Tala Ko

Posts Tagged ‘social networks

I ended my last entry with a cautionary remark about doing both integration and aggregation with your social networks.
To illustrate what would happen, let’s say you’ve integrated by configuring your Twitter to send tweets to Livejournal, and blip.fm to send blips to Twitter — effectively making LiveJournal an aggregator for both blip.fm and Twitter. Then you integrate further by setting ping.fm — say, in your excitement that such a service existed, you weren’t thinking — to post to Twitter, Livejournal, and Jaiku. Then — in more excitement — you set your Jaiku to aggregate LJ, Twitter, blip.fm, and ping.fm.
If you’re still with me, you’ll know that your LJ will now display blips, pings, and duplicate tweets, because of ping (hey, the web’s a musical place). And, your Jaiku will now display duplicate LJ entries (one via LJ and one via ping), triplicate tweets (one via LJ, ping, and Twitter each), triplicate blips (one each via Twitter and LJ, plus the actual blip) and quadruplicate pings (one each of the pinged services plus the actual ping).
Basically, whoever wants to know what’s new with you by going to Jaiku (first music, then rhymes with Jaiku; the record producer will be here any minute now) will read what’s up — two, three, or four times. More, depending on how many services you integrate and/or aggregate without thinking, (especially if your integrator can send directly to your aggregator). That’s what’ll happen unless either service is programmed to recognize and weed out duplicates.
If you don’t choose just one, these services that are supposed to organize for you will require some organization from you, defeating their purpose entirely.
I integrate Clipmarks into my LJ and WordPress blogs. For my clips to show up on Tumblr, without duplicating, I had to choose which blog Tumblr would aggregate: LJ, or WordPress? I chose WordPress because any Tumblr reader of mine wouldn’t really be deprived of a non-clip LJ entry.
Now, if I wanted Tumblr to aggregate Clipmarks directly, I would have to disable the integration with WordPress — but I don’t want to, because I think the clips are a great supplement to readers of my WordPress blog. You see? (I’ll understand if you don’t.)
To sum this second part up:
Web life with integration OR aggregation: Send a ping-like integrative post to everywhere you post. Log off. / Post on all your different networks, knowing it will all be aggregated later. Log off.
Web life with blind integration AND aggregation: Post and ping. Go to anything you’ve set to aggregate and delete duplicates one-by-one. Log off.
Web life with somewhat organized integration AND aggregation: Post. Take note of all integration/aggregation activity. Integrate those that aren’t aggregated yet. Aggregate those that aren’t integrated yet. Cross-post if you must. Weed out duplicates and fix settings. If you can’t handle it anymore, wait for the rise of a social network aggregator aggregator and sign up. Repeat. (It is now nearly impossible to log off.)
Before I close and go on to part three, I’ll leave you with these suggestions. How do you choose between integrating or aggregating?
Choose integration if you are a member of various networks and post the same content across all networks.
Choose aggregation if, like me, you post different content on different networks. Stop cross-posting selected content and just give each network your aggregator’s URL. To say any more at this point would be to preempt Part 3.
I’ve noticed that some form of online social network integration and/or aggregation is getting cooler and cooler. Given the nature of the Web, that little insight of mine is already old news to everyone else — that’s evidenced by the increasing number of services that offer some form of cross-posting, link-sharing, automatic-adding, or whatever they call it, to an online service that they don’t run.
Let’s examine this whole thing, shall we?
So I don’t confuse you (or myself), think of an integration service as one remote control that simultaneously changes channels for multiple TVs, so they all display your favorite show. Think of aggregation as the opposite — one TV screen that displays all your different shows at once.
Some sites offer integration alongside whatever it is you do there, making sure that whatever you post, upload, or clip there will also appear elsewhere. Want other people to read that CNN.com article? Look for the “Share” link at the bottom to send it through Mixx, Digg, Facebook, stumbleupon, del.icio.us, reddit, and MySpace.
Now similarly, some sites will aggregate for you, so that they automatically appear with other content you’ve already created there. For instance, if you have a Tumblr, you can set it to import your Twitter and WordPress content, and it will appear between what you tumble.
There are super-sites, however, that are devoted entirely to integration or aggregation. Ping.fm allows you to post content from your preferred location (browser, instant messaging client, mobile phone, etc.) to multiple networks. To make sure that everyone you know online — whichever social network they prefer — gets word of how you feel about school, what happened when you saw your crush at church, or this pervert who tried to feel you up on the train, send one ping.
An aggregation-only service like Jaiku or Friendfeed, meanwhile, is the catchall to make sure that (1) you keep track of what you’ve posted where and (2) everyone you know who’s online on any network can do the same. Remember that CNN.com article? If you Digged it, you also fed it to your Friendfeed, along with that blog post you made about the guitarist in the praise band.
To sum this first part up:
Web life before integration: Post a blog entry at Blogger. Log in to Livejournal; copy-paste Blogger entry so that LJ friends can read. Log in to Xanga; copy-paste Blogger/LJ entry so that Xanga friends can read. Log in to WordPress…

Web life after integration: Send a ping. Blogger, Livejournal, Xanga, etc. friends get to read.

Web life before aggregation: Give fellow Twitter users your Twitter URL. Give fellow Livejournal users your LJ URL. Give fellow Multiply users your Multiply URL…
Web life after aggregation: Give everyone just one URL (probably your Friendfeed).

Pretty handy, right? You’ve saved yourself time and energy; now you can log off and do something in the real world (which you will probably blog about later). Yay!
Please stay on long enough to get this warning, though, one I wish someone had given to me before I dove in: choose only one. It has to be integration or aggregation, one or the other, because doing integration+aggregation may send your offline life into a vegetative state. Things will get annoying, if not really confusing.
Stay tuned for Part 2.