Meta-Social Media Services Compared
CC: meta mini moo by darkmatter.
While taking a look at this list of social search engines compiled at the TopRank Online Marketing Blog it dawned on me: It's about meta-social media. I've been encountering tools that fit the description all over the place but I couldn't find an apt term to describe them. Today I will introduce and compare meta-social media services.
What are Meta-Social Media? Let me give you two well known examples:
Twitter has been established long ago measured in Internet time but it's a transitional form. It's 50/50 a social media and meta-social media site or service. FriendFeed is two thirds meta and one third "simple" social site. We have several new less known meta social media sites now out there but let show you what I mean based on those sites you know.
First wave social sites like StumbleUpon, Delicious or Digg have one thing in common inspite of huge differences: They collect links to original stories.
Simple social sites create value or conversation around stories from original sources. They assist users in finding out what's truly important or high quality by managing the wisdom of crowds. We have seen that often it's the ignorance of crowds but to some extent this model works.
The most important factor from the user or contributor perspective is: You have to actively spend time and effort to participate and add content to those sites. This had some huge impact on the whole Web, just think of the new aristocracy or rather meritocracy of social media power users.
Now compare those to Twitter:
You don't have to add original sources to Twitter, you can but you also can link to your social media submissions elsewhere.
This way Twitter collects, fosters and focuses conversation from several places while it still works like first wave or non-meta social sites: You submit originals (that is direct links to original sources, without other social media interfering) and talk about them as well. While this combined approach is fine it also adds workload and it makes you link-hop. You get a link to Digg on Twitter and then you get to see the original. So Twitter is half social media site half a hub connecting other social sites.
Take a look at FriendFeed and you notice the difference: It collects social media submissions from elsewhere while still maintaining a one third part of a conversational social media site that collects and assesses original submissions.
You will notice that you need far less effort to make FriendFeed work for you. You don't need to be very active there to get really tailored news and links. Most of the time it works on autopilot. I use FriendFeed much in the same way, as a meta-social site that gives me an overview about what's going on elsewhere. It's largely automated but it adds the right amount of crowd wisdom.
Still there is a problem with Twitter and FriendFeed: You have to spend some of your precious time over there. It adds to the time already spent on the first wave social sites where you add content etc.
sooner or later meta-social media that predominantly organizes information and links contributed elsewhere will rise to popularity.
Those social sites allow you a quick overview of what's going on based on the info added, submitted, collected and assessed elsewhere. So let me move on to an example of a full fledged meta-social media site:
MicroBlogBuzz is a very simple site both from the layout and its purpose: It collects and sorts links shared on several microblogging services like Twitter in a Digg-like manner.
I called these sites social media 3.0 due to a lack of an apt term, but meta-social media is the most logical descriptive term for those. They have several things in common.
- rely on input from other social sites
- are largely automated
- add value by organizing and structuring data
- offer a quick overview
- change your position to a bird perspective
Meta-social sites have advantages for all involved parties:
- Social sites and contributors get additional exposure
- Users save time and effort
- Meta-social sites work on auto pilot so the costs are low
So the rise of these new wave of social media 3.0 (Digg being 1.0, Twitter being 2.0) or meta-social media is inevitable and very useful for all netizens. In the meantime meet me on Twitter and FriendFeed.
Last updated November 17th, 2010: Removed services that no longer worked.