Rodrigo Rosenfeld Rosas

Facebook, Twitter, Google+ - something is still missing

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 12:00:00 +0000

What is missing in all those social networking media? Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, Google+?

Twitter

Frankly, I've never really used Twitter. I've created an account when I have subscribed to participate as a mentor in the first Ruby Summer of Code, as it was a required field in the subscription form (go figure it out!).

After that, I've twitted once or twice (ok, maybe a little more than this).

If you know me, you probably already know that 140 chars aren't enough for me and I'm really surprised anyone can express any idea with only 140 chars...

But anyway, that is not the main issue with Twitter, although it is a big one.

But that is to say that I don't really see any good case for one using Twitter at all. Lucky them since it seems like I'm the exception instead of the rule.

Facebook / Orkut

Orkut was the first social networking media I've subscribed to like most Brazilians. It happened because I've heard of a community about old/rare Brazilians albums of Samba and Choro and I needed an account for accessing the group. So, I created one but also didn't use it very much except for accessing that community sometimes.

Long after that, I've also created a Facebook account but have never really used it until recently when I met a group of friends that schedule a Choro Jam Session every week using Facebook for that. So, they had added me to the private group and we do communicate with each other through Facebook since then.

But even before that, I've also understood the motivations for one to use any of them. They just didn't buy me since I was used to meet my friends in person most of the time and usually once a week, so I didn't feel the need for such kind of social media.

Google+

Then, I was really excited when Google+ was announced! Would they fix the main issue with the other social medias? Unfortunately, they've only fixed part of the big issue.

Google+ allows you to better organize your streams by grouping your friends in circles. Facebook can do this now too, but I'm not sure if it did before Google+ since I've started to use Facebook more regularly after I was already a Google+ user.

But, like Twitter, it allows you to follow someone else even if you don't belong to that person's circle. And it doesn't have the annoying message limit from Twitter.

It was almost the perfect solution to me, but...

What is the big issue with all of them?

If you're just looking for a place to share photos and comments with your friends, than you're fine. There are some great alternatives for doing so. But...

People miss a professional networking media

And I'm not talking about things like LinkedIn. There are lots of people willing to learn more about some subject that are using Twitter or Google+ to follow people they admire or like their ideas.

In the other side, those popular and thoughtful people are using those tools for blogging/micro-blogging.

But they don't suite well for this goal!

Their premises is wrong. It assumes people are only interested in a single subject. But that is not true!

For example, besides programming, I'm also interested in Music, Surfing and chatting with my friends. Even things like Programming and Music can be split into different areas that may not be of interest to others that are also interested in Programming/Music. People willing to know my opinions on Rails may not be interested on my Grails knowledge and vice-versa. Some people will enjoy both Samba and Choro while others may be interested only in one of them.

Besides being a fun guy with lots of expertise in both Ruby and Rails, Aaron Patterson also seems to enjoy food a lot since I've already seen some lunch or dinner photos in Google+ from him commenting on the food. But I'm not really interested on his tastes on food, while I'm interested in what he has to say about programming.

I won't waste my time digging on Twitter or Google+ filtering the contents I'm interested in myself.

This is also the same reason why I don't use such tools for expressing my ideas. If someone is following me because they are interested in what I have to say about Gitorious, they wouldn't like to see a twit from mine stating that I'm going out to some bar for playing the guitar tonight. And worse, written in Portuguese, so he wouldn't even know what I'm talking about. It's like me following Matz and seeing all those strange symbols that I don't have a single clue about their meanings! :P

Anyone has lots of ideas and interests. Google+ will allow you to share any idea with specific persons or circles, but it means that they would probably receive the message by mail too unless your post is a public one. Also, this means you would need to add everyone following you and organize them in circles. That is simply too much work.

The fix

A tool designed specifically for easing such blogging feature would allow you to tag your messages. That way, I could subscribe to the rails/ruby/programming tag of Aaron Patterson, Yehuda Katz and José Valim, for instance, and I wouldn't be getting any unrelated message from any of them.

Also, I would be able to spread my ideas on each subject without being worried that a musician friend will be spammed by my comments on programming.

I do really hope to see some social media targeted to this use case. I guess it shouldn't be that complicate for Google+ to add this missing feature.

Am I the only one with this feeling that something is really missing in all those social networking media?

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