Saturday, 24 July 2010

Social Networking: Is Growth Destroying it’s Value for End Users?

by Chad Levitt

Social networking is great for many things – it can help you get a job, make a new connection, get your foot in the door, and meet folks you would have never had the opportunity to meet physically. But, lately, I’ve started to wonder if social media networks are losing their value at the expense of their owners wanting to scale and IPO.

The infrastructure of the web?

Social media networks are fast becoming the infrastructure of the Web as all of our personal data and connections are being aggregated into databases. The value of Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter is part how much of our personal information they store and part how useful they can make this information for companies, advertisers, marketers, and consumers. The more information social networks know about us and our connections, the more targeted they can make their advertising and ultimately their business value.

But for the end user – people like me and you – is it really valuable to have a sprawling list of social media connections? The answer is yes. Having a high number of quality social media connections is very valuable for any personal brand. The flip side is that as your social media connections grow, the noisier your feeds get, and it becomes harder to keep tabs on the connections you really care about. That presents a problem and destroys the true value of social networking.

Connection are valauble

If we need our social media connections consisting of both high and low value connections – what can be done to make social media more efficient and organized?

The ability to organize connections into lists.

Think about it — does it make sense that your old college buddies are grouped together with your work connections? Nope. How about having your different groups of friends all thrown into the same stream? It just makes no darn sense. And the problem only gets worse as your build out your personal brand and social media connections.

A list feature would fix all of this.

If we could organize our connections into groups we would not have to worry about irrelevant conversations flowing into other groups. We would not have to deal with a constant bombarding of status updates unless we wanted to have the “main status update view” on. This would be a giant step in the right direction for social media networks. It would also throw a giant wrench into the developing business models of social media networks and that’s probably why it has not been enabled.

What do you think — is the growth of social media networks destroying its value for end users?


Chad Levitt is an Inbound Marketing Specialist with HubSpot and author of the New Sales Economy blog that focuses on how sales 2.0, social media, and how inbound marketing can be used as a sales strategy for the Web 2.0 world. You can connect with Chad on Twitter @chadalevitt.


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