Frustrated By Feature Choices?

by Jay Deragon on 08/26/2008

Relationship Economy….FeaturesThe “too much information” complaint isn’t unique to to any one social networking site rather the overload of features has spurred similar issues across most social networking sites…. and the noise is getting louder.

Andrew Lavallee writes in the Wall Street Journal, “Brooklyn Web designer Pete Jelliffe, 26, has deactivated links to friends whose check-ins filled his cell phone with text messages, and has been similarly delisted, he suspects, by an ex-girlfriend. “I’ve blocked people that, say, signed up and just added me because we were acquaintances,” he said. “I guess they liked me more than I liked them, and I didn’t care to hear about them that frequently.”

After joining Dodgeball, Minneapolis Web developer Jenni Ripley, 33, upgraded her text-messaging plan with her wireless carrier when she exceeded her previous monthly quota of 1,000 messages. She and her friends have gotten flak after sending alcohol-fueled strings of late-night messages to their network, or posting messages from places that aren’t identifiable meeting spots , which some members say is an inappropriate use of the service. ” It’s caused a massive amount of drama,” she said. “We get some people who get very chatty,” said Dodgeball co-founder Dennis Crowley, who became a product manager at Google when the search giant acquired the service in May 2005. Although it is designed for updates around venues and “rendezvous-style behavior,” he said, he avoids telling members how they should and shouldn’t use it.

But even he switched to “digest” mode, which sends one message an hour to his cell phone, after getting bombarded at the recent South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. He said the service currently has no revenue, but declined to disclose its future plans. He declined to say how many users Dodgeball has.

As more and more adults are moving unto Facebook similar issues are beginning to appear. A never ending proliferation of groups forming and inviting all their friends to join. New applications are launched daily which only spawns more invitations from contacts wishing to share their new found tool with their contacts. Social networking sites are getting feature and function rich while users are getting “poor”!

While all this technology may seem “cool” at first it quickly wears on the minds and pocketbooks of users. The frustration levels increase as the number of choices increase. Worst of all it is difficult to learn how to leverage all these features into personal and professional economic gain. The growth of social networks is staggering and it appears to be in a period of chaos of choices for individuals. The segmentation of users looks like a convoluted matrix with so many different attributes to measure that it takes a team of psychologist, statisticians and four management consultants. By the time the matrix is completed the market introduces a whole new set of functions and features, and the process starts all over.

Soon the chaos of the moment will usher in new meaning and new economic models for users to actually leverage all this technology, all these contacts and all this media into measureable gains. Collectively it will create The Relationship Economy but like any new economic model the first to win will be those at the top of the pyramid of change. Are you at the top?

What say you?

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