The 3 P’s of personal social publishing

I’ve been thinking about the roles of different social media tools.  Everyone has.  Steve Rubel and Jeremiah Owyang in particular.  You still get a few LinkedIn requests every week, but now you’re also getting a few Facebook notifications and enough people are microblogging for you to at least bother with setting up a Twitter account.

So how does it all come together?  How should it all come together?  It’s not like social media has created more hours in the day, so people are engaged for reasons that encompass multiple personal personas.  Here’s a model of how I see my own participation, related to content in particular:

  • Personal
  • Professional
  • Public

Overall, I believe that an individual’s predisposition governs participation.  Like risk tolerance or the ability to eat spicy food.  There’s a mode to which you default, but may prefer more/less beta or more/less wasabi in any given situation.

I think the frequency of social media channels lend themselves naturally to certain types of content.  Moreover, while persistence may be forever (i.e. archived), attention is fleeting.  Upon self-reflection, this is how I see my use of social media:

  • Personal:  Microblogging (Twitter).  Highly perishable content, relevant to fleeting moments in time.  Reactions to events and the thoughts of others.  Social small talk, wide range of subjects.  Status updates work better on microblogs than on social networks.
  • Professional:  Blogging (Typepad).  Considered content, longer shelf life.  Typically pulls different threads of information together.  Ideas worth revisiting at some point.  Focused, purposeful discussion on a limited range of subjects.  Four paragraphs of mental exhaust stream go best as a blog post, not 140 characters or a wall scribble.
  • Public:  Social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn).  Identity; content close to static in nature.  Your birthday does not change.  Connections last longer than comments.  Focused on one persona of an individual in particular.  Some people only have one.  People become conflicted when developing a new persona, e.g. transition from university to first job.  Applications seem to fit best here.

The lines aren’t solid, but they are relatively firm.  I know don’t think too deeply about the model (actually not much at all); I just do it.  So why does it matter?  Understanding the nuances of platforms may open opportunites you might not have considered – e.g. maybe microblogging isn’t a total waste of time after all.