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The Message is the Medium -- Attention is Shifting from the Web to the Stream. Wow, truly fascinating article by +Nova Spivack!! The pendulum swung from messages (pre-Web) to documents/web pages (post-Web) and now back to messages (post-Social Networking).

I have to say, there are days when the inflow of messaging is overwhelming. In my small but growing team, we are constantly striving to streamline internal systems -- wait, uhm, sorry I missed your message - where did you send it please? Skype? Text? Email? (which address?) Voicemail? Twitter DM? Facebook personal message? Facebook page message? Oh, via LinkedIn?! Ahh, you sent me a PM via a +Google+ post?! Oops! ;)

Actually, I've all but given up on my DM box on Twitter... it's my own fault for following back so many people... but with the enormous amount of auto DMs, it's rendered my DM box completely useless. I held on for five years but just in the past couple months I've had to stop checking Twitter DMs. It's either that or do a 'following purge' and I just don't want to. Also, on my Facebook fan page, I enabled the new private message box right away on Feb 29 when Facebook unveiled the new Timeline for pages... but after the box quickly filled up with over 200 requests for Facebook tech support, I disabled the feature for now until I can dedicate yet more resources to manage yet another inbox!!

Here's a quick excerpt of Nova's article. Be sure to read the full article and part II and III as well (listed at the foot).

Before the advent of the Web, the pendulum was swinging towards messaging. The center of online attention was messaging via email, chat and threaded discussions. People spent most of their online time doing things with messages. Secondarily, they spent time in documents, for example doing word-processing.

Then the Web was born and the pendulum swung rapidly from messages to documents. All of a sudden Web pages – documents – became more important than messages. During this period the Web browser became more important than the email client.

But with the growth of social media, the pendulum is swinging back from documents to messaging again.

Today, the focus of our online attention is increasingly focused towards messages, not Web pages. We are getting more messages, and more types of messages, from more apps and relationships, than ever before.
We’re not only getting social messages, we’re getting notifications messages. And they are coming to us from more places – especially from social networks, content providers, and social apps of all kinds.


Part I: The Message is the Medium:
Part II: Drowning in the Stream:
Part III: Keeping up with the Stream:
Peter Gailey's profile photoMari Smith's profile photoNova Spivack's profile photoYehudit Steinberg-Caudill's profile photo
re the twitter DMs -- rather than follow ppl i put them on lists, which means i can follow them but we're not as closely connected (with DM-ability) as the ppl in my main feed. i also create strict email rules for things like notifications so i get them (in case i need them) but they're not in my inbox
Re: your point about having too many inbound messages. From a marketer's perspective, I worry about that. It means that users are shutting out messages that may actually have relevance to them.

From a user's perspective, you have to shut out messages, because we all get far, far too many.

Whether you're a marketer or a user, you want messages that have significant relevance, and delivered to you in a prioritized way. I believe that will ultimately create a shift back to search, but an intelligent and automated and learning search.

Both marketers and (most) users want relevant messages to reach the right audience.
+Anastasia Ashman lists are a bit part of being successful on Twitter. Without lists it is truly overwhelming at times.
+Glenn Gow excellent point on the shift back to search. And agreed re user vs. marketer - I look through these internal filters daily. I reckon if I see something as noisy, or overwhelming, or irrelevant, or hard to find... then good chance my prospects/network are too!

On Facebook, I actually like how they pre-filter my personal inbox for me with only messages FB deems important going into my main inbox and everything else dumping into "Other." I wish Twitter would introduce a simliar filter!! My DM box would be so zen! Lol. And, quite frankly, I find Twitter DM to be one of the most effective ways to communicate... short, concise, quick and easy. It's frustrating that it's been overrun by auto DMs. Actually, an alternate solution to the pre-filtering is for Twitter to just ban the ability to auto DMs!
I was just chatting with a friend about the uselessness of Twitter inboxes. The auto DM's have gotten out of hand and it seems to be a growing trend that many people have started unfollowing those who spam their inbox with "Like" my Page, read this blog post, get a free this or that". Honestly.... I'm getting annoyed by the fact that people have started using social media as a way to shove things down peoples throats.

I follow someone because I'm interested in their posts, eventually... if they are engaging and catch my eye I'll check out their website. The whole purpose of social media is to engage and build relationships with users, not push advertising in their face. Social media is supposed to be different than traditional marketing, but sadly sales hungry businesses/people are making it less appealing in making what I expect to be friendly connections.
Michelle, I agree with you. Gave a talk the other day on Pinterest and some of the attendees wanted to know about the creative ways to use the site, but a few business people wanted to know only how it made them money. Once the site becomes over-ridden with pushing sales at us, it will cease to be as effective and way too noisy.
+Mari Smith Thanks for posting this as I am relatively new to the internet it was an absolutely fascinating read. I agree twitter really should do something about the spam levels, from my experience so far it just looks like a lot of people all trying to sell you stuff with little personal engagement at all.
+Mari Smith Do you see an advantage to google + 's format? I'd like to have more in depth discussions into certain topics and am wondering if google + is the platform for this. It seems a little non-intuitive to me. Would love some tips on how to get more engagement on this platform.
Thanks +Mari Smith for sharing +Nova Spivack's articles on messaging. I am feeling the same way you do with too many steams to follow on too many social mediums. It is a bit maddening to try and keep up on all of the latest trends and tat the same time be engaged. Look at the fast moving #mobilephones , #mobileweb , and #responsivewebdesign that hits #socialmediamarketing and #webdesign #semweb all at the same time! With #googleplusupdate 's and #googlepenguinupdate , a #webdeveloper has to work very hard at staying on top in order to bring their clients the latest and best-in-breed solutions. (Little hashtag crazy, but isn't that messaging nowadays?) ;-)
Hi folks, this is an interesting thread, and thanks +Mari Smith for sharing my article. I'm hoping that I can make a dent in some of these problems with the app I'm building - a next-generation social dashboard that has a lot of built-in intelligence. We are still in closed beta but if you want to give it a try, visit the site and if it asks you for an invite code use: getsonar - we will be releasing a major new version in a few weeks that will add support for multiple accounts (multiple twitter and facebook accounts for example) and a lot more. We're also doing a lot of filtering and discovery to try to surface the messages that actually matter.
This is a perfect example of why we need to "Tame the Data Deluge" in our personal and business lives. Personal information needs to be managed as well as your business information.
Hi +Nova Spivack - my pleasure. I love your thoughtful style. I've been checking out BottleNose and shared with my membership group the other day. We love the sonar feature!
+Yehudit Steinberg-Caudill I do indeed think that +Google+ is the best platform for more thoughtful discussions, in fact. I love the formatting we can add, and the ability to edit. And it just seems a more mature crowd here. I mean, I love Twitter and Facebook for different reasons. But Google+ has it's place, too!
+Mari Smith Thanks - by the way we will be launching a major new version of Bottlenose on Wednesday this week. 30 new features. Including support for multiple accounts (like multiple Twitter accounts), Facebook pages and groups, and new views in addition to Sonar. So for example you can apply Sonar to a specific account, or page or group, etc. Also will be adding support for RSS and LinkedIn. It's going to be great. If you want to invite anyone in, you can use the invite code: marismith
+Mari Smith Thanks Mari for your commentary on +Google+ . I'm noticing these advantages as I start to use it more. Anyone know of a social media dashboard that syncs google +, Facebook and twitter streams? I know about hootsuite, but G+ isn't wired in there yet. Working on developing a more efficient way to stay active on all the social networks...
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