Social sites come and go. I’ve been active on social media from around 2007. This was already the second or third wave of social media services. At first sites like
were all the rage. They were already almost forgotten by the time I started connecting with people on social media. Digg has replaced Slashdot and MySpace was already more popular than Friendster. I’ve been mostly participating on StumbleUpon and later joined Twitter to move most of my activities there. Finally I abandoned StumbleUpon altogether. In the meantime I joined good old Delicious and use it frequently to this day. I also finally started using my Facebook account.
I even tried Digg in V4 as I hoped it would become finally less obnoxious. My enthusiasm subsided over the years though and I didn’t spend hours a day on any social site anymore. Now, with the start of Google+ I felt reminded of all the hypes of the past. I took part in some of them.
Today I don’t hype social sites anymore.
One of the reasons for my dwindling activity is simply that I have been banned on some sites like Hacker News or Mixx (now defunct). I have been spending countless hours on working for them for free and they were earning money off my “user generated content” aka UGC and the social relations I brought with me. So I am a bit disillusioned.
I got banned on social sites when I started to feel at home there.
Exactly at the moment when I cared I lost temper and got angry at people who wanted to shut me up or who spread racist slurs. I left StumbleUpon on my own accord because I was so fed up with content theft, trolls and the anti-SEO agenda that I couldn’t take it anymore. I haven’t been banned because I was “doing SEO” on these sites as in manipulating them or something.
I was always keen on being a better user than anybody else because I knew that as an SEO specialist I was watched closer than other people. It didn’t work out. My main mistake was that I imagined the sites itself or their teams to be my friends. Then when they started to get ugly I got angry that they were acting on their own behalf and not respecting our friendship. I was honestly disappointed. How can a friend do something like this? I thought.
The problem was that the company that made their money off my work wasn’t my friend.
They took my content but they never paid me. They weren’t supportive and friendly and the minute I didn’t serve their interests anymore they turned against me. That’s nothing personal, it’s just business as usual. This happened to a lot of people everywhere on social media. Many people got banned on Digg or StumbleUpon simply for sharing too much. I, at least, have been banned for being outspoken.
Recently Google+ started to ban users on a massive scale simply for not using their real names.
Facebook does that as well. It doesn’t fit their business model so you are gone. It’s crucial to grasp that social media is not your friend but instead the people you connect with there. You have to move or recreate your contacts from your old site and socialize on the new platform when the old starts to become annoying like both Facebook and Twitter have.
Facebook has been a privacy disaster for a long time and it has annoyed its users with a plethora of technical and interface changes people can’t opt out from. Twitter has become a complicated and noisy site with lots of celebs and automated bots. So I welcomes Google+ in a way. I wasn’t “loving it” fr the sake of the shiny new platform though. Google+ is not my friend.
The people who I meet on Google+ again are my friends and that’s why I care for them not the site itself.
They might scrap Google+ next year like they did with most of the other Google social sites. I already almost forgot to mention Google Buzz. I won’t be sad. Meanwhile I will try to maintain the connections using other tools like mail address books, CRM software and other social sites.
*CC Image by Milivoj Sherrington.