Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Social Media: Where’s the integration?

Like many of you, I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. I cannot say I am an active user of either system but I do occasionally take a look at what is being posted. What amazes me is that I have friends who are only reachable via their Twitter handle or a private FB message. This situation has really stumped me lately; how do you reach someone on Twitter or FB if you are an e-mail user?

It strikes me as totally arrogant that Twitter does not have the sense to create a simple gateway that would allow me to send an e-mail to someone’s Twitter address without having to invoke a 3rd party service. Having been involved in the development of e-mail systems for a number of years, I know how simple it is to create gateways. For Twitter, I ought to be able to send an email to @email.twitter.com or some sub-domain of the twitter domain and have a gateway process the message into a posting to the intended recipient….adhering to the various Twitter posting rules and privileges of course. Sadly, the simplest of integrations is not “sexy” enough to warrant the effort to integrate the new generation with the old generation.

Facebook, sadly, is not much better. Oh yes, FB is willing to give every FB user an email address with a Facebook domain name but what if I want to post a message to someone’s wall via an e-mail message. Again, a gateway ought to be able to do this with ease. I send a message to @wall.facebook.com and it ought to be posted without much trouble or fuss.

As much as the social media sphere has gained attention as the new, shiny object that everyone wants to play with, it seems to me that the thoughtful design types at both firms would realize that building a path to “legacy” technology would expand their influence and help them to be embraced by a much larger audience. I also know that as a traveler,” store & forward” is much more useful to me as a messaging system than” always connected”. My e-mail works that way as does antique SMS (heard about Smashtalk?) FB and Twitter just are not that convenient…..but they could be.

Need more examples? How many e-mail client applications today include a field for a Twitter or Facebook name? Not even Google has these fields available in their contacts list yet Android has multiple clients for both systems. Go figure.

Maybe it’s just me thinking in full circles while others are only thinking in straight lines. I have to admit, I am baffled by the blinders these companies exhibit.

I am interested in what you think. Is e-mail considered such a legacy technology that these new interpersonal connection systems need not support the overwhelming standard of electronic communication?

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