Why I started
About a year ago I began to hear about Web 2.0 applications and social networking. People said that the future belonged to Web 2.0 and that the individuals who mastered it would control their niches. At the time I was beginning to form a plan to develop a business network using the web. I believed the buzz and began to explore social networking. I joined Facebook. I set up a Twitter account. I started this blog as a personal statement of who I am.
I can’t say that I had a vision of where I planned to go or how the pieces fit together. I was borrowing visions from others who seemed to know what was going on with the expectation that things would sort themselves out along the way. I am an optimist after all. The blog is coming along; the business network or even the social network, not so much.
My experience so far
So how is it going? I wish I could say that social networking is working for me. Or that I could even understand what it would mean for it to be working for me. When I say social networking, I mean Twitter and Facebook. Right now I have a Facebook account and two Twitter accounts.
Facebook has produced some results meaning that I have connected with people from my past and exchange some casual information with them. I know things that I didn’t know before about people who weren’t in my thoughts until Facebook. That isn’t a bad thing but neither is it a good thing because my relationships with them are just above superficial. I have picked up some people that I have work relationships with now and some with whom I had previous work relationships. I have not picked up any new relationships from Facebook and I haven’t developed deeper and richer relationships or pushed them in different directions because I don’t see how to do that.
Twitter is quite different. As soon as I joined, people started following me. I have no idea why. Somehow I selected some people to follow. I don’t even remember how but some of them were the people that decided to follow me. Maybe that’s the reason they followed but what escapes me is what benefit anyone has from having me follow them. I have found some people that I respect and they often Tweet links to web posts- either theirs or someone they recommend. Occasionally, I Tweet with some kind of status update- like anybody will care but I feel bad about not joining the community. Twitter advocates suggest that you can ask questions and someone will answer. Not true in my experience. Apparently you can search for Tweets with keywords but so far I haven’t been able to rouse myself to the effort.
What was I expecting?
I was expecting something unexpected. I don’t know how else to put it because Web 2.0 is supposed to open a whole new world of social networking. It actually turns out to be not unlike regular networking at which I suck.
What am I missing?
One of the life lessons that I keep rediscovering is that most of my limitations are self imposed. I have stepped up the effort in many areas of my life and pushed myself to learn and do different things. I think that part of my problem is that my vision of the potential of Web 2.0 is limited by what I know right now. The people that are advocating Facebook, Twitter and other Web 2.0 vehicles see farther or pick up a richer color spectrum that I am missing. Has anybody broken through this barrier and taken themselves to a higher level with Web 2.0 and having done that provide me some clues about what efforts or techniques I might use to break through myself? If so drop some breadcrumbs in my comments.