Tagged: Twitter

Is website design becoming irrelevant?

Where & how do you consume content on the web these days? I find that increasingly, I get to the content without ever going to the website of origin.

For instance, on my iPhone I read pretty  much everything via Flipboard. On Android, I’m still struggling to find a good Flipboard replacement and shuttle between Pulse, Google Currents and recently, Feedly. In either case, I rarely ever go to the actual website.

I still get some of my content fix from Google Reader (xkcd, Abstruse Goose etc).

Most of the “news” — that is, when I’m in “skim mode” — comes from social media, mostly G+ and a tiny bit from Twitter.

I remember the days (several years ago) when Techcrunch changing it’s site layout used to be a news in itself. Now I can’t remember the last time I visited Techcrunch (well, that could be partially attributed to the content quality…)

My point is, in all of the above cases, the app or service presents the content in an origin-agnostic manner. When you read something on Flipboard, it’s presented to be consumable via the Flipboard interface (in most cases), and not meant to preserve the look and feel of the origin website.

And such apps and services are just becoming more and more prevalent: Evernote Clearly; Readability; content-provider specific apps such as those from Time, CNN, NYT etc.

So, is website design becoming irrelevant? Especially for content-heavy sites?

(The Oatmeal is an exception — Matthew forces you to visit the website, and it’s always worth it)

How do you use Twitter/Buzz/Facebook?

No no, I’m not late to the party and I’m not asking literally how does one use the above mentioned services. Rather, I’m asking how does one put these various services to use. When do you post something on Twitter but not on Buzz, Facebook but not on Twitter; or do you post everything everywhere (ping.fm style)? I’m not a heavy hitter by any means and my usage of social networks is mediocre at best. Yet I myself confounded with all of the various services and their accompanying warts and virtues. Don’t you?

To help sort out my thoughts, I drew a picture (don’t you dare judge me for my lack of creativity!):

Twitter/Facebook/Buzz

Below I elaborate more on how I currently use each of the services.

Twitter

  • I tend to use it for technical and/or non-personal content. Things that I would want to publicize.
  • Unlike Buzz/Facebook, I don’t pay too much attention to who is following me. Most tweets are public anyways.
  • The 140 character limit is sometimes amusing, but often irritating. Are people still using regular SMS with Twitter?
  • Multiple startups devoted to managing Twitter “noise” is not encouraging.
  • @ replies are bandaid. Twitter is a broadcast-and-forget medium — I can’t have (or follow) a conversation on it.

Facebook

  • Use it for sharing random, personal updates (or things I find interesting :p)
  • Mostly on because of network effect (read: don’t want to be left off the social bandwagon).
  • Like that I can “Like” most things and actually follow the conversation via comments.
  • Always worried if my privacy settings are working and if there’s a new “default” I need to worry about.
  • Pay more attention to who I friend. The noise level is still quite high despite that.

Buzz

  • Usage domain similar to that of Facebook. Unlike Facebook, can choose to make posts Public.
  • Love the email integration. Conversely, API/clients still have to catch up to Twitter.
  • Supports likes, comments and “resharing”.
  • Privacy is modeled around my contacts (chat or otherwise), which seems natural.

I’m fine with using Twitter for all of my public posts. The main confusion lies between Buzz and Facebook. Facebook obviously has more social traction. That said, Buzz is just more convenient to use (because of the email integration mostly). Of course, all of the various connectors available (Twitter <-> Buzz, Twitter <-> Facebook, multicast via ping.fm or Chromedeck etc) make the whole thing even more confusing. At the end of the day, I might just go back to not using anything on a regular basis.

How are you using Twitter, Buzz and Facebook?