Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where Status Doesn't Matter

If you are a kewl social networker like myself, you update your status message on Facebook regularly, as in more than once a day. If you are a Twitterer, you do it as part of your ongoing Twittering, meaning you update something like once an hour unless you're in an airplane. Honestly speaking, there is something nice about knowing the status of my friends and their mundane lives. It's not totally mundane to me, and it does give something to talk about when we get together or speak.

Potentially, the status message could be useful. I've seen a number of blogs from big social networking types regarding how they've gotten immediate help by Twittering or updating their status message on Facebook. I've made a point of responding to a number of friend statuses to see what happens, and every now and again I've gotten some responses to my status messages (usually claiming I was being funny, a sign that at least a few of my friends have humor as dry as my own.)

By and large, though, the status message just doesn't matter. Honestly, 90% of what most people do is what they did the day before. I'm sure it is of no interest, even to my good friends, to have updated info about when I am at work or at home. There are only so many moods you are going to put on there. Thus, those of us who update our status regularly spend a fair amount of brainpower thinking of something clever to write in there. And being entertained when someone else puts something clever there.

I've made some genuine attempts to use the status message to do useful stuff, like get a babysitter, invite friends to something, get you to read my blogs, catch a coffee with someone in Tel Aviv, etc. Unlike the big social networkers with 4999 friends or followers, or those who post specific questions on how to configure their web servers, I've found the status message basically useless.

Assuming that most people don't have thousands of friends, and that their requests are more arbitrary, and that most people don't check their friends status on an hourly basis, it's pretty reasonable to assume most of us will find our status to be insignificant.

Status messages, furthermore, suffer from configuration scatter problems much worse than e-mail. We may have a few e-mail accounts, but most of us have our mail forwarded to one or two, both of which we check at least daily. But status messages? I have status on every social network, status on g-mail, messenger, Skype, etc., and each one needs to be set separately.

Do you know anybody who, when they answer the phone, sets all of those to "busy"? I think not. Presence and status actually are of importance in communications; but today's implementation is incredibly crude. Add to that the minimal amount of attention our associates are spending worrying about our status messages, and the value of them diminishes even further. I guess that just goes to show that there's only so much status to go around.

1 comment:

Shoshana said...

Early on in my Faacebook days, I tried to using my status to obtain some needed assistance and was disappointed. Since then, I've put less effort into it. Truly, my days are pretty boring so who cares? Furthermore, when I have responded to someone's status on Facebook, I've rarely, if ever, received a reply. Guess I picked the wrong communications channel. Be that as it may, I just sent you a Facebook message regarding your current status. Shoshana