Are We Asking Too Much?

There has been a huge amount of conversation regarding Twitter and its’ recent outages and performance issues. This is understandable considering how many people have become addicted to it. However, this post is not about Twitter’s problems, it is about asking for too much. Two posts from ReadWriteWeb caught my eye in the past day. First, Corvida writes about the Keys to a Killer Web Service. These keys are search, aggregation and conversation. This makes a lot of sense as these are the main points of many “web 2.0” services. The second post was written by Sarah Perez and allows you to Take a Class in Social Media. She goes on to list 8 lessons that you need to learn to get started in social media. The two posts separately were interesting enough, but given that they were published within a day of each other on the same website and they take completely different angles to the same story.

Search, Aggregation and Conversation

In Corvida’s post, she lists three services, Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed. They are each a killer service in their own domain. However, none of the services really hits all three points. Facebook has some of each feature, but all of its’ features are closed. The search is purely internal to Facebook and does not look at other services. Facebook has aggregation with the news feed, but it is still an infant compared to other services. The conversation on Facebook is also just within the service. I am not including discussions about Facebook as they do not matter to the service.

Twitter really only hits one of these points, conversation. Thankfully, they have a fairly good API so that third parties can develop the search, i.e. Summize, and aggregation, i.e. TwitterFeed. FriendFeed may come the closest, but it still falls short. The aggregation is excellent which should not be surprising given that it is an aggregation service. The search is decent, and the conversation is starting, somewhat due to the performance issues of Twitter.

According to Corvida’s three keys, I really do not think that anything is really a killer service.

8 Lessons

The 8 lessons provided by Sarah are a little more vague than Corvida’s post, but there is a lot of overlap. Personal Branding is one of the hot issues of the day because of aggregation services and microblogging services. Your name and brand are everywhere, so you need to keep your image in top form. Learning what web 2.0 is and how to use it may be a separate lesson, but it also incorporates the remaining lessons, Use YouTube, Blog, Use Social Networks, Master Wikis, Use Twitter, and Podcast. These are several of the services that we currently take for granted.

How do these two posts really relate? Well, the three services highlighted by Corvida play directly into several of these lessons. So, in reality the articles are really the same topic, but take a different angle.

So, What is Your Point?

I am glad you asked. If you look at the list of lessons and the keys to a successful web service, you will realize that the list is daunting. So the killer web service would have the aggregation of FriendFeed, the search of Summize, and the conversation of Twitter all backed by the social network from Facebook. That would easily take several years to develop and people would never use it because it is probably too complicated. How about the lessons? Well, I will ask the question differently. Can you be a productive writer, video producer and radio host while using Facebook to connect with your personal and business networks? Maybe, but don’t forget to Twitter about what you have not written/spoke/recorded about. Thankfully the Wikis are just a documentation medium that you will run into at some point and they are not that hard to use.

So, my question to you is do you want a service that does all of this? Can you really practice all of the lessons provided by Sarah? How about we be reasonable and just target those few things we might be good at.

6 thoughts on “Are We Asking Too Much?

  1. Were my examples really that bad? lol And yes I do want a service that does all of that. It would be a portal for me and hopefully help me be more productive.

    Maybe we are asking for too much, but I think that’s only because we’ve been given so much that could BE so much better than it IS.

    All of the lessons? Definitely not. You don’t learn all of the lessons outlined in a syllabus do you? It’s really more of a pick and choose guideline. Dabbling in all of the lessons Sarah pointed out helps though.


  2. @Corvida
    Your examples were exactly what they should have been, I just think you were too lenient in trying to fit them into your 3 keys.

    Regarding the lessons, in college/university, you are supposed to learn all of the lessons. Do you master all of them, definitely not.

    I pointed out both articles because they were good articles on the topic, but I thought maybe, we are asking too much of the services and the people who use them.


  3. I love the conversation on this topic. Nice to stumble upon and “meet” all of you. My question, as I attempt to help Dell manage the tower of babel that is social networking, is this: What does business want with Social media? The CIO, the IT Director of Fortune 500 companies. What do they want?

    Dell has a huge user base that swarm to the site looking for information. Do business executives have time to “do” social media? Other than those of us who are paid to “engage” in it?

    So many of the tools (Facebook, Twitter, Friends Connect) are good for the consumer crowd and the younger “connected generation,” but what of our tech industry brethren?

    The conversation is all over the place. The Search, Aggregation and Conversation are alive and well. What can a company like Dell do to support our Enterprise-level customers?

    Cheers, JMac.


  4. I read both posts on Read Write Web. Very interesting and gets you thinking.

    By the way Twitter is highly addictive! I’m sure there will be a medical condition named after it soon.


  5. JMac,

    To be honest, I do not think people are really thinking about the corporations yet. Due to Twitter’s popularity, it does have some companies looking at it, but others still do not get much traction in corporate america.

    Due to the size of Dell’s userbase, there is a large network of untapped knowledge. Doing something like support within the network and in forums could prove useful. Some of this has been tried before (support forums), but probably not with the “social” bend we see now.

    By the way, good to see Dell is taking an active interest.


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