Social Media and Saturation

April Fools Day. What better time to start clearing off the accumulated news chum. Here are some interesting articles I’ve seen over the last few weeks related to social media and media consumption. In this week where Facebook has been in the news, and #DeleteFacebook has been in the news, much of this is quite timely and relevant.

  • Your Media Diet. One of the sites I follow, Boing Boing, brought this to my attention: Faris Yakob of the creative agency Genius/Steals developed a “Media Diet Pyramid” modeled after the USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid. The basic question is: What is the appropriate amount of each type of media to consume? This pyramid attempts to answer that.
  • Types of Facebook Users. With all the buzz about Facebook, here’s an interesting question: What type of Facebook user are you? The article identifies four types: The Relationship Builder, The Selfie, The Town Crier, and The Window Shopper. I think I fall into the “Town Crier” model, as most of my posts are shares of articles or from this blog, with a few comments on things (mostly correcting information). What are you?
  • Where Next? So you’re thinking about deleting Facebook. One big problem: Where do you go next? Here’s a list of services that supposedly provide the same services as Facebook. I’ve had one friend recommend MeWe, although I haven’t explored that yet.
  • Facebook Friction. One of the reasons that it is so hard to leave Facebook is that it is integrated everywhere. Sites “simplify” your life by allowing you to log in with your Facebook, and if you delete your Facebook, that account goes away as well — with all its history. All your friends are on Facebook and not elsewhere, so if you delete, you won’t stay in touch with them. Here, FB has taken a lesson from bank bill-pay systems: when you use your bank and define all the people you pay, it is too much work to leave as you would have to redefine everything again. Same thing with browsers and bookmarks. These companies know you are lazy.
  • We’ve Been There Before. This is nothing new. Here’s an interesting exploration of why fandoms left Livejournal, and where they would go after Tumblr. Social Media is cyclical. From Usenet to Livejournal to Myspace to Facebook to Instagram. All move from “Hot” to “Not”. I started on LJ before its heyday (2004), and continued on it until they went to Russian terms of service (and my account is still there; I just never post anymore). But that article points out something quite relevant to FB: “it wasn’t enough for LiveJournal to do some things that people described as deal-breakers—there were some design things, there were some policy things, basically everyone really soured on LiveJournal around the same time—but it wasn’t enough for that to happen; there also had to be a viable alternative.” Right now, what is the viable alternative to FB: a place with the right mass of people and users, the right communication and sharing tools. There isn’t one. It is a fragmented market.