The Evolution of My Social Media Interactions


Tonight, Louis Gray shared his “media consumption workflow”…

As my regular readers know, I am a proponent of the notion that we are in the midst of a profound transformation in media, a seismic shift as the Web becomes “social.” If I’m right, the pace of change is about to accelerate dramatically, as an open Social Web unleashes a wave of innovation as significant as what we saw in 1994 and 1995. This time around, it will be sites, applications, and devices that harness a new “who-you-know” layer of the Internet.

Not surprisingly, as this major wave begins its swell, the suite of social media technologies and tools available to us is evolving rapidly. RSS, readers, blogging, microblogging, aggregators. Facebook, Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Plaxo Pulse, Seesmic, Thwirl, FriendFeed. Keeping up all these things sometimes feels like a full-time job.

As the tools available to us expands, each of us must find his or her own way forward. And, since the core of the transformation is social, we’re probably all well served by sharing our own lessons learned along the way. That’s the spirit behind a post this weekend by one of the rising voices in the blogosphere, Louis Gray, entitled, “My Social Media Consumption Workflow.”

His post inspired me to take a moment to share my own social media workflow — and how it’s been changing.

I confess, I’m a bit of a latecomer to blogging and to RSS. I have not (yet) become a user of a “reader” (other than the lifestream aggregators, which leverage RSS, but abstract that away by surfacing the notion of subscribing to people, rather than content feeds). Before last summer, when we launched Pulse over at my company, Plaxo, I viewed blogs as things that I read and sometimes commented upon, and I was obsessed with using blog search tools, like Google News and Technorati, to see what was being blogged about on subjects I cared about. Soon, I was heading further down the pathway, blogging myself, following hundreds of people’s lifestreams in Pulse, and then, Twitter!

So, how do I start my day now?

I fire up the browser, and open up a series of tabs: my blog, Techmeme, Twitter search engine Summize, Plaxo Pulse, Twitter.

Why my blog first? Advice from Jeremiah Owyang, who, early in my blogging days, encouraged me to take my blog seriously, and to start each and every day looking at the metrics.

Then, Techmeme — to see at a quick glance what the top tech “memes” are. At a minimum, that let’s me know if my day is to be consumed with controversy (as it was early in January during what came to be called “Scoblegate”). It also lets me see emerging stories that are relevant to my readers, and that I might want to embrace and write about. These are typically items related to the opening up of the Social Web, such as when a large player implements OpenID, Oauth, or microformats.

I then quickly pop over to Summize and do searches on my name and my company’s name, again to see if either trouble or opportunity is brewing. I love this tool, and I love how people in the Twittersphere react to outreach from strangers. (I need to do a separate post on the “return of civility” that Twitter is bringing about.)

From there, I head over to the tabs for Pulse and Twitter.

In Pulse, I get the lifestreams of people I know fairly well. The joy comes from seeing stuff from my family, my co-workers, and my real-world friends. Increasingly, though, I am finding key nuggets from people I don’t know all that well, such as seeing whenever Louis Gray comments on a blog that uses Disqus for its comment management.

In Twitter, I never know what I’m going to find. For me, it’s a bit like a party, full of randomness and social play. Many of the people I follow in Twitter I don’t actually know. (Although, over time, I come to feel that I do.) Twitter tells me what’s bubbling up, long before it gets on Techmeme.

One other tool I use, but don’t start my day with, is FriendFeed. It’s and aggregator that is very popular with the A-list bloggers and Twitterati, so it, like Twitter and Techmeme, offers a good insight into rising memes.

Okay, enough for now. Who knows how I’ll be using all this stuff next month, or which new tool will get added to my kit?

9 thoughts on “The Evolution of My Social Media Interactions

  1. Mark Gardner says:

    How come you use Summize to ego-search rather than Twitter’s own keyword tracking?

  2. therealmccrea says:

    Mark, That’s a good question. I confess the answer is mostly ignorance!

    But it’s also the case that I like performing proactive searches on a regular basis for some reason.

  3. The acceleration is already occurring. Back on April 3 I wrote a post entitled “How I Publish” that detailed the interactions between various services that I use. Half of the items in that post were items that I wasn’t using on April 3, 2007, and I have no way to predict that that map will look like on April 3, 2009 – or even on October 3, 2008.

  4. Geoff says:

    Hi John,

    Curious how you use Pulse and Friendfeed as compliments? How would you position Pulse different from Friendfeed?

  5. therealmccrea says:


    Good question. Twitter and FriendFeed help me stay on top of the public discourse of the early adopter and influencer community — and to spot issues and opportunities from the tweets of people I do not know at all.

    In contrast, Pulse is where I curate my piece of the social graph, the people I really know and care about: my family, my friends, and my busines network. Sure, there’s some overlap. But Pulse is where I share stuff privately with exactly who I want to share it, and where I consume incoming content that is shared explicitly by the people I know, who want me to see it and be able to comment upon it.

  6. Deepti says:

    1. First of all I agree with Louis Gray that social web media is the next big revolutionary thing taking place in the ocean of web throughout the globe.
    I myself belong to a very different culture than yours but can still relate easily to the new incarnation of web. It is surely a revolutionary new term in the dictionary of web.
    I can further relate to you as I now start my day the way you used to do at one point of time; opening your blog and switching on to search engines like Twitter and Techmeme to gather relevant information. I am relieved, probably someone big started from where I am today;at least I have a known path to follow…Mentioned in this blog…That too step by step! Thanks though!

  7. […] in April, inspired by a post from Louis Gray, My Social Media Consumption Workflow, I wrote a piece, entitled Evolution of My Social Media Interactions, which sought to capture a […]

  8. […] came across this blog post from 2008 ( which spoke of a profound transformation in media we are in, a “seismic shift as the web […]

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