Over the course of the last, oh, I don’t know, year or so, I’ve signed up for a few social networks that looked interesting, useful or otherwise worth checking out. In case anyone’s wondering, MySpace didn’t make that cut. With respect to those that did make the cut, I didn’t go in with high expectations of any of them. C’mon, I’m a developer. Per the stereotype, I’m not supposed to be social, right?
One that I find extraordinarily useful on a regular basis is Flickr. I use it so often that I sprung for the pro account. Lest I appear disingenuous, I should state that I signed on as a paying customer because they forced me to do so. No one showed up at my house wearing a dark fedora and a shoulder holster, but they cut my free account off once my inventory reached 200 photos. It’s a hell of a service, though, so $30 a year is money well spent, I think.
Some have surprised me by being more than I expected – even if I’m not a frequent visitor, much less a power user. In this category, we have LinkedIn and Facebook. 18 months ago, I hadn’t even heard of Facebook. I’m a few years out of adolescence, so it wasn’t really on my radar until my company began looking into the viral nature of its applications. I pop in and out of both of these and don’t do much with either, but a few old friends have tracked me down on each and that’s been a really nice surprise.
Finally, in a shocking upset of the proverbial apple cart, there’s Twitter. I’ve become so enamored with its offering that I’ve accepted (or at least learned to live with) the fact that it’s (seemingly) down more often than it’s up. I’d never have thought that acceptable before. Even the frequency of my writing here has decreased since joining because it’s just so damn convenient to whip out a quick thought in 140 characters or less. Who needs a complete sentence, much less an entire paragraph?
Then there’s the rest. Plaxo and FriendFeed seem to offer nothing except an aggregation of my accounts on other social networks and a lot of email notifications. NotchUp feels like nothing more than a LinkedIn clone with a symbiotic monetization strategy. Lastly, there’s BrightKite which might just be the most annoying of them all when Twitter integration is enabled. Call me an isolationist, but I frankly don’t care where you are 99.73% of the time.
Maybe I’m not using them right. Or effectively. Or efficiently. Or maybe I just don’t have enough friends. Whatever the case, this is probably the death knell for my presence on those latter networks. I’m just over it.