Social Media Ecosystems

There has been much discussion on the emergence of different socialmedia sites recently, no doubt partly inspired by the difficulties encountered by twitter. Those I follow on twitter are coming to the conclusion that twitter is something different – it has evolved and developed into a cosmopolitan space where technology and life collide. It’s difficult to see how some fancier and more feature-rich service can replace it in the hearts of its devotees. And for why? I think (for the community I’m following and those who follow me) it’s because of it’s simplicity. It brings back memories of text-only adventure games like Colossal Cave – remember that one? It’s text only, it leaves something to the imagination – you have to do a little mental work. It provides instant gratification. It is the leader.

Others will come along and some will leave twitter for the nice features they provide – can’t say I’m overawed by the timeline in plunk, and pownce just confuses me although I have the suspicion that it may compete with jaiku in the future for the younger generation of users of this type of service – what do we call it by the way? I just want to call it twittering, but I suppose that’s copyright?

That will leave twitter for the ex-coders, the ones that like command-line interfaces, the ones that are a bit geekish but realise it’s not cool to admit to that anymore. We can then be left in peace to twitter to our hearts content.

Another thought – where do IM chat-rooms fit in this collection of socialmedia. We’ve been using Jabber and Soapbox for some time in work and it strikes me that the combination of twitter plus groups (rooms) that could (I’m not saying should) be setup would provide the filtering possibility to segment the twitter stream if you so wished.

A very final thought – who are going to be the message-passers? The ones that sit on the edge of multiple ecosystems passing on messages from one to another. This already happens on twitter. You often re-tweet something because you want to pass a message on to a group of your followers. This becomes more acute with different separate socialmedia ecosystems. We need to encourage (and develop behaviour and protocol) for those that will willingly pass messages on. I don’t want automatic message-passing interfaces. That just increases the traffic, I want a way of knowing that “someone” knows I ought to know this content, and passes it on. Pipe-dreams … I wonder.

Update:  Google have decided to drop Jaiku and Pownce has gone as well. That leaves twitter with a chance to dominate – if only they had a business model. Expect a buy-out at sometime, perhaps even by Google. Inside the firewall, yammer is appearing as an alternative to the Jabba/Soapbox offering I mentioned above as you can create closed groups for discussion.