When is it too much?

Scoble has rebelled against the tendency to connect to as many social networking services as is possible.  I find that I have started to resist all the invitations I have received to join the newest business or social networking site that find their way to my inbox.  On the business side alone there are a couple options that include LinkedIn, BizNetwork, Business Warriors and most recently, OpenBC.  On the social side there are services like Plaxo, Friendster, MySpace and Where Are You Now.

I have signed up with a few of these services and there are more and more as time goes on.  This all begs the question when all the options defeat the original purpose these types of services were were provided in the first place.  The point of these services, ostensibly, is to create opportunities for people to connect to each other in meaningful ways.  The problem is that if there are too many options that are not interoperable and people move from service to service like clubbers trying out the newest club then the chance of people actually connecting on a meaningful scale becomes less and less likely.

There is a similar challenge with IM clients.  I have accounts with MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk, AIM and Skype and, using software like Adium, I can connect to all these services with one app and connect to all my contacts at the same time.  Where this becomes a challenge is if I wasn’t using Adium (or software like it) and stuck with one or two IM clients instead.  If that were the case then I wouldn’t be able to connect and chat to people using other platforms.

In a way, all these options work to the detriment of what is supposed to be a networked phase of the Web.

What we need is greater interoperability between the various platforms and services.  When we have that we will move that much closer to a truly networked Web.


Kevin at Real Lawyers Have Blogs has chimed in on Scoble’s post and agrees with him:

Couldn’t agree more. Most LinkedIn requests come from people who are having a tough time finding work. Gee, I wonder why if they are relying on things like LinkedIn.

And crazier yet are companies who encourage their employees to join LinkedIn. Just makes it easy for other companies and headhunters to find and evaluate your employees as potential hires.

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