April 9, 2012
I smiled wryly this weekend as I saw more tweets by people publicly abandoning some of their social media platforms – i.e., giving up on Facebook in favour of Twitter, or LinkedIn in favour of Google+. I guess it’s part of the evolutionary process, but I must admit I’ve always wondered why anyone thinks they need to converse with the same friends on different platforms – which is what inevitably happens, unless one compartmentalises one’s life and one’s friends carefully, and they reciprocate.
Still, it got me thinking. I probably have more accounts on social media platforms than I have pairs of socks (anyone out there on Wave? MySpace? Buzz? 43things? Bebo?), but after 5 years of playing with them I’ve found myself focusing my limited time on Twitter and (of course) blogs, simply because they complement each other so well: while blogging provides an infinitely flexible ‘long format’ for developing ideas in depth, Twitter provides the exact opposite: ultrasimple & concise opinions, with links.
Would I get more out of social media if I spent more time on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+? Almost certainly. For a start, if I could have 30 minutes more per day, I’d probably spend it on a few LinkedIn Groups, where discussions are usually pretty good.
But there’s only so many hours in the day (some of us have to work as well as play at social media), and the law of diminishing returns kicks in as you add more platforms: because so many of the people and debates I’d gravitate to an additional platform are also on Twitter and the blogosphere, the signal-to-noise on a 3rd, 4th or 5th platform will be correspondingly lower for me.
At least, that’s what I’ve been thinking. But I’m starting to question one of my basic assumptions: should I maintain my blog? Or replace it with a platform?
I’ve been here before, but basically I’m wondering whether I have anything more to say about the EU Institutions’ use of social media, or the development of the EU online public space.
It would be different, I guess, if things were evolving, but they aren’t – the Institutions are still ‘experimenting’ (which apparently includes telling us things anyone can find out for themselves on Mashable, and filling us in on Latvian easter traditions) without showing much sign of even recognising the challenges, let alone developing a strategy to tackle them.
Meanwhile, us eurobloggers are still debating the existence of the EU online public space, rather than trying to create it (latest instalment, previous instalment, mid-2011, mid-2010, late 2009 …). Even the number of comments most of us receive has dropped significantly, despite the growth in the number of people discussing the subject.
Finally, it’s not just the same old discussion – it’s by the same old people. In such a static environment, we all risk repeating ourselves and going stale, so this blog may go quiet for a moment while I reacquaint myself with other spaces.
Where will I go? What will I do?
I could use your help, so tell me: can you (do you) survive without blogging? On how many platforms are you active for personal interest and professional development (as opposed to maintaining a Facebook page for your employer)? Which ones, and why?Mathew Lowry