Socialize your way

            After reading “Overly social networks” article by Jim Rapoza in the recent issue of eWeek magazine I decided to write my own overview of the issue.

I am an outgoing person and have a wide range of interests.  These two characteristics of my personality gave me a benefit of being able to communicate to people of various backgrounds.  I’ll say more, I have about 400+ contacts in my address book.  I just never delete contact information because I learned from my personal experience that this is a really small world.

My address book is a good representation of the different angles of my life.  For example, my business contacts can range from a small bookstore owner to a successful internet startup CEO.  My favorite city places can have local Indian restaurant and a fancy Italian place on Rodeo Drive. Not to mention my calendar can have events of a completely un-related nature. It is obviously hard to keep those things organized in a way that will be convenient to me.

In recent years I started using social networking communities such as LinkedIn or Facebook as a way of keeping in touch with people I know.  Also I use web sites such as Going or CitySearch to track events that I attend and places where I hang out.  Unfortunately, there is no service I could find that will allow me to organize all of those items in a way I want. While I agree with Jim when he says The ideal fix to this issue is to make it possible to filter our friends into specific groups; for example, I could have personal friends, co-workers, business contacts, readers I correspond with and acquaintances.  I think he is missing a very important concept of grouping people, places, groups, and events regardless of the entity type. For example if I hang out with my co-workers in “Cafe des Artistes every Friday I might want to add this place to my co-workers related group. At the same time this is a not bad French restaurant and they have pretty good drinks selection so I would also add it to My Favorite Places category.

We yet to see a social networking service that will give power of organizing stuff to people in a way they want. The main challenge, in my opinion, is to make this service concrete and simple enough for people to understand and accept.