Antisocial networks (Message from the CTO, newsletter 50)

13 July 2011

Again a “text-only” message this time, but this one is a cry for help. I think.

The über-network of social networks

I've just signed up for Google+. The invite that finally "took" - all previous invites resulted in "nice try, no spare slots at this time, we're in beta" – was from my predecessor in this position, Richard Morris. He evinced a strong dislike to Facebook, promising to move everything, including his friends list, to Google+ as soon as possible. Me, I didn't particularly care until I fell for one of those fake status updates on someone else's Facebook page, resulting in my Wall being spammed in turn. Now, I'm not so sure.

But then again, I’m feeling trapped by the sheer number of social networks I belong to. There's Facebook (julian.m.bucknall) and Google+ (, sure, and then following up close are Twitter (@jmbucknall), LinkedIn (jmbucknall), and StackOverflow (boyetboy -- fooled ya!), although the latter isn't really a social network. Isn't it? I see the same people answering all the time, so we're, like, friends, right?

Of course I had to snag "my" pages on Posterous (jmbucknall) and Tumblr (jmbucknall, again), although I've given up updating them. Foursquare or Yelp? Can't be bothered, you're welcome to them. My previous editor at PC Plus almost got me to sign up to Formspring, but I backed away, mumbling and twitching.

Wherefore now? It's starting to look like I need an über-network, a meta-network that manages all those other lesser social networks. I'm already seeing duplicate posts on several of them (and I'm as guilty as the next man), so where do I click Like, or +1, or RT, or Favorite, or Share? All of them? Come to that, where do I reply to my, er, friend? Where will they see it first? Where will my other friends, acquaintances, colleagues, random people that follow me, see that I've done my social network duty? That I haven’t let them down?

Can't someone write this super-social-network app for me? Or can you come round and pry my router from my cold dead hands?


So, something out of the ordinary for the 50th issue…

11 comment(s)
Steve Mol

Just dropped out of LinkedIn.  I'm in Facebook, but only to keep an eye on my daughters' pages.  They LOVE it.  Me?  I don't see the point.  Most of those other sites I never even heard of.

I don't get the attraction.  If you are really my friend, I'll give you my email address.  If you want to reach me there, I'll read it.  Otherwise, forget it.

"Networking" promised jobs, idea sharing, productivity - what those promises have in common is INCOME.  Have I seen any?  No.  But I sure have given out a lot of free help!

When people stop charging me for stuff, I'll stop charging them.  For now, I need the income.  I don't need "friends" who "appreciate" my "help."

With friends like that, who needs...creditors?

13 July, 2011
William Egge

I am not a member of any social network site.  I don't really see the point.  I have no reason to tell who knows who I "like" something, nor do I want to blabber on about my life for strangers to read.  I have my wife, children, and real freinds and face to face communication works for me.

Sometimes I wonder if there is some psycological sickness driving the need to be a mental exhibitionist.

13 July, 2011
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

Wowzer. I just discovered by looking at the dashboard for Community Server that this post on my blog was actually my 500th for Developer Express. Talk about social networking...

Cheers, Julian

13 July, 2011
Benjamin J Howarth

So that's another social network - your Community Server installation ;-)

13 July, 2011
Aaron Smith

I signed up for Google+ and was skeptical... But once a few key friends sign up for it, I'm probably going to delete my facebook and twitter accounts. I don't use Linked In anymore even though my account is still there. I find that site totally useless. Once I started friending tech people (not really friends, just people I find interesting, including your DevExpress pages) it started to get WAY too spammy (not that you guys are spammy, other people are).

With Google+, it's like have a combination of Twitter and Facebook. I can keep my personal life private (if I want to) and only share with my Family and Friends circles, or I can share any new tech stuff that my family and friends will find boring with the techy circle... Then not to mention my motorcycle buddies who could care less about tech... Twitter has always been my "working" social network while Facebook was for friends and family, but turned into a mashup of everything. Now twitter is just a constant endless stream of stuff I don't have time to even read because there is so much of it. Plus, try following a conversation on twitter... Not happening. At least with Google+ the comments are threaded and readable.

13 July, 2011
Ronnie Swafford

If ever I have the leisure, I will write that app. :)

13 July, 2011
richard morris

If it were only possible for FaceBook to be accessible as a g+ Circle, but I doubt FB's investment bankers, advising them on their upcoming liquidity event, will let that happen.

14 July, 2011

Social networks are the booze of the internet. Even though you don't NEED it, having some can still be fun and relaxing.

Of course, you don't want to abuse of it. :)

14 July, 2011
Nate Laff

I'm not a fan of them personally. But have a Facebook (so I can manage a page for my software), Twitter (which I don't do anything with, it simply gets updated when I update my product's facebook page) and LinkedIn, which I do even less with.

I don't want to have to do a Google+ one either. And until Windows Phone 7 works with it, I probably won't do anything with it.

14 July, 2011
Miro Nagy

I find the social network site (such as facebook) valuable for sending out an "Event" to your contacts such as:


Booking a trip to go white water rafting on Day X.  Have your money ready by Day X.


People can say they are attending whenever they choose to.  You don't have to constantly give extra info, as all the info is posted on the "Event Posting".

It's a non-intrusive way to 'poster' an event without constantly spamming people with info and hassle people to get their stuff together (of those who want to go).

As for posting personal pictures of myself up there or changing my status - I don't see the point.

14 July, 2011
Michael Thuma

I think the term friend should stay something special. Not everyone I meet on the Internet is a friend ... from a technical perspective a Über-Network (or Supernetwork) does not solve the problem maybe helps to manage ... this is very much the same problem as MDM in distributed scenarios .. Google+ looks good. Very comfortable and I simply can everyone to my circles. Also aggregating ... canonical model for internet content? You will very likely have to stay in the Über-Network then all could move there (mapping of security semantics:)). No chance.

14 July, 2011

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