Platform Overload & Fragmentation
Remember when all there was to really worry about was Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin? I can remember doing a presentation in front of a Chamber of Commerce audience in 2011 calling them “The Big Three” and what best practices were for brands and personal use. Sure there were other social networks around, but for the sake of community/marketing/customer service they weren’t really on the same competitive level. Throw in a blog on a website and maybe even a YouTube channel at the time and you had a pretty active and comprehensive social landscape to manage.
Flash forward to today and there are so many well developed places for content it is almost overwhelming. In addition to “The Big Three” now you’ve got Snapchat, Periscope or Meerkat, YouTube, Medium, Linkedin Posts, Instagram, Foursquare/Swarm, Pinterest, Vine, and Tumblr.
Each platform comes with it’s own challenges and nuances. There’s still no one tool to rule them all, and there’s significant investment in some of the newer ones in the way of experimentation. In some ways it’s a lot of fun to get to play around with content on each of these networks. However as we all know, creating content takes an awful lot of work and strategy. To be visible on some networks, having a working understanding of advertising is also necessary.
Forgetting brands for a second, even as just a user I often wonder what’s the “best” place to put a piece of content. For example, I’ve always enjoyed recording a favorite song at a concert, uploading it to YouTube, and then putting the set list up on Tumblr. However, lately I’ve enjoyed Periscoping concerts and seeing that immediate feedback of those watching along with me. Periscope even lets you download the song, which I can then upload to YouTube, and post on Tumblr, though the video quality is very low.
With all the platforms available to play on, I now often wonder if it’s better to be a jack of all trades, master or none — or — to pick one and grow a presence. But which one? A few years ago Twitter was king. It was the best place to strike up conversations and meet new people, but in the last year or two engagement has waned and feels like a glorified RSS feed. Facebook has better conversation through groups and threaded posts lately. Today? Maybe the best might be Snapchat or Periscope since they’re the new popular kids on campus.
And as for content, personal blog vs Medium vs. Linkedin Posts vs. Tumblr… that’s a hard one as well. I’ve been using Medium for my writing project, but have recently started cross promoting on Linkedin when it makes sense. I enjoy the community feel on both and the bit of reach the posts get, but lose out on any data ownership from putting it on my own website. Pros and cons.
Ultimately I’m just having a bit of fun as a user these days with all the options around. Fragmentation is a very real thing for both users and brands, and something to keep in mind when putting together any kind of strategy.