Our content is becoming decentralized…and we love it.
Most bloggers I know are tangled up in multiple social networks, photo sharing sites, messaging services, networking sites, bookmarking platforms and a plethora of addictive attention-grabbing web services.
The concept of a “web presence” has changed so drastically over the last several years it’s become difficult to tell people “where” you are online. Blogs or personal home pages used to be our single point of existence online. These were the places we could refer colleagues, friends, family, etc if they wanted to see “our website.”
That’s not the case today.
Our lives are now split into dozens of different networks and spread across the internet like strategically placed digital confetti. We are on Facebook to connect with old friends and meet new ones. We are on LinkedIn to find jobs and stay connected to our business contacts. We are on Flickr to share our lives in photos. We are on Twitter because we have five spare seconds in line at the grocery store and saw something funny we need to share with the world. We are on Del.icio.us to keep track of all the amazing links we find and StumbleUpon to share them with the world.
Like a cheesy Zen proverb, we’re everywhere.
This is both frustrating and fantastic at the same time.
The fantastic part can be found in the amazing services we have access to for free. These services have connected old friends, gotten people out of foreign jails and made grandparents smile at newborn baby photos.
The frustrating part is trying to pull it all together. Some sites are friendly and speak to other sites; but most don’t. More often than not, our collection of platforms and services float like little islands unconnected in any meaningful way. We are forced to keep asking the same friends to connect with us on multiple services.
For now, many of us simply link all our networks, sites and services somewhere on our blog (as I’m doing in the right sidebar of this site). It’s not ideal, but until someone figures out how to bridge our isolated islands in a meaningful way, it’s what we’re forced to do.
What do you think? Will we end up with connected islands?
Photo by Harris Graber