November 04, 2008

Are Social Networks The New In Box?

By Corvida Raven of (FriendFeed/Twitter)

There comes a time when an Internet addict must step out of their in box... and into another one. Anyone that receives a ton of e-mail can relate to the headaches that just thinking about your in box can cause. Can you imagine sifting through hundreds of e-mails on a daily basis? Wayne Sutton does. Major bloggers do this all the time. So, it should come as no surprise that more people are referring new connections to their social networking profiles as their default way of contact instead of giving out their e-mail addressess.

I can admit that lately, I've referred more personal connections to my social network profiles instead of my Gmail address. Why is this change taking place? Here are two theories I have:

1. It's (Psychologically) Easier to Manage

You may be wondering how hopping from social network to social network is easier than managing all of those messages in one central location. Simple: information overload. When you look at your in box and have over 100 messages to sort through, your mind may automatically drain of energy. The task ahead could seem daunting. However, if you break down those messages and place them in separate locations, it's the same as breaking down a large project. Sure, spreading your messages out could require more time, but at least you'll still be encouraged to get through them all. It also beats staying on one site for numerous hours, reading and replying to messages.

2. Mainstream Adoption

This may seem a little out of left field, but I think the adoption of social networks into the life of mainstream Web users is causing more people to use their social networks as an in box. I have no idea what the e-mail addresses are for my friends that are not early adopters. How do I contact them? Through Facebook, MySpace, and DowneLink. These are all mainstream social networks that my friends live in. Most of my friends head to these sites before checking their e-mail. In fact, some of them only check their e-mail to see if there were any notifications sent to them from their social networks, which may even be the only e-mail they receive (outside of spam). As the mainstream moves onto these social networks, you can bet your bottom dollar that they'll be directing their new friends to their profiles. It's not just about being able to see more information than an e-mail address could ever give. It's an easier and more logical way for them to manage their social network.

Are social networks easier to manage than a standard in box? For some it could be a nightmare hopping all over the place. For me, it's great. It helps me to effectively separate my personal life from my online life. For my friends, it's a default setting and one that they wouldn't change. Is your favorite social network becoming your new in box?

Read more by Corvida Raven at