Old Man Problems and Social Networks
In July of 2011 I wrote a post here called “Tragedy of the Google+ Commons.”
In that post I talked about all the ways Google+ could fail. One of the ways was through the “automation” of push from other networks into G+. And it’s happening.
I just noticed the other day that I was seeing “tweets” in my G+ stream.
I don’t want that. I have tweets in my tweet stream. I don’t need them in my G+ stream. A friend started doing it an I hit him up on twitter and said I’d be uncircling him on G+ and he responded with - #oldmanproblems.
And he’s right. These are old man problems. Getting chocolate in my peanut butter. Getting tweets in my G+.
I’m not a luddite. I’m not a purist. I was an early adopter of many different tools on the internet. Heck - I was in chat rooms in AOL in the late 80s/early 90s. I’m not new to this stuff. But I am having my own difficulties with the way this is evolving.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to stop the evolution. I know that would be tilting at windmills. But it makes me feel better to write about it here - where no one will hear me scream.
But I really don’t believe I’ll be the only one screaming. At some point the entire house of cards will have to come crashing down from the narcissistic weight of everyone posting everything to every platform. Our brains won’t allow it.
We will ultimately rebel and we will start to ignore people. And then the value is gone.
We will be our own worst enemy.
We Are 3-D
Here’s how I see it. Humans are 3-D by nature. We like to see things in “places.” It’s how we make connections. Have you ever bumped into a “work” friend at a tattoo parlor? Remember how that felt? Weird huh. It was a disconnect.
I’m sure you’ve also had the experience of running into a friend from high school that you spent a drunken debouched weekend in Vegas with at a client meeting. Probably didn’t even recognize them at first because the context was off.
I think we see things based on context. We need the context in order to turn on and off those parts of the brain that are important at that point in time. Friends from the neighborhood - cool - they can see me in shorts. CEO that I want to do business with - they don’t need to see the inappropriate Scooby-Do and Jessica Rabbit tattoo on my thigh. Those streams should never cross. Not at least until I get the business with a multi-year contract.
We need that context for us to feel safe. I should say “I” need that context to feel safe. There seem to be a ton of you out there that don’t, but hey - you’re profersonal, and I’m not.
All of our networks are morphing and connecting. But instead of them connecting to form a sweet spot of interaction - they are connecting and pulling the worst things from each.
We’re not getting better at this stuff. We’re getting worse.
Facebook was about friends and family. It was about pics of kids and weddings and reunions. It was about bachelor parties and good times. Now it’s about networked blogs, business speaking gigs, links to fan pages. It’s not really personal any more. It’s not professional either. It found that spot between the two that has the least value.
Twitter was about freedom, quick witty reportee, more personality driven. It could be both personal and professional - but it is primarily business with an edge. Now twitter is about promotion, mass marketing and links to new posts and speaking gigs. Hey -guilty as charged. But I do try to make it about 3:1 fun versus biz. But not all of you do. It’s crowded. It’s noisy. It’s a bit random. As someone said early on in twitter’s arc - it’s like a cocktail party. And it is. But it’s moved from the “club scene” to the “conference scene.” Still a party… but without the Ecstasy and rave music.
LinkedIn - well - that’s pretty obvious. Not much has changed there. That site is all about the Benjamins. It was, is and will be about income. Next.
And then there is google+. The odd kid in the family. The one that no one really gets yet. There’s a glimmer of genius but then they trip over their own feet. So you’re really not sure what to make of it.
I have old man problems.
I don’t want to mix my streams. I don’t want the same information in 10 different places. I want to be able to connect with friends as friends do. I don’t want to connect to friends and then hear all about their presentation. I want to hear about chinch bugs in their lawn and what kind of grill they’re going to buy next summer.
I want to talk biz with biz people. I want to know how your career is going and I want to help when I can.
Sure there are times when those conversations overlap. Sure, I’ve talked business at cookouts. But only for a few minutes. Not the entire freakin’ time.
So… for all you “socially networked” people out there… I’m going on record and say this - all of this stuff will be falling apart soon. It will be unmanageable. It will become a hassle.
I’m convince that all these networks will become less valuable the more we add to them and the more we use them as a fire hose. They will only become valuable again when we inject context into the discussion.
I know I’m going to lose some great conversations on google + as I remove people from my circles. I’m also going to miss some great photographs and some of your family updates as I unfriend you on Facebook. I will truly miss that.
But what I gain is sanity. Calm, cool, sanity.
At the end of the day all these networks are really about how “I” use them - not how “you” use them. I know… sacrilege … it’s not about you.
Sorry. It just isn’t. It is really about me.
Now… Pull up your pants, get off my lawn, get a job and quite mumbling.