Data Portability…you are so needed. There’s simply no way I can comfortably manage to keep my network of online friends and colleagues sufficiently sync’d between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Brightkite, and Friendfeed. Let alone niche places like Mog and Upcoming.
But that’s what I want. It’s what most of us want. I want to add a friend on Facebook and then instantly be follwing him on Twitter and connected to him via LinkedIn and all the rest. Currently, my main practice of sync’inc my contacts across the various social networks is similar to having to balancing my checkbook. For those you young ones out there, there was once a time when we didn’t have 24/7 online access to our bank accounts. Every month the bank would send us a statement in the mail and folks would (or should have) compare that transaction log with the transaction log you kept in your checkbook register. Let me tell you, I don’t miss that process. It sucked. It was an evening every month I dreaded. Dreaded it so much I wouldn’t even do it.
And that’s how I feel about sync’ing my friend data across the social networks. It sucks. I dread it. Dread it so much that sometimes I don’t do it. But yet, when it is sync’d up, I love it. And just like balancing your checkbook or flossing your teeth every night, it needs a routine to get it done. I call this current routine "First Friday." Here’s how it works.
I’m working on the premise that the new people I’m trying to follow are in my email address book. So I get a .csv file of that data, then use it on each social network one by one. And I do this on the first Friday of every month. No, its not flawless. Obviously, I’m "meeting" people in places like Twitter who aren’t in my address book. In fact, I have many friends on Twitter whose real name I don’t even know, let alone use know their address book. And another bummer, is that new folks in my address book are going to receive tons of bacn that has been generated on my behalf.
So yeah, its clearly not ideal. But banking has evolved and I know longer have to spend an evening to balance my checkbook every month. Let’s hope that managing our social graph will evolve in similarly useful ways.