The Current State of Social Networks (Visual)

The demands of my professional day job have left me insufficient time to post anything with weight and depth (well, the weight and depth I usually post, anyway). So I thought I would share a little infographic on the current state of social networks. The graphic shows participation, growth and decline in some of our favorite online haunts. Kudos to BeholdingEye photography for the slick visual design.

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Greplin: Search Your Own Personal Cloud

If you have an iPhone, you are familiar with Spotlight Search. If you have a presence in the cloud, then the cloud-counterpart to Spotlight might be Greplin (link here). Akin to Spotlight’s ability to search  your entire hard-wired iDevice memory and across applications for the keyword you specify, Greplin let’s you search through all of your public and private content across the cloud-based services you hook up to your Greplin account.

News of Greplin first broke back in March, 2010. Now Greplin is available in private beta. Submit your registration at the link above and select the on-line haunts you wish to connect: Facebook; Gmail; Twitter; DropBox; LinkedIn; Google Calendar; and Google Docs. A pro account, for the measly sum of $45 per year, allows you to also connect to Salesforce, Evernote, Box, Basecamp, and Google Voice transcripts. How totally awesome is that?

If you have been working at all in the cloud, participating in the soc nets, and curating and sharing content, how can Greplin NOT be a winner? I repeatedly find myself searching within the various sites I use for old links or content that I had forgotten to star or favorite or otherwise file in an easy to find place. Not all sites archive. Not all search functions are up to my standards. No more – now all I will need to do is remember that the information had something to do with semantic search or the conference I am supposed to attend in six months and, with Greplin, I’m off to the races.

This is yet another piece in the puzzle-theme I am pressing here in the Studio today: you have to streamline and organize your on-line life. With Priority Inbox, you can take control of the important Gmail tasks first. With relevance filters, you can cut right to the newest information on the Web about your preferred topics. And now, with Greplin, you can quickly put your finger on the fruits of your on-line research and networking efforts – giving you that much power over the most treasured commodity of our time – relevant data.

Chart Love: Compare Twitter/Facebook/Buzz

Those crazy Lifehacker guys are so good at taking complex information and organizing it! Take, for example, which social network to spend your valuable time in – apparently, there’s a chart for that. In their post “Which Social Network Is Right For You?” (link here), Kevin Purdy breaks down some of the features of Twitter, Facebook and Buzz and compares them, complete with color coding.  “Comprehensive” would be an understatement. Here is the chart from his article (you may need to CTRL + to zoom a bit for the text, or hit link above to original post to get a full-res image). Bear in mind that “green” is good – feature available, “yellow” is feature may be available but difficult to implement and “red” is you can’t find it here:

In a nutshell, Facebook’s plus is that it is relatively easy to identify friends, while the drawback is the convoluted privacy and other settings and issues surrounding same. Twitter also is a favorite based on its simplicity and ease of use. Downside is reliance on confusing array of third party applications and the noisy firehose of a substantial follow list, unless list controls are employed. Lifehacker’s jury is still out on Buzz mostly because it is too new and is undergoing some sizeable changes as it progresses. But it is agreed that, despite its flaws with respect to integration and privacy, Buzz represents its own animal (albeit with a strong resemblance to Friendfeed) and deserves attention.

I pretty much agree with their analysis of the sites. Pay attention to the ability to send feeds elsewhere (RSS), remote posting and notice options if you don’t plan to regularly reside on the sites themselves.