Connecting the dots: Social Networking Hurts My Head.

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Much like the 60’s, everybody’s on everything these days.  There’s tweets, buzzes, pings, orkuts, facebooks, myspaces, blah blah blah, ad nauseum.  And let’s not forget the countless blogs and feeds and streams of information constantly flowing in and out of our lives.  

Well, that’s how I feel about it, anyway.  I’m a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of social networking avenues available to me.  All I really wanna do is update one simple interface and have it reach out to whatever/wherever everyone happens to be, because I know it’s important that everybody know what flavor ice cream I’m eating right now.
It’s that emphasis on how important I feel it is that makes me want to streamline the process so that I can spend the least amount of time possible in broadcasting my extremely interesting activities.  Logging into 15 different sites and updating status incessantly is just… consuming.  Time, spiritually, emotionally… the whole nine.  
Enter these feed aggregator connector sites like Ping.fm and Twitterfeed.  These are just a couple of the many, many, many sites dedicated to filling the role of “your one-stop shop for social networking and status management!”  These sites range from the fairly simple (Twitterfeed) to sites like Hootsuite that promote themselves as “professional twitter clients”.  Good lord, there’s a professional Twitter client?  Most of these sites let you interconnect feeds and read them, send them, blog them, push them, pull them… see, this is where my head starts to hurt. 
 
Getting them all to play well together… navigating the maze of connections to avoid things like double-posting or publishing overly-enthusiastic amounts of times is just painful.  Combine this with interconnecting a whole bunch of APIs that don’t wanna play together (even though they say they want to, it just doesn’t always work out.  No means no.) and I’m just like “maybe it’s not worth all this effort.”
But maybe it is worth all this effort… I must have thought so because I plowed through and signed up for some ridiculous amount of sites (which I have no doubt will flood me with plenty of ‘updates on how awesome their service is’ over the next year) in an effort to consolidate my modest little internetwork (that’s my phrase btw – you can’t steal it.  Okay, fine, you can steal it.)  
The final solution?  Twitterfeed to push my blog(s) to Twitter, and then push everything from Twitter out to things like LinkedIn, Buzz, Facebook (thought Yakket), etc.  Twitter’s interface is simple, fast, and easy, and there’s an app for that.  So that solves things nicely.  For now.  Until something breaks.
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Technorati still a player…?

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Back in the day, Technorati used to be something of a player in the blogosphere… of course, this was back when blogs were nowhere near as common and the question really was “Why should I even start one?”  

Once the world started to realize the amusement-factor of blogging and commercial interests started to realize how effective they are as a marketing tool, well, then we really started to see some exciting new communities and tools crop up.  One of these was Technorati. 
I was a big proponent of being involved with Technorati in those days, but it seems that their relevance seems to have waned in favor of the nine point six billion social-networking sites and site aggregators out there.  I mean, there’s really no shortage of websites that will take your feed and combine it with countless variations of information… it’s actually pretty interesting.  Feedly is a great example of this… and I’m a big fan.  Now, granted, they don’t quite do what TR was doing – putting together content based on relevance and authority – but they haven’t done much at all for years and years.
So the question remains, is Technorati still a player?  Is it still relevant, or does it join the masses of obsolete social media concepts that had their day in the sun but have since been eclipsed by the onslaught of people doing exactly the same thing?
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Finally. Social networking done right.

Really, social networking via the morass of different websites is just… wrong.  Really, there should be a unifying, underlying network that connects all these different sites and networks into one giant interconnected web.  Like the interweb.  Yeah. 

Enter FOAF and XFN.  Old-school precursors to Google’s new Social Web API, which is in and of itself a pretty darned cool step forward.  There’s lots of resources on FOAF, XFN, and the Social Web API, so go hit up Google and knock yourself out.  If you can’t see the implications of these technologies, then I know a sheepherder that’ll take good care of you. 

I, for one, am going to thank Ryan Porter for showing me this so many years ago (before MySpace and all that noise).  At the time I definitely saw the potential, but I wasn’t on-point enough to see where it was going.  Now, many years later, it’s all just so painfully obvious.  So kudos to you, RAP, for being one far-sighted guy.  Hope you’re still surfing the Government Cut, dude!