Everyone loves things that are new and novel. (Well, maybe not everyone.) I know that I sure do at least. No where am I seeing this love affair with the new and novel than in the world of social media sites and services. People love sharing the latest thing they’ve found with anyone they can; and that’s cool. But if everyone gets sucked into trying to keep up with the latest and the newest they’re going to miss out on the purpose of the technology in the first place – to create and foster active communities and conversations.
One of the prerequisites of a community is some degree of stability. You’re not going to get to know anyone if people only stick around for a short while because they’re off tasting the latest flavor. I’m a huge Flickr fan and post pretty much every day. A few months ago, while I was in Las Vegas for the New Communications Forum, people were talking to me about Zooomer and I’ll admit it’s pretty cool. But I have almost 1,000 pictures on Flickr, a handful of contacts, several pools I post to, etc. Do I use Flickr because it has specific features that are better than what Zooomer offers? No, I use it because I have connections and enjoy the community. The same is true for hundreds of other sites out there.
I’ve had a number of other conversations recently that have also illustrated this point. One was on a company’s desire to launch a blog to allow interaction with and between customers. They already had a mature and active forum-based community and ultimately recognized that the community they had was more important than the technology on which it was built. (I wish I could remember more details of this conversation – like who I had it with. If it was you, please let me know . . . ) And now, twice in the past three days, in talking with people about various projects and panels, I’ve heard people rat-holing on what’s “cool.” The fact is, what’s cool today probably won’t be tomorrow so find what works for you (or your company or client or friends) and get going.
What’s really cool are the communities and conversations that the technology can help create; and that’s something everyone needs to bear in mind.
[tags]social media, communities, conversation, technology[/tags]