My father asked me the other day via email: so-and-so “asked me to join Flipporia. Should I?”
On the surface, I laud my dad whether he should do something tech- or social media-related by asking me first. Not that he needs to run all his decisions by me. But the fact that it gave him pause, and then he turned to a source/looked for a suggestion was comforting.
My response about joining Flipporia was that I had “never heard of it. Before you join, ask [so-and-so] what she gets out of it. Like, what more does she get out of that over Facebook and LinkedIn.”
And that, in a nutshell, is a taut response against shiny-object syndrome. Sure, something new came along (it always does – AOL, MySpace, TheFacebook (now Facebook), twttr (now Twitter), Path, …). I’m not against joining new networks – I’m on the majors myself (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, G+). I also joined ello.co when it came out.
But isn’t that Shiny Object Syndrome?
Yes and no. I didn’t join ello.co to say, “hey look at me!” or to move all of my social eggs into one basket. Rather, I was testing out the platform to see what it’s like. I’m an early adopter with a good sense of skepticism, I guess.
What I’ve found there is that as lean and clean as the interface is (that’s a compliment), it’s hard to make it part of my everyday. Facebook and others (maybe because I’m a fan of buffer) have built up so much inertia with me that it’s hard to change. It’s hard for me say or do: “when I have this interesting thought that I want to share with friends/colleagues/acquaintances, I’m going to put it newplace-here instead of oldplace-there.” That’s a difficult habit to break. Christopher S. Penn eloquently (ß see what I did there?) states it here, in his post “effort signals intent.”
Focus on the Who, Then The What, and Then The Why
I think that “in-the-moment” sharing action is what can drive much of the decision. Above, I muse, “when I have this interesting thought that I want to share with friends/colleagues/acquaintances, I’m going to…” And that’s the crux of it: friends/colleagues/acquaintances.
- With whom are you planning to connect when on this new platform? For me, LinkedIn is all about business and maybe reaching out to people who I want to work with more, etc. For me, Facebook is more about personal connections – the people I might joke around with, or, were I at a dinner party, the friends who’d be in my chatter circle. Twitter is a bit of a hybrid. Instagram is even weirder – I’m open to anyone connecting with me, but don’t necessarily actively push my profile or seek lots of new people to follow.
- Once the ‘who’ is fairly pinned down, then figure out what you’d consume and then share. In my dad’s case (and mine too), I didn’t know what Flipporia offered. It was challenging for me to say yes or no re: joining. A little digging would reveal a better course of action for me to recommend to my dad.
- And finally, the ‘why’. Why spend time there over another place? Or, is that new place so much better that I should abandoned other networks? Can I possible get the utility and benefit of both in one place?
Y U Ask So Many Questions?!
I know it seems like a lot. But more and more time is spent online, everyday. If you’re going to choose a network or a handful of networks, choose wisely. Or, test out a few, but don’t commit just yet. Above all, be skeptical, wary, or just outright curious like my Dad was and is.
p.s.: Flipporia? It’s not a social network after all. Turns out it’s someone’s profile on last.fm.
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