Selective status updates and why that is the future


There is a recent trend towards integration of twitter with closed social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. LinkedIn, for example, recently announced and made public its twitter integration.


It has done a pretty decent job, with there being a provision for selectively updating your Linked-in status to one of the multiple linked twitter accounts and a reverse provision to allow tweets from one of the linked twitter accounts to update the LinkedIn status automatically.

Also, because people tweet a lot more than they update their status messages on LinkedIn and because not all tweets may be relevant as a status message in a professional network like LinkedIn, there is a provision to selectively import tweets from twitter.

This is done by appending or inserting the hash tag #li or #in to your tweets in twitter and then configuring LinkedIn twitter setting such that only tweets with the hash tags are imported as the LinkedIn status message.

This has an obvious irritation coefficient on twitter where all tweets marked for linked, will now have to contain #li or #in, but it simplifies the integration and display of status messages in LinkedIn as it provides a very practical and important means to make sure that not all your inane tweets show up as your LinkedIn status.

Facebook also provides a similar functionality via a Facebook application that allows you to selectively import and display your tweets as Facebook status messages.

This is done in a manner similar to LinkedIn functionality with #fb being the tag used for distinguishing the tweets that need to be imported as Facebook status messages. One wonders how soon before orkut natively or via an application supports the same type of ‘selective tweets as status messages updates via hash tags’ functionality.

However, what one would hope for is an easy to use mechanism of having your status update messages to be routed selectively to twitter, something LinkedIn has done elegantly, but what the other social networks lack or do in a roundabout/clumsy manner. One can also envisage a future where blog readers like Google Reader have native twitter integration allowing your shared items to be selectively shared with multiple twitter accounts.

This is relevant to people like me, who have diverse interest, and use one feed reader to read all their RSS feeds but want to tweet their shared items from different twitter accounts based on shared interests. For eg. I use @sandygautam to tweet about psychology and neuroscience and @techsandy to tweet about technology and internet, but all my Google shared items go to @sandygautam and contain a mix of both technology and psychology.

While we are on the issue of wish lists, another killer feature LinkedIn can provide is ability to share recommendations on twitter.

Of course these may be automatically marked with some hash tag like #reco to distinguish them and make them easy to find and use. One can see a future where these are used to discover important professionals on the web just like people discover interesting people using #FF or #FollowFriday on twitter.

Also another feature LinkedIn may think about introducing is @mentions in its status updates like FB and twitter already do. Ability to tag your contacts in your status updates is important and provides more virality and context to your updates.

LinkedIn and Orkut are both important in the Indian context and LinkedIn has not goofed up on how it integrated twitter; one can only hope that Google takes the hint and integrates twitter in an easy to use format in its offerings like Orkut and Google Reader.

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