The Growing Use / Influence of Social Networking

As a web professional, I try to look at and investigate new ideas, trends, and concepts that appear in the industry.

Not only because they may work for me, but also so I can give advice on these topics to my clients, coming from some if not much experience.

Take as an example my Facebook and Bebo profiles.

I initially started both up as an exercise to see if either would be beneficial from a business point of view. In the process of doing this I have started to use Facebook, but not Bebo.

This is basically down to two things:

  1. Facebook was best connected to my social network
  2. It seemed to work better

In looking at these two products, I can now talk to my clients about them with some experience.

All advice is clouded by the experiences of the giver, but I believe it is better to have this experience, however small.

The by product of this is that I am now a regular Facebook user, not only for work, but for personal reasons. My wife and I have Bejeweled challenges each week!

So as a web / IT professional, the emergence of these technologies and our need to be aware and somewhat knowledgeable about them does mean we spend time and effort immersing ourselves.

Twitter is another good example. One we cannot ignore due to it’s explosion of popularity. I am now about to do workshops on Web 2.0 and social networking, talking to people about these products, services and the concept of social networking as a business tool.

But here is the crux for me. Twitter became much more usable, effcient and meaningful, not because Twitter is so cool, but because I found a tool (Tweetdeck) that makes it work for me.

Having to refresh my Twitter stream each time I wanted to check, made it more remote and less engaging.

Now, having notfications, means that I am now using Twitter as a real communication tool.

I believe that the emergence of these tools to augment and improve on the great ideas on the net is key to the further success of these concepts.

After looking at the specs for HTML 5, the reliance on client side applications to enhance websites like Twitter looks like to be disappearing, to the point, where HTML 5 may make web apps as interactive and functional as desktop applications are now. (At least that is what Google seems to be heading towards)

What tools do you use to enhance your online experience? What has been a real “key” to getting more out of an existing service?

Leave me a comment and let me know