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StaffIncremental Blogger"Social media" services that I really use

“Social media” services that I really use

Every now and then I take inventory about which products and services I really use and rely upon.

In terms of the latest trending products, my list is pretty thin.

At the top is my blog, which you’re reading here. It’s still my number one way of archiving my thoughts and experiences that other can read. It’s meant to be public and shareable.

Next up is Twitter. Some call it a micro-blogging service, some liken it to IM. Both are right. It’s a must have for pushing out small posts as well as keeping track of what’s going on.

In third place are social news sites, such as TechMeme and Thredr. TechMeme I think most people know about. It clusters conversations taking place in the blogosphere and various media sources. Thredr is something I started, which is like TechMeme, but tracks topics that TechMeme doesn’t cover, such as news around R/C vehicles, Apple, Tablet PCs, Microsoft developers, digital photography, and soon Robotics. I check each of these three of four times a day to see what’s going on.

I’m also a fan of video. So I often check what’s going on with Qik as well as a couple other sites, though I’ve noticed that I’m doing this less and less. I’m getting too busy I think.

What’s most notable at least to me, is that Facebook doesn’t make my list. It’s too much of a walled garden to be interesting and there’s tons of junk applets that make it too MySpace-ish for me. I wouldn’t notice if Facebook fell off the edge of the earth. I’m not alone in this. Many of my friends that were giving Facebook a try have pretty much stopped using it too. No doubt students will still use it because of its strong social networking value, but for the rest of us, it’s not all that.

Likewise, I gave FriendFeed a short spin. Outside of the fact that I could see it becoming the epicenter for many online conversations, I don’t have that much desire to sit and chat and page through lists of….stuff.

Lastly, I might throw in an honorable mention to Linked In. Whereas Facebook reminds me of a highly organized high school event (that would place MySpace in the middle school social rung I guess), Linked In has maintained a fairly professional feel about it. I don’t use it all that much, but every now and then I get a link request and visit the site. It does maintain a network for me that’s a step above my email contact list in terms of who I might know. My email list is still more valuable overall, but still, I see how Linked In fits in.

What’s all this mean? Who knows. Since I often guess wrong on trends like this, I’ll use reverse psychology and predict that Facebook is going to be acquired for more money than any other startup and that Twitter and TechMeme–both services which I think have the greater value–will continue on their independent paths.

Update: Robert Scoble argues the locked-in feeling I get with Facebook has great value to Microsoft.

Loren Heiny (1961 - 2010) was a software developer and author of several computer language textbooks. He graduated from Arizona State University in computer science. His first love was robotics.

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15 years ago

All day people have been questioning why I listed Linked In. Turns out most people use it like I do–they don’t. They get an occassional email from someone that wants to be added to your network, you add them, and then that’s that.

At least Linked In isn’t polluted by the spammers…or at least it hasn’t been for me.