identical content–though obviously Facebook allowed for more multimedia. I think a lot of my Twitter contemporaries have–and still do–treat Facebook that way.
Facebook, however, matured into a more mainstream medium, something that Twitter has yet to accomplish. As a result, many non-industry friends were confused by some of my Twitter messages, especially if I was Tweeting from a conference. Finally, I had to separate the two and reserve Facebook for more personal messages and observations, and Twitter for–well, Twitter still gets everything. Now my high school classmates, neighbors and family are spared some of my more abstract professional pronouncements (but not my more abstract puns and nonsense).
The larger trend? The most successful networks will find a niche–and Facebook, yes, fills a niche for me, however large a niche “personal life” is.
I gradually stopped using Utterli for blog posts: I love the tool Utterli (www.utterli.com) for multimedia mobile posting to my blog. It has kept me posting Two to three times per week for over two years now. However, recently there have been questions about whether Utterli will remain in service or not. As I write this it remains up, but the very thought of this service going down brings up what Dan York likes to call the “single point of failure.” Are we relying too much on third-party services to host our content, without backup or consideration as to what happens if the service disappears? It’s something we certainly must consider for clients when looking at services to help in our communications programs.
The current hot commodity is Posterous (www.posterous.com). I have had mixed success posting via mobile through that service. It also does not solve the “single point of failure” problem–now, what if Posterous goes down?
I tried to use more video: Video has become easier to produce and distribute, but most people still don’t take full advantage. The question I want to see people tackle is: what is interesting to look at? I don’t think “talking head” videos” do the trick. It does add something to see facial expression, but most of these do just as well as audio. As I try to work more regular video posts into my content, the need for compelling visuals is a problem I have not solved for myself–yet. Perhaps I am being too choosy, but 2010 is a year when I am convinced I will find better, more engaging ways to use video.
I surrendered to the geo-tagging craze: Foursquare (www.foursquare.com) has become quite popular, and I have succumbed to it as well. I see it as a great opportunity to create serendipitous moments (can you create serendipity?) when you are out in a city. It does, also, create privacy concerns related to telling the world where you are at any given moment. People will have to be more circumspect in revealing their whereabouts, doing it when it makes sense, rather than spraying location posts all over. Most of us don’t care about your lifestreaming in that much detail (nor do you care about mine). For the moment, I am doing this spraying as a I play with the tool and build up a profile, but in 2010 I will definitely pull back the tool into more utilitarian uses. Of course, “utilitarian” includes figuring out who is at a bar at any particular time.
How has your social media use evolved in 2009? How do you think it might change in 2010?