Social Media Taxonomy

It occurs to me that social media is a continuum of offerings, with different services bringing different thighs to the table. What got me thinking about this was the sudden realization that Twitter is a terrible device for dealing with the past. A tweet's effective usefulness period is "now" and no longer; very few people will be interested in trolling through someone's history of tweets.

Blogging, on the other had, is different: it is about writing for the future, something that will have a longer period of usefulness. This is illustrated by the fact that most blogs have an index of posts readily available, usually already sorted by date, making it very easy to refer to the past. And this transmission into the future encourages most to write properly, in a very different from the txt-spk that can dominate tweets.

So with that obvious observation in hand, one can start classifying various services:

  • Twitter. Written for: now. History: useless. Very short form. User interaction is indistinguishable from user use of the service -- threads get lost very easily.
  • Tumblr. Written for: now. History: can be less useless, but not much. Longer form and mixed media formatting. Probably more of a long-form Twitter. Has more tools for Tumblr users to interact than does Twitter.
  • Facebook. Written for: now. History: slightly less useless than Tumblr, but has pretentious of permanence with its "timeline" way of organizing hints, although I bet most users never use it. Much better user interaction through the dreaded "like" and comment facilities. From a posting standpoint it is less flexible than Tumblr, but most users don't care.
  • Google Plus: closer to Tumblr (all about the now!) than Facebook. I think this is one reason why the Facebook crowd doesn't like G+ is the lack of Facebook's venir of the past.
  • Instagram: Twitter for pictures. Or at least it was, I bailed on it when Facebook bought them. Really is only about the now -- eg: show me your lunch. Nobody cares about the past. It has it's own sharing and following, but since it's origins was as a Twitter rider, I never used them.
  • Flickr: blogger for pictures. Stronger history tools.
  • Blogger: blogging is about writing things today that might be interesting in the future. Long form writing, strong history tools. Commenting is available, even if spammers have effectively broken it.

So what does all that mean?

Personally, I use Twitter for my short form/now microblogging. Also, my "audience" (such that it is) is there. That feeds a Facebook account, where the rest of my audience is. Google Plus is used only for a KSP group. And long form writing gets dropped into one of *cough* five Blogger blogs, from which I pollute Twitter (and therefore Facebook) with links when they get published. "Now" photos are tweets, more interesting things are usually Blogger posts. I've used G+ for photo albums, but I'm not really sold on it.

I think this is beause I am interested in history. I am the kind of person who will go back and read my own "back catalogue" periodically. Twitter makes this painful. Facebook makes it awkward. Blogger makes it easy.

Over all I am most attracted to G+ but I don't really understand why. Also there is no audience there so there isn't much point in dumping lots of content there. If I really want to write to no audience, I'll just use Blogger. I feel like I shouldn't trust Twitter, and Facebook gives me an uncomfortable feeling. But, audience.

Every so often I think it is a good idea to reconsider what I am doing, even if it doesn't result in any changes.