How many websites do you belong to?
We all have our favorite internet destinations. For some it’s the hourly Facebook checkin. For others it’s a daily look at CNN or a local news site. Just like the real world where we spend our time online helps to define how we think about it.
Chances are that if you spend your time reading news on CNN that a website like Digg or Reddit – Which also serves up news – is going to seem very foreign and somewhat confusing. The same goes for those who spend most of their time on social giant Facebook. Going to a new social network like Twitter or Google+ is going to seem disorienting at the least and infuriating at the worst.
These days it seems like every website we frequent wants our input.
But what does that mean for the user? With so many social choices how social can we really be?
What I post to Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Foursquare or Instagram doesn’t go everywhere. They each have their own fragmented ecosystem.
Should it? If it did what would happen to those feeds?
Some people who follow me would get that content multiple times. Some of that content wouldn’t mean anything to them. The style of content and relevance to my followers is very dependent on the channel they choose to follow me in.
This is no different for companies.
Companies often feel as though they need to be active in every social platform to be effective. By doing so they run the risk of having a feed full of shallow content that is either to bland for many networks or poorly formatted for most. This disconnect of audience and content can do more harm than good. It’s better to be an active and meaningful contributor in one network than to repost your content in many. Just because you CAN have a G+, Twitter and Facebook doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
Wether for personal or professional use – Concentrate on the networks where the people you want to communicate with are. If it turns out you want or need to be in multiple places then keep in mind that people use each of their internet profiles in different ways and for different reasons.
It might be called social – but in reality all those different networks just create their own walled gardens. What you say on Facebook probably won’t work on Twitter. What you post on Flickr isn’t what you’d post on Instagram. Comments posted on CNN news story aren’t like posting comments on Reddit. All of these places have their own version of normal, their own lingo and their own audiences.
Don’t just repost – Contribute.