Web 2.0 Wednesday: Create Some Mobile Learning
Telling Your WOW Stories with Social Media

Social Media Apps I've Tried to Love but Can't

Chris Brogan has given me permission to choose the social media tools that work for ME and I have to say it's a relief. I've been feeling guilty about not being able to get into these:

  • Twitter--sorry Britt, Bud and Jeff, you had me convinced to give Twitter a shot, but it never quite did it for me. For one thing, I have online ADD and to get anything from Twitter it seems like I need to have it running all the time. The last thing I need is constant opportunities to stop focusing on the task at hand to check out random articles and videos.  Although great info, they were getting in the way of me actually getting anything accomplished. Plus I never got the hang of sharing my own tweets. It always felt like I was throwing random facts and thoughts into the void, usually with no response. It was like talking to myself in front of hundreds of people and I always had a feeling that they were looking at me strangely.
  • Google Reader--Sue Waters made it clear that I'm a social media loser if I don't do Google Reader and I know all the great reasons why I should like it, but there's something about the interface that overwhelms me and doesn't work with my brain. Give me my little Netvibes boxes to reduce the visual clutter. Plus, if I don't click on a tab in Netvibes I don't have to know how far behind I am in my reading. Every time I opened up Google Reader my heart sank at the 1000+ unread posts.
  • FriendFeed--speaking of visual clutter, FriendFeed is another one that feels like a vast tsunami of information washing over my brain. I know that Sarah Perez says that "lifestreaming" may replace blogging, but honestly, I need some context for what I'm reading and FriendFeed doesn't seem to do that for me. My eyes just blip right over random collections of del.icio.us tags, Tweets and Facebook updates.
  • Facebook--I have an account. I go on once every few weeks or so, but as a daily companion or portal to my online life, Facebook is a failure for me. This is incredibly ironic, given the popularity of this post. I may try to continue to find the love, but it's not a priority for me right now.

You may think less of me now for my confession, but I'm one who believes that confession is good for the soul. I'm feeling a little lighter now, happy to have shared with you my dirty little social media secrets. Thanks to Chris for inviting me to be OK with letting some of these go. 

Maybe you'll be willing to share the apps that you've tried to love but can't--let me know in comments or feel free to write a post and send me a link. I'd love to know that I'm not alone here.


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I'm right there with you on Facebook. For me, Facebook is an informational profile page that might allow students or staff at my institution learn more about who I am and what I do - that's it. I will say that I'm a big fan of twitter and Google Reader, but I also strongly believe that in this amazingly vast wonderland of social media and all of the tools that go with it, we *HAVE* to pick and choose the tools that work best for US. Not the tools everyone tells us we have to use, but the tools that work best for our own needs.

Oh Michele - you're breaking my heart. Facebook is the best! I never thought I'd get into the status updates, but now I just can't stop. It's been a great way for me to get to know my online network of friends and colleagues, even though we don't talk every day. When I finally meet them in person, I already feel like we've shared so much.

But I feel you on Twitter. Just can't seem to get into it.

I'm right there with you on Twitter and Facebook, Michelle. I participate in both, but always in a reactive mode. I can't say that I've gotten value out of either. But then I haven't tried all that hard, either.

I LOVE Twitter and Google Reader, but I'm so with you on Facebook and Friend Feed... they just don't do anything for me.

3 of 4 for me. I do use Google Reader every day, but the others...?

Twitter I use every now and then, but not too often. Can't seem to slow down enough to add some random thought. However, there are times when it is useful: I need some information and want to throw the question out there for a lot of people.

Facebook: I, too, have an account, but never use it. Tried it but didn't get any real value out of it.

FriendFeed: I recieve a daily email from them with all the news. Most of the time I delete it. If I have an extra cycle I will read it and I sometimes find some good information - but not enough to be converted.

;*chuckling* re-Google Reader. I think the key is its all about our personal learning network and what works for us as individuals. But being personal we do take it personal and love to stick up for which tools we like to use e.g. Bit like supporting a sporting team.

Google Reader is one of my most important tools, but the others? I'm with you. I try them regularly, I mean everyone else likes them, but I really struggle. I never know what to say. When I have asked business questions I've never gotten an answer. I do banter a bit with people in a more social way, but find it is distracting from the things I need to be focusing on.

I suspect Twitter and Facebook are highly dependent on who is in your network and how much they use the tools.

I'm with you on Facebook, and I'm in the age demographic that it was originally targeted to (in college when it launched). I go there once in a while, but I can't spend any longer than about 10 minutes before I'm looking for something new.

Thank you Michele! I can't deal with Twitter either. In fact, your post may have given me the courage to delete my account.
I am a Facebook hound and the status updates there are one of the most fun social media tools in my world (not to mention LOLcats and Texas Hold 'Em poker apps). I agree with Rosetta that its allowed me to get to know people much better when I don't have a chance to talk to them.
I also love Google Reader, but have never tried (or even heard of) Friend Feed.

GReader: I love it. It's like having a personalized library. It is the first and only feed reader I have ever used, so it is possible that there is something better that I might like.

Twitter: I was not too keen on at first but now that I have a desktop application (twhirl), it updates automatically so it is more like a chat.

Facebook: I use itprimarily for keeping in touch so I know there are a lot of features that I don't even pay attention to.

