So what's one of the the biggest challenges facing social media over the next few years?
I think it's all about personas.
We all have multiple personas, we wear different hats, some more than others, but everyone amends their behaviour when in different groups of people, out of familiarity, respect, or necessity.
After some consideration I think I have 4 personas, or attitudes, which are probably the most common 4 in many people.
1 Work ... At work
2 Home ... Relaxed at home on my own / with my partner
3 Friends ... Out with my friends / partner
4 Family ... With my family
I feel that my personas don't differ greatly, but there are things I just wouldn't say or do when in any one of these situations that I would in others.
So how does social media help me express my different personas?
Well it doesn't...
I had to create two twitter accounts, one for business, one for friends / family, but find even this frustrating because again, some things I might say to one audience I wouldn't say to another.
Facebook doesn't help me, I can create groups there, but it's a complete pain to administer these and I can't send one status update to one group and one to another.
Flickr,YouTube, et al, have something akin to folder security, a clunky and unfriendly way for me to try and categorise everyone and then try and keep all my videos / pictures in the right folders.
Some social networks get round this problem by developing their entire business about a single persona, linkedin is a great example of this, it shares much of the functionality of many other social networks, but bases it's business model around solely targeting the "Work" persona.
I feel this has to change, most people get round it by just not adding work colleagues or family to their networks, or separating accounts, or using different platforms, which just doesn't seem right.
Here's my vision of the future,
On twitter, facebook, flickr etc, when I sign up I can create a persona...
Or a few, so I create,
Now when people follow me they can choose, which facets of me to follow, except they can't follow Rob@Home Because that's a restricted persona, only me and my partner can see that content.
And when I post on any platform, it checks a couple of things, am I at work, at home, with friends, with family?
And makes an educated guess as to which persona to use, of course I can change it, but as it learns the kind of things I say, it gets better at recognising who I'm posting as, Rob@Work tends to use Squarespace to post long rambling blogs, Rob@Friends tends to post short tweets with geotagging on and often including pictures. You get the idea.
So now I'm not managing multiple accounts, and it's really easy for me to post anything I want without boring / offending / upsetting anyone...
And my followers can choose which part of me they're interested in, without getting swamped.
It's a developing idea, but I think it has merit? Thoughts anyone?