Recently, there has been a rash of one-size-fits-all services that aim to provide a solution to “managing” various sites like Twitter, Pownce, Tumblr, Jaiku and Facebook all at once. As with most of my rants, they begin on Twitter and then trickle their way into a blog post – and if you’ve seen some of my tweets, you have seen my personal distaste for these services and the people who use them.
There is definitely an increased need to edit down the information influx we receive everyday via email, IM, web apps, etc. There is also definitely the stress of joining all the new sites your friends keep joining. However, just as a recent blog post pointed out the potential resurgence of separating public and not-so-public content, there is also arguably a need to cater which content resonates most with which audience.
A quote from 2006 that I often refer back to and has always resonated with me is “the internet favors infinite niches, not one-size-fits-all fare“.
The one-size services assume your followers and friends are only following you on one site. In reality, most of us go between various different sites as much as we would go between kissing partners at a game of spin the bottle (as Sean has stated, I have a non-proprietary crush on Twitter and Pownce). This mass broadcasting may help you spend less time catering to each site, but will end up filling up all your friends’ social inboxes two or three times over with the same content. Undoubtedly, this will annoy them – especially if they really didn’t need to see that you’re broadcasting live on Qik in 3 different places every 5 minutes.
Worse than a wish-I-could-be-there video award acceptance speech, it’s centered around broadcasting without valuing interaction. Almost all people I’ve observed who use these services to cross-post, rarely ever login to the individual sites to see the replies, nor does it seem like they care. As a result, the content suffers significantly – as people learn to not click through or respond to things where they know their opinion won’t be heard.
If not interacting with a community and spamming your friends didn’t hinder you enough, the services completely overlook the most important aspect: the content. On Pownce, seeing your 5 latest 140 character @ replies you had on Twitter is completely useless, annoying and a total giveaway to the fact that you’re probably never going to take the time to send me that new song you like or point me to a video you wanted to talk about outside of the 5,000 YouTube comments it received. As such, I’ve most likely already stopped following you.
To quote myself from 2006 in reference to advertisers, “So what if you reach a larger … audience? Did you reach the right audience? There’s so much talk about demographics, but in the end, people only care about numbers instead of the effectiveness, no less defining effective influence.”
Have these microblogging sites given rise to an advertising-like mindset of reaching numbers rather than niches?