Monday, August 11, 2008

Control Freak

Ever since social networks showed up, I've lamented that this great technology has simply created a situation where I have multiple profiles in various places, with different collections of contacts. It's a bit of a bizarre world, in fact.

Facebook is a kind of place where I collect pretty much anyone I would say "hi" to, my personal address book which is people I actually contact regularly, Flickr contains only friends who I really want seeing pictures of my kids, etc. If only I could have some control over all of this. So far, I've tried some different solutions, like Plaxo Pulse, Flock, and Gaim/Meebo (for IM consolidation). I spend a lot of time thinking about, configuring and playing around with my system, needless to say. I can justify it because I'm a marketing guy... what's your excuse?

Anyway, the latest thing is Friendfeed. Friendfeed is designed to connect up all these networks. It's kind of like a control panel for my online life, in particular my activities and status. My "friends" can now know what I am doing at any time.

I can't help but feeling, though, that while all of these solutions are helping me consolidate my world, and make it easier to manage, none of them are really giving me "control". Only Plaxo differentiates between business contacts and friends, supposedly with the purpose of allowing you to publish different things to friends or family than you would to business contacts. That's obviously the level of control I want.

However, with Plaxo, I don't really get the control at the end of the day, because the other services don't allow that. Ideally, if this blog had a "public", "business" and "personal" setting, I could have a situation where some posts would be available to the general public, some only to my actual contacts, and some only to my real friends. I should have those same options on Facebook, shared RSS feeds, Flickr photographs, whatever. That would be actual control, rather than what I'm getting today which is more like convenience.

1 comment:

Shoshana Zucker said...

I don't think that this posts indicates that you're a control freak. You just want a reasonable level of privacy or separation between your personal and professional lives, something that was once (not long ago) taken for granted. This is an issue that definitely casts a shadow on the world of virtual social networking and deserves more serious attention.