A large percentage of what I heard in conversations at SXSW this year was about social media platform selection. Last year’s conference was focused on location based services like foursquare. This platform has not been as sticky as anticipated, although there is still a strong movement. One piece of resistance seems to come from the discomfort of everyone knowing where we are all the time. Take the Loopt application for mobile phones. You provide your friends with permission and they can track down your current location. You have closed the ecosystem so it is not a live feed to the world but still do you want even your closest circle of friends to know your whereabouts all the time? Talking with my dentist this morning he relayed his experience of using Social Living to attract new clients. His initially saw a surge in potential clients. However, few if any Social Living members continued to do business with him beyond the deal. What if we could go and look at our friend’s location profile and see which dentists they frequented? I suggest that would be a far sticker equation than the Groupon deal of the day. It is still not a complete recommendation but it speaks to a crossroads between Yelp and outright ‘you have to go see ….’ from our friends.
The big take-away was that Facebook is going to cement its place in both the personal and business communities the platform of choice. This is not to say that Linkedin is obsolete. Panelist at SXSW raved about Linkedin’s search ability to track networks and connections. But there appears to be an increased practice to use one platform to manage all of one’s contacts. The former practice of separating our business and personal lives may be returning to a confluence. This clearly brings up more questions, especially for those who use a platform for their personal use in a manner that may diverge from the business values they represent during the day. That said, our digital footprint is only a search engine away from being revealed to the world.
What platform are you using and why?