Among a certain group of fraternizing marketing bloggers, that I myself have been known to cavort with from time to time, there is a meme that has swept the conversation: Web 2.0 has grown out of control— with new social media apps launching on a twice-daily basis, how can the poor user keep up with it all? While I commiserate with this plight, I’ve already expressed my opinion elsewhere that we are too close to it, that this is a product of working in the industry, and hyper-analyzing this is just so much navel gazing.
Understandably, everyone wants to find the next big thing. These new apps that have everyone in a tizzy (Pounce, Jaiku, Twitter, etc.) are not communities unto themselves, they are communication tools for one’s existing network.
As Greg Verdino pointed out in a comment at Conversation Agent, We should not forget that these are all media rather than networks per se and the value to you or me lies in the connection not the connector.
The first thing I’m going to do is construct a fictitious user of social media. Not an “in the business” or “in the know” über hipster. Just a typical guy. We can assume his only blog is his MySpace page, and it only has two postings.
This visual is divided up by “directories”— contact lists, friends lists, address books, as associated with different applications and websites, scaled by number of entries, and intersected by common entries. It is divided horizontally with the people he actually knows out in the real world shown above, and people he only knows online shown below. When the members of a directory include both, the sphere crosses the divide in a manner representative of the percentage.