Steve Rubel has a thoughtful post about the recent state of Internet social sites. In it, he suggests that users are acting as tenants in a rental property situation, and that it seems we’re all a bit flustered when our properties, like Twitter, have damage. I like the perspective, and I think the conversation should definitely be had. But immediately, I had another analogy come to mind for a slightly different reason. Steve mentioned the difference between “renting” on other people’s services versus “owning” our blogs. For whatever reason, I thought about the way we “shiny object” types are showing up on all these various social platforms, and I thought about strip malls.
A quick digression: I believe that if we ever invent time machines, they will be situated in WalMarts and other big box stores. Why? Because they’re everywhere and look roughly the same. We won’t be as baffled when we shift between locations on the globe.
Strip malls feel like that. Sure, there are different stores, but they’re just places full of stuff. You can get a haircut, buy a cheap Chinese buffet, mail a letter, and take a karate lesson in any given cluster of strip malls. The same names start to pop up.
So, in Steve Rubel’s tenants and owners analogy, I liken a lot of us who are taking up space on these various social networks as some kind of strip mall tenants. Think about it.
I’m on Jaiku.
I’m on Pownce.
I’m on Twitter.
I’m on Plurk.
I’m on Facebook.
I’m on MySpace.
I’m on LinkedIn.
I’m on Utterz.
I’m on Seesmic.
I’m on Flickr.
I’m on … I can keep going.
And so are you. So’s Scoble. So’s Paisano. Lots of people are everywhere all of a sudden.
In a way, haven’t we made little branding strip malls? Little outlet stores for the product known as “me?”
What’s your take?
Photo credit, le
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