One of my good Twitter pals posted an exceptionally good tweet the other day. I’m not going to repeat it word for word, but it was something like, “I usually love people, but sometimes I want to bite them in the face.”
Hey, we’ve all been there. I chuckled. Great tweet.
Then my email dings. I get this friend’s Brightkite updates via email because he is local. I checked it. Same message. Throughout the day, I checked Facebook and FriendFeed. The same tweet was over there in the form of status updates.
The kicker was later seeing that tweet as a LinkedIn status update. I’m a pretty laid back guy, but I’m sure not going to post something like that as my “professional” status update.
So, what’s the problem here? This friend of mine uses a service called Ping.fm to update all of his services at once. This leads to two big problems: redundancy and context.
The Redundancy Problem
I follow this person (and many others) on several services. When the same message is broadcast over all of them, there are serious duplication problems. One of the reasons I loved FriendFeed was that it was a potential fix to this problem. You could now follow all of someone’s feeds in one place. But with the redundancy problem, FriendFeed becomes a mess.
Some folks will publish a blog post, tweet about it, digg it, save it to del.icio.us, Stumble it, then roll it and smoke it. So, the same post hits my stream a half dozen times. I know I can hide stuff in FriendFeed, but that involves a lot of per-contact strategy just to make FriendFeed usable again. Usually, I’d rather just skip it.
The Context Problem
Context is a big issue, too. Brightkite is a social network based on your location. So, any messages you post are affiliated with the last place you “checked in”. So, did my friend want to bite people just in that location? I think not, but that message is now affiliated with that place.
And LinkedIn? Are recruiters really into face biters? I’m guessing not.
Where I’m Redundant
I’m a bit guilty on two counts. I have Twitter update my Facebook status. I do this because I used to have very separate groups of contacts on Facebook and Twitter. Also, I wasn’t much of a Facebook fan and that was an easy way to keep that network updated. The truth is, ideally only some of my tweets would go into Facebook, but there’s no good way to manage that from within Twitter (which is where I update).
Also, I’ll occasionally tweet about a blog post I just wrote. I save this for posts I’m particularly proud of and thing more people than my small crew of RSS readers would like.
I’m going to revisit how I update Facebook. The tweeting of blog posts I don’t mind as much because I follow a lot of people on Twitter who’s blog feeds I don’t subscribe to. People seem to be good about really only tweeting links they want a response to.
But folks, for the most part let’s kill the automation and use these services as they were intended to be used
If not, I’ll bite your face.