Friend Feed: I have to agree with you on this one.

Hi Michele
I so agree confession is good for the soul (old Catholic me!).

I do enjoy Facebook given my own job i.e., in higher ed/performing arts. It's a way to keep up with graduates/colleagues who seem to have taken to it in a big way.

Twitter ... jury is out still on its ultimate usefulness for me, but it was a great way to post (via mobile phone) small bite-sized updates during my recent trip and to have them aggregated into Friend Feed which, I have to say is really doing it for me. It's a one-stop shop for my social media now.

Google Reader, still the best but like you I get all sweaty-palmed when I see so many 'unreads.' This is not GR's fault of course but mine ... and I use folders to assist the sorting process.

I'm liking Feedly more and more these days. Easy on the eye and well designed.

And finally, with so much 'brand-choice' these days, it's a question of finding out what works and using that till something better comes along.


Kia ora Michele!

I sympathise with you and admire your tenacity in trying to come to grips with a Web 2.0 app.

I play many different instruments. Most of them are string instruments from the fiddle to the guitar. Decades ago I bought a tenor banjo with a view to learning to play it. I tried and I tried, and as proficient as I was on all my other string instruments, I just could not get the banjo to work for me. I loved the sound of the banjo and was quite depressed when I eventually sold it.

People are like that though. Y'know, your post on Facebook is interesting, for when you posted it you recorded a bit of history of teen trends. Facebook is no longer the prefered teen app, it being superceded by Bebo. Teens had already discarded MySpace in favour of Facebook at that time. And before that, Friendster had simply perished. What next? Obviously teens had tried all these apps, in their droves, and chucked them in favour of others because they couldn't get them to work for them.

It seems that you are no different from many, including the teenagers, who find that things just don't work for them.

I wonder if this is inherently a human trait in the same way as homophily is?

Ka kite

Nice post. Great comments.

Facebook has not grabbed me. The game invitations, adverts and other rubbish drove me crazy. I think I like a tool that allows me to be in control. Facebook has too many variables.

Twitter is a weird one. I use it now and then but it has not become addictive or a necessity. I think that being an old fart makes me a fan of the blog more than anything. I like the old blog. It's like a favourite old chair or a comfortable cushion. Twitter still hasn't snared me as yet. I can love it or leave it.

Google Reader is a tool that I do like yet lately i have been trying a software client based reader ~ NetNewsWire. Scanning through the posts is rapid, so rapid. Waiting for browser screen redraws and updates is so slow in comparison. I do love Google Reader's sharing capabilities.

I wonder whether or not I have opened a FriendFeed account. I have opened far too many accounts here and there. Who knows?

Cheers, John.

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts on which apps haven't made the grade for you. It looks like Facebook and Twitter are the tools that most of us haven't really made friends with, while I'm alone in my love for Netvibes. :-)

I think Ken makes a good point that moving from app to app may be a human trend, although I think it's because we haven't found the tools that offer us the most utility. Most of us have not left email and I think that's because it still is fairly functional.

And John, I must be an old fart too because RSS and blogging are my two favorite social media tools--the ones I couldn't live without. Maybe that's another post some time.

I'm with you on Netvibes. It is usually my first port of call in the morning.

Isn't it fascinating what we all find useful or not. I love Google Reader and Twitter but I cannot get on with Cocomment. I felt quite disadvantaged by this during the 31 Day comment challenge but I have clung on to co.mments

Maybe you should have written a post on what you do use. You've crossed off all the biggies. What's left?

Interesting post, and timely! I have been jumping around a bit - more out of habit, than real use and struggling with a fair amount of apps in the Web 2.0 world. Zeroing down on the few useful ones isn't that difficult, however. The ones that you use the most are the ones that make sense.

I stopped using Google Reader and have long since settled for NetNewsWire (NNW) - it does 99% of the things I would like with a RSS reader. I am in full agreement with John Larkin @ NNW. NNW allows blogging through its interface and it is fast and customisable. Google Reader, as far as I know, doesn't support secure feeds, which I need.

Facebook, after its initial fun has since faded (in utility as well as the fun part). I think Facebook's utility is also a factor of who comprises your friend list. That perhaps determines the clutter (or not). Twitter - I push myself to see how I can use it.

Add me to list of old farts, then, blogging and RSS still remain the two most used, most useful tools apart from the listing ones (goodreads, flixter, diigo and such - used not so much to share as much as to keep your lists)

Thank you for posting your entry. While I love my Google Reader, I have been thinking that I might like a Pageflakes visual approach better. That way, I'm hoping, that I could read the materials that I know I really want to keep track of...and then browse when I have time all the other feeds. Sometimes I add something to my Reader that I love to read but it is only indirectly connected to my needs and as time gets short, I don't want to wade through these. Pageflakes might make that easier.

RSS is the best thing that has happened and I just have to keep searching for the most effective way to support my style of reading and browsing.

I'm also delighted that you wrote about Twitter. Gosh knows I've tried. But I, too, feel like I type in the most random things just to try and feel like I'm not just lurking. When I've posted a request, it usually goes unanswered.

I took that lack of responses to mean that I'm not in the "right" personal network because they aren't interested in what I'm interested in. But darn it if I can find the right group of people with which to Twitter. I'm not giving up on the app, but on my ability to find folks that I can interact with.

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