I Have Disparate Community Syndrome, Do You?

by Greg Cangialosi on August 29, 2010

This came to me the other night as I was thinking about the ways I’ve been interacting with social tools lately and confirming with other’s that they operate in much of the same way. The idea is that there is a “disparate community syndrome” taking place with the behaviors of people who use social web platforms.

I’ll characterize my use of the word “syndrome” from the following definition:

“the pattern of symptoms that characterize or indicate a particular social condition.”

The general idea here is that people are fractured or splintered in their social networking. Each tool or channel has a unique set of friends / followers / connections and each network means something different, and brings different comfort zones and specific behaviors for each individual when it comes to their participation.

Think about it, many of these platforms, and I will just focus on the big ones, can be baselined by the following assumptions (at least based on my real world / practical research):

Linked In ( It’s all business / professional life – trying to be more social)
Facebook (The “happy place” social utility, loaded with people from the past & the present)
Twitter (A wide and vast universe of the followed & followers -many shapes and sizes)
Foursquare (Lots of crossover connections with a wide degree of NEW/ unknown contacts)

You get the point. Though there are many similarities, they are all completely different. And yes, this is nothing new, but the launch of Facebook Places has me thinking more about it. After Places launched, I suddenly realized that as cool as I thought it was, I didn’t necessarily want my Facebook community to know where I was at any given moment. It reminded me of when I first started using foursquare and originally had it linked to my twitter profile. That didn’t last long. Why? because the relevance wasn’t there, not only for me, but my Twitter network. Hence the disparate community syndrome. Each tool / channel / network has its own place for many of us.

So, here is how my DCS (disparate community syndrome) works on me. Keeping in mind of course that I totally get the need to participate in order to truly understand a medium.

I’m actually using foursquare to evaluate the location based marketing opportunities of the future, not to find out what bars my “friends” are drinking in (though I do get a little protective of my Mayorships, so I guess the gaming aspect of it has me reeled in :-) ). The medium is so new to truly understand the major implications of it, but you can guarantee it will be integrated with mobile carriers, retailers, and businesses of all shapes and sizes if they so chose. This is a watcher for me.

I use Twitter as an open forum to share ideas, learn about new ideas, find new content, and most importantly to engage with others. I do daily searches in twitter on different terms that are relevant to me, I connect with new people on an almost daily basis, I engage with customers, prospects, brand ambassadors, etc. There is lots of personality with Twitter. Twitter is awesome. Period.

LinkedIn is a work in progress.Like many, I set up a profile many years ago, accepted lots of connections and vice versa but never really used it. As of late, I am co-managing the Social Email Marketers group that I founded along with DJ Waldow, using the network to spread news about the company, and also as a recruitment vehicle. And of course, I am linking up with people from everywhere. Again, all 100% professional. I think their MAJOR UI enhancements and feature updates are positioning them for more social activity thereby making the connections within LinkedIn more meaningful to its users.

Facebook is by far the most – to my knowledge – diverse network from my life. I have family, friends, colleagues, some close some far, some from waaaaaay back, some from present time, and I am sure some who I’ll be connected closer with in the future. It really is an interesting social utility. There you may occasionally see a glimpse of my personal life, a photo or two, but overall it is a personal branding and another network of information dissemination for me. Though, I am increasingly using the chat feature within Facebook.

So, What About You?

How are you using the social web? Do you have your own version of DCS? Maybe the tools were just designed to be completely different, but I know many folks who put it ALL out there regardless of the community they are engaging with, while others are a bit more reserved depending on which platform they are using. What kind of social user are you? I am curious to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Christopher S. Penn August 30, 2010 at 9:04 am

There's actually a more dangerous twist to all of these different communities, especially when you start finding stuff you really like. Blogged about it a couple of years ago, and it seems to be getting worse.


SEO Hampshire November 19, 2010 at 11:22 am

Great post!! Thanks for sharing such an wonderful information.