Way back in January, I asked my readers to explain to me why I should be on Facebook or Twitter.
You can still hear the crickets on that one.....
I am back again asking the same question but I am also going to throw in a few other services - Quechup, LinkedIn, FriendFeed and Second Life. There are a number of others but I will stick to these for now.
If you read Robert Scoble's blog (and for the record, he used to have important things to say. Now, I read his blog just so I can be prepared for the day his ego exceeds the capacity of his cranium. I want to be out of the way when it finally explodes...) he has been touting a whole list of services from Twitter to FriendFeed to GoogleReader to LinkedIn to.....the list goes on. He makes it sound like if you aren't there, you aren't involved in the conversation.
I signed up for Twitter. Nothing.
I signed up for FaceBook. That at least connected me with people but became a tremendous time suck.
I signed up with LinkedIn. Essentially Facebook only more professional (IMO) but I already had FaceBook so I didn't pursue.
So I have stuck with blogging and it seems to have increased my connection to you and you back to me just fine. I am still trying to figure out exactly how Twitter is going to foster a better connection to my audience. Am I just getting to old and dense to get it? You tell me....
One thing I am (albeit reluctantly) getting involved with is Second Life. In fact we will be holding a Windows 2008 Launch event in Second Life in the very near future. I have been debating our Second Life involvement with Zain Naboulsi while at the same time taking over the reigns of IT Evangelism within Second Life. Zain believes that Second Life type worlds are the future of communications and evangelism.
I am quite a bit more skeptical....
Many companies have developed a presence in Second Life. IBM has a massive presence there. Many companies have also exited Second Life. My guess is they have no proof at all that it is doing anything positive for the company. Right now it all seems to very warm and fuzzy and cool and hip and trendy and that might impact sales in the short term but does put money in the bank over the long haul without some concrete evidence proving things are working.
I just wonder if spending my time in Second Life is where you want to spend time as well. I personally think that many of these services, Second Life in particular, are more suited for developer audiences than IT Pro audiences. The whole premise behind Second Life is that you can immerse yourself in a world of your own creation. To create you essentially write code/script to change your avatar, your surroundings, your world. That is exactly what dev types like to do anyway and so it appeals to that group. I am not sure that same model work with IT Pro's though. Again....you tell me.
Now please don't get me wrong. I am not saying that these services have no value at all. My Space re-connected me with people I haven't been in contact with for 20+ years. Facebook did the same. I even connected with a few others through LinkedIn. But in all of those situations the connections were on a personal level. None of it was work/business related. Sure I joined a bunch of work related groups on FaceBook, but I found myself spending a large amount of time just trying to keep up. I also found that I wasn't learning anything really new. I also have enough relationships in my life to manage without heaping on a pile of "friends" (and who the hell decided that perfect strangers could sign up to be my "friend" anyway!?!?!) I can't remember when I even logged onto Facebook last and you know what? I don't have any empty feeling inside....
But I can't help but feel that with all of the press that these services get that I am missing out on something. On the flip side, no one has ever asked my why I am not involved with the services which leads me to believe that you, my audience, aren't there either.
To sum this all up......
I am trying to find the value in being a part of the services and how they will 1) Foster a more connected relationship with my IT Pro Audience and 2) Positively change perceptions of Microsoft.
There is a 3rd option that no one who ever writes about these services ever mentions even though it really is what makes the world go around - Sales. No one cares how well connected to my audience I really am or if customer satisfaction is at an all time high unless people are buying the products. Period.
So again, I am asking for your feedback.
Are you on any of these services?
Are you using them on a personal level or a business level?
Should I be there and where?