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Social Media Happenings for February

There’s been a slight change of plans, readers: I was all set to give you a rundown of the great stuff that happened at Paul Greenberg’s recent SCRM Summit in Herndon, VA, but a funny thing happened on the way to the Capitol Region. Somebody mentioned snow, and all the DC-area airports rolled up their runways. I didn’t get to go, and neither did a lot of people. Sad.

However, while I was sulking over my misfortune, a couple of new developments in the world of social networking caught my attention. (Yeah, there were probably more than two, but these are the ones I feel like mentioning.)

First, Facebook just changed its home page, and not for the better in my opinion. Many things aren’t where I expect them to be, and my bookmarked apps (mostly games, I admit) seem to have been randomized—I never quite know what I’ll have available. Everything requires more clicks. I am not as vehement a Facebook-basher as some people I know, but a little warning about this change would have been nice. As it stands, Facebook has traveled through time to an era before UI design was considered important on the Interwebs.

Second, and equally jarring, Google surprised us (or at least me) with the launch of Google Buzz, a built-in social networking function for users of Gmail and presumably any other piece of the Google empire. Mashable has this to say about it, if you want full coverage. I say that it’s a good thing there’s a way to turn Buzz off, because I wasn’t looking for yet another social media environment to integrate with my daily explorations. It’s already far too easy to get lost in the things we do; Buzz might have legs—it’s a network for people you actually know and correspond with, as opposed to weak-tie pseudofriends—but right now it feels like a “me-too” offering.

The lesson from these two news items is that I’m an extremely grumpy person when somebody moves my cheese. But the more applicable lesson is this: Don’t be content with your current approach to social media, because it can become obsolete in a day. New apps will replace old ones, and the conversation moves whether you like it or not.