While conducting a search today on the utilization of Social Media for solving crimes, I stumbled across Mark Blevis's Blog. Mark had a post about posting surveillance videos on YouTube, but his most recent post (from April 2007) is what really caught my eye as he states, "The time has come to achieve focus and pick your hang outs," in reference to Social Networking destinations.
Over the past few months, I've seen this comment coming up more in more on some popular blogs. With the flood of services and products hitting the web, it's no surprise that many people are trying to manage the influx of connections, communication and relationships. The question is, are these products too fragmented or not fragmented enough?
If I want to talk to a friend online, I use IM or Myspace. If I am looking to make a business connection, I used Linked In - It's not for friends as many of them have unusual titles that don't fit with the network I am looking to build. My blog is my personal platform - I speak my mind here, spout out some thoughts and ideas, and see if anything sticks (with one person or many). I use Twitter when I'm in the mood, but don't feel that I need to tweet 24 times a day. The list goes on and on.
Am I at my critical mass? Maybe. I Haven't even used my Pownce invite yet. I downloaded Zune which was getting a lot of hype 6 months ago, but only visited once. The list goes on and on.
The space is extremely cyclical in its present state. Early Adopters jump on new services in an effort to provide reviews and claim their space should the technology be the next topic of discussion. If it fizzles, the feeding frenzy moves to the next potential target, while many others just wait to see what's in it for them. Many people I know can't see the value in Twitter and make valid points to support their opinion. Many people have latched on to Twitter so firmly that it has become their primary social media platform. Me, I'm a middle of the road guy. Twitter has value, but only a certain kind of value that can be utilized when appropriate.
I could go on and on for days about everything that is out there, but the real point of this rant is Critical Mass.
Right now, because of the nature of the industry, we have two sides grasping at consumers. The smaller niche offerings that essential fragment the average consumers online participation and the offerings looking to compile all of this information into one destination. I don't think either side can win because obviously we need both. The real decision comes down to how much the user wants to put out there and the level of adoption. I'm too busy to be an every hour twitter, daily poster, weekly podcaster or vlogger...if that means my viewership is lower and my popularity minimal, so be it. After all, it's the quality of the conversation not the quantity.
If you're at your critical mass, maybe narrowing your focusing isn't the way. A simple adjustment of your participation may just be the trick.