By: Hillel Fuld
OK, this is just getting ridiculous and I waited long enough to write this post. Technology moves fast, I get it, but there’s fast, and then there’s the pace at which the world of social media has been moving over the past few months.
To be honest, it is in no one’s best interest to keep this up, not the companies behind the various platforms, not the advertisers who use these platforms to promote their brand, and most definitely not the users of these platforms.
Allow me to take a few steps back and make a disclaimer. I am fully aware that I am what’s known as an “Early adopter” and I feel the compulsive and illogical need to try every new toy. When I say toy, I don’t mean a new phone or gadget, that goes without saying. I am referring to the new type of toy, a.k.a “social app”, a.k.a “social network”.
I have not tried them all because that would literally be impossible assuming eating and performing other bodily functions are still a priority in my life. I have, however, tried every single social app/platform that has gotten even a hint of traction among the tech community. Let’s take a look at what I am talking about here.
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, those are the no-brainers. Then we have Foursquare (should be part of the no-brainers?) Path, Instagram (Apple’s App of the year for 2011 by the way), Oink, Stamped, WhatsApp (well, it is kind of a social network if you think about it), Dapsem, Batch, Mobli, Color and Chime in.
Those are just the ones that come to my mind and by the time I finish this post, the list of social networks I have joined in the past year will have doubled in my head, but let’s leave it at these.
Mind you, when (almost) every single one of the above networks launched, it was named “The next big thing” by at least one if not all of the top tech blogs. I know, I know, just because TechCrunch says it is a hot app and the company raised $40 million does not mean I have to try it. Well, actually, ii kind of does. Put aside the fact that as a “tech enthusiast”, I don’t exactly like the thought of waking up one day to discover that everyone who is anyone is on some new network I never heard of and I am missing all the fun.
There is that other thing called work. I work in this space, the mobile, social, Web space, that is. I have to stay up to date, and besides, if we have learned anything from the tech industry in the last few years, it is that early adopters set the trends that the “normal folks” then follow. It happens nearly every time.
So many people, including myself, have asked me (I mean I ask myself this question daily), how the heck I am supposed to keep up with all these networks? I mean, the world of apps is moving just as fast but that is different. An exciting app is released, I try it, like it or don’t, then close it and either delete it or use it again in a few months time. Social networks require time, energy, thought, and dedication if you want to succeed.
The answer is, I don’t keep up. I fall behind daily. Now, I know what you’re saying to yourself (again, I am kind of a prophet.), “who cares if you fall behind? What harm does that cause you or anyone else?” Good question, I thought you’d never ask!
Well, since the basic premise of social networking (I hate that phrase more than words can describe) is relationships and engagement, I need to be able to tell someone on Twitter that their recent Instagram photo was awesome or that they need to get more sleep based on their recent Path activity. Well, I don’t need to, but that is the name of the game in this space.
So what are we going to do? Are we (and by we, I mean us psycho social media and technology junkies) doomed? Are we setting ourselves up for failure? Well, possibly, but in reality, there is a simple solution to all of this.
If you got this far in the post, then you are a loyal reader and you deserve to be rewarded as such, so here is a million dollar secret. If you create the app I am about to describe, you WILL make it big and I won’t even ask for a cut of it.
Someone needs to create the all-in-one social app. What do I mean? Well, almost every one of the networks mentioned above has an API, which means other apps can tap into its network. That is how I post pictures on Foursquare from Instagram and share a thought on Twitter from Path. On this front, Google+ is falling behind, but the full Google+ API will be out momentarily…
Why is there not one app that will enable me to upload all the content types Path supports, which includes photos, videos, text, music, location, people (tagging), and current status? Once I choose what to upload, I then decide which network to share it with! But it has to have all of them integrated.
I mean some things are relevant for my Facebook friends, and others are relevant for my Twitter followers. Some things I only want to share on Instagram, and others only on Path. When I “Oink” something (yes, that is the name of the app. I can’t make this stuff up), why not be able to share it with my Stamped community or my Linkedin connections? It just makes so much sense.
Now, it is true that many if not all of these platforms are competing with one another, but let’s say it as it is. Facebook and possibly Twitter aside, each and every one of these networks are losing more than they are gaining by not joining forces with the other networks.
Of course, the problem with such an app is that new platforms are introduced daily and to stay relevant the developer of this all in one social app would have to stay up all night every night in order to keep the app up to date. The way I see it, either this developer and his team drive themselves nuts over keeping this app up to date, or millions of people like myself and (let’s be honest, you too if you are reading this post) lose their sanity by trying to tread water in the wild waters of social media. I think we have a clear winner. So, someone please make that app pronto!
Of course the other possible solution to this social media headache is to forget it all, and actually live my life instead of tweeting about it, but c’mon, that is just crazy talk!