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Instant Messaging: outside the Social Loop

IM (Instant Messaging) is for most people a vital part of their work flow. Social Networkers like me rely on Skype and MSN Messenger to stay in touch with clients. Problem is, IM falls outside what I call Social Loop…

IM (Instant Messaging) is for most people a vital part of their work flow. Social Networkers like me rely on Skype and MSN Messenger to stay in touch with clients. Problem is, IM falls outside what I call Social Loop…

Just to recap, the Social Loop is the life cycle of any given article you might write or promote. Most of us will use a variety of websites and web services to promote our own or other people’s articles, including IM. But the problem is, IM is a closed system, one we can’t integrate with FriendFeed or SocialThing, for example.

Conversely, the people we add to our contacts lists in Skype, MSN and Yahoo! Messenger can’t see all those other things we get up to, which can stifle or totally snuff out the possibility of there being some commonality that might spark a conversation.

What I propose is that the software developers allow us to add our workstreams and lifestreams to our Instant Messaging clients, letting us see what our e-neighbours are getting up to, as it happens.

If I can let people see what songs I’m listening to, why not let those same people see what I’m reading, sharing with others, or writing about?

If I could add my FriendFeed stream to Skype, people could see instantly what I was doing during the course of the day.

The benefits are that I’d be engaging with more of my contacts who might be away from their email, or from the Social Media websites they frequent, but be in front of browser and be able to comment, vote up and / or share the stuff I’m either writing or promoting. Similarly, I’d be able to see what my contacts are doing, too.

Given that Yahoo! have seen the value in our email as a possible Social Network in and of itself, why apply the same thinking to their IM client? Seems obvious to me!

Plus, wearing our marketeers’ hats, if we could see in-bound links from Skype et al, we would be able to measure such things, too.

In bridging Instant Messaging with our Social Networks, more relevance is added instantly to what we do, which becomes a very timely and exceptionally neat fit with all the recent mobile technologies that are proliferating our personal and business lives…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

3 replies on “Instant Messaging: outside the Social Loop”

Now, there’s a coincidence I was just about to start a post for Sciencetext on how to add your Facebook friends to MSN/Live messenger and tie such strings together. I also noticed that with Feedblitz (rss by email) you can subscribe with Skype/AOL/MSN etc as well as an email address. So, while it’s not exactly creating covalent links it is adding hydrogen bonds between those different moieties.

It is indeed.

Which is exactly why Microsoft and their hardware manufacturing partners can never hope to produce a music player to compete with the iPod — throwing everything into one device does not a success maketh!

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