Posted July 5, 2007 10:14 am by with 10 comments

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By Roderick Ioerger

Are we inundated yet? Like reality television, social networking is getting to the point where the newness and creativity seems to be losing some of its luster. How many social networking sites can a person really effectively use and enjoy? (even Robert Scoble can’t keep up). Everyday there seems to be some sort of new social network to connect some niche vertical, today it was the baking network, tomorrow who knows? And really at this point who cares? I feel like I know what all my friends, relatives, and even casual acquaintances are doing twenty four seven and clearly they seem to have a pretty good idea what I am up to too.

Is it time to unplug and take a step back away from the social networking world and get back to direct personal communication? While social networks have their positives there seems to be an ever growing exhaustion with the time and effort it takes to maintain them and in the end that maybe the real danger. If the space becomes to full of networks and begins to turn off and wear out its members the space may eventually end up cannibalizing itself.

Like Survivor and American Idol, some social networks are bound to thrive but it seems no matter what the cost, organizations and entrepreneurs are going to continue to develop niche and or second-rate social networks that will never quite touch the success of the original networks. Yet for months and maybe even years we are going to have to go hearing about some new brilliant social network that leverages X, Y, and Zs great ideas so that it can be the next big thing.

I know I for one am worn out, so where do you stand on the social network explosion?

About Roderick Ioerger

Roderick Ioerger is a long time online marketing and travel industry veteran.

  • It truly is inevitable, the more the internet is involved in our daily lives the more society will become lazier. Social networks facilitate laziness like no other. IMO it will only get worse.

    Your right though an individual can only manage but so many accounts. At some point it becomes information overload.

  • I don’t know that the Reality TV comparison really holds up. I definitely agree we’re being constantly bombarded with new social networks each day, that’s obvious. However, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. The more powerful niche networks we have, the better we as marketers will be able to leverage and or target those niches.

    For example, while a lot of design items do well on digg, dzone offers even the geekiest design article or item a chance at some decent traffic. Sure it’s no digg effect but it’s much more targeted. If we as SEOs/SEMs have niche networks that fit our latest topic or article or whatever, that makes our lives a lot easier, IMO.

  • Great post title…really sucked me in!

  • Sam

    I’m sure all of us at the forefront are getting pretty tired of having to take a look at every new social network tool that pops up. I know I am. On the other hand, the majority of people still don’t use social networking software of any kind. Before most people will adopt some kind of new technology, they have to feel like it will be worth it, so people like us go through all the trouble of figuring out which ones are ‘the best.’ Some of the original social networks may someday (blessedly, please, please?) die, or at least drift into the background, but newer SN’s will draw together the best tools and make something that is both useful and customizable, with just the right amount of out-of-the-box features that scaredy-cats will get plenty out of it and innovators can still have fun tweaking it. Like Facebook, maybe. Or maybe some as yet unknown or unseen SN.

    And then of course, something else will come along.

  • Not reality tv. Say it ain’t so.

    When people see sites like Digg and MySpace succeed it’s natural and inevitable that we end up seeing many copycat sites. I agree with SEO Refugee. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as the networks become more niche and focused.

    What I think is important for most of us is to realize we don’t need to participate in every one. As a user join the ones you actually enjoy spending time on. As a marketer spend time getting to know the ones that make sense for your business.

    You don’t need to visit every site on the web and you don’t need to interact with every social site out there. Pick and choose the ones that make sense for you.

  • If they make one just for me… I’ll join it.

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  • I kinda get the feeling that this sort of thing is getting out of control.. but who am i to say.

    its all fun I guess – watching this all evolve.

  • Great topic.

    I think it may be a game of “widgetry”. The more applications available on the network, the more interaction with the member. When a member has 5 scrabble games on the go, over 5 photo albums posted and their “inner circle” of friends readily available, it becomes harder to shake loyalty.

    Another factor will be platforms. As mobility becomes increasingly important, the best interfaces for socializing on the fly will most likely do well.

    A lot of the second tier players are out mainly as acquisition players.

  • I agree with Sam: generally speaking we’re early adopters and so we’re likely more “socially exhausted” than others. The rest of the public will come along and by then I’m sure there will be 1) a financially-driven consolidation amongst venues and 2) an ubiquity to many social enablement tools that deflates the hype and makes them basic “table stakes” for sites to incorporate. Just one example: the Diggesque ranking features popping up everywhere.

    And as Sam mentioned, by then we’ll be on to the Next Big Thing. 🙂