Integration, profile exchange, portable social graphs: a lot of new technologies aim at making life easier for anyone who likes to be on more than one social place.
Maybe not really easier.When doing any kind of repetitive action that doesn’t give any direct reward, the user likes to avoid steps and recycle as much as possible of the work done in the first place. So, the “reason why” of portable social graphs and integrated profiles is really useful and desirable. To that, you can also ad that thay allow profiles to be always up-to-date.
Until it comes to consistency.In our everyday life we meet several people and behave differently with all of them. Even when we don’t know a single person very well, we act with him / her on the basis of assumptions and doing so, we always craft our communication to fit the target. We like (and need) to communicate different contents with different methods, based on anyone’s personality. We show love, fear, passion, hate, loathing, friendliness, care, interest and a hundred thousand gradients of these and other emotions to one person, and have another hundred thousand ways to do it, depending on who we are relating to.
Now, here’s the catch.We behave differently because we need to. Speaking in the same way, with the same choice of arguments, gestures, words, colours and metaphors to anyone would cause them not to understand us completely and would make us look very unpopular to many of the people we know.
Social Media makes differentiation harder.When you set up your personal brand (or U.0 brand, to say that with Armano) whether you’re aware of it or not, you choose a way to communicate. When you act differently on Social Media, it's hard to make things work without any efforts. “Acting differently” means “in a non-consistent way”. If your “personal brand” (or your Social Media Personality if you’re not defining yourself as a “brand”) doesn’t fit your non-digital personality you’ll get upset when someone you know reaches you in a context you can’t control. If you are someone on a social network and someone else on another you won’t want the two situations to meet. If you are someone on – let’s say – Bebo and someone else on Facebook: it’ll be hard to manage things when someone from the “other side” reaches you.
That’s why making your life easier sometimes makes your life harder.In my personal experience, I’ve found out that coherence is very hard to manage in the beginning, but it’s very good once you started being coherent. You’ll always have the possibility to reach all of my on-line profiles and find that they match. But I completely understand everyone who doesn’t want (or can’t) be consistent with their “digital” life: differentiating can be a need. And in some cases, it might be worth the effort.
Portable Social Graphs are a great solution. Sometimes.They help you being "connected" and skip some registration work.
- Do people really want to integrate their profiles between different Social Networks?
- Are they really ready to be “a brand”?
- And, if so, is this brand “consistent”, considering that Social Media brings down many barriers of time and space?
- Or might they like to join niche networks and be able to target their communication more precisely?
Photo credit: Torley