My Online Social Map

This is a visualization of my online social life. Click on the image to visit it online, from where you can directly jump and connect to any of my online profiles. Read the description below.

Mahendra_Social_Map

The Ecosystem

This is not at all as complicated as it might first appear. The red lines are my manual activities, blue lines show the RSS feeds, and the green lines are automatic notifications/pings/updates. The idea is to automate as much as possible, keeping in mind long term data portability goals.

I write here at An Unquiet Mind and at MakeUseOf.com. I maintain a professional profile on LinkedIn, a personal one at Facebook. My @SocialGeek Twitter account is for technology focused topics, while @Palsule is for personal use. I use Friendfeed and Chi.mp for lifestreaming and aggregation.

Create-Share-Discover-Collect

This model is one way to look at my social life. I create content on two blogs. I share this content via Twitter/Friendfeed/Chi.mp. I discover new content on Friendfeed, Twitter, Google Reader, Blogs, and Facebook. I treasure the content I like via bookmarks, favorites, etc. My treasure is automatically shared via my Lifestream.

Manual Activities

When browsing, I bookmark or favorite various links on the social networks like Digg. I also visit Facebook and Friendfeed. Links in tweets also lead me to new links in my browser. I use dashboard applications like Tweetdeck / Seesmic / etc. for Twitter.

I have hidden obvious event flows (such as links clicked in email/IM) in the interest of overall clarity.

RSS Feeds

An Unquiet Mind feeds go to LinkedIn, Friendfeed, Chi.mp, and Facebook (when it works). My MakeUseOf feed is shown here in the sidebar. I subscribe to feeds using Google Reader.

Automation

I use BackType to track comments I make across the web. Whenever I comment on your blog, or any other site, my comment is picked up by BackType, which sends me a link every day listing all the comments I’ve made. BackType also tweets this link automatically for @SocialGeek. I can follow interesting people’s comments around the web by following them on BackType, and others can follow me too.

When I update my LinkedIn profile, or share an item in Google Reader, it gets pushed to Friendfeed and Chi.mp. Friendfeed automatically tweets the link for @SocialGeek. Whenever I tweet using the Dashboard, Friendfeed posts it to my feed.

When I Digg, Stumble Upon, or bookmark on Delicious, it gets posted to my Friendfeed and Chi.mp. Similarly when I upload or favorite a photo/video in Flickr/You Tube, Friendfeed and Chi.mp catch it.

Principles and Objectives

I am waiting for Twine to let me import my Delicious bookmarks as I’m excited about the semantic web. I am rooting for Open ID, data portability, and the semantic web.

There was a time when ‘ME’ meant my blog, the place I felt was my home on the web. That changed with bookmarks, photos, posts on other sites, various discussions via comments on other blogs, social networking sites like Orkut/Facebook, etc. We entered the decentralized era. But I would still like a place to call my home. That is why I like my Lifestream (to which you can subscribe, just like RSS).

I am not an advocate of Facebook. It is a data silo wielding enormous power and I do not trust it. Friendfeed is an excellent aggregator, and networks me with many interesting people. However, it is also a data silo, as it does not commit to data portability. Hence, I am presently rooting for Chi.mp. With my own free domain name (mahendrapalsule.mp), it aggregates my social presence, while remaining committed to data portability. It is still a new service, and I am hoping they will add more features as quickly as possible.

Questions? Comments? Feedback?

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  • Very cool! I am going to post this on my facebook page. I was only half-joking when I asked you whether you had mapped out your own personal information architecture for social networking 🙂

    It’s always nice to know one has inspired someone to do something interesting, if not something great. And doubly nice when it is publicly acknowledged by that someone! Thank you, Mahendra! May your tribe increase!

    And oh – based on your article in make use of, I went ahead and got myself a chi.mp domain etc., and also explored some of the other useful stuff you’ve reviewed. Thanks for that too.

    Cheers,
    H

  • OMG. If my mother refers to me as one of ‘those internet people’, I wonder what she would call you!

    I think I use about a third of the tools you describe here, and the ‘sharing’ and ‘collecting’ parts are virtually absent. However, I did not understand the rationale behind having the .mp website (probably because I didn’t think enough). You could eliminate flickr n picassa once you have a personal domain too, but they are nice to have.

    I like the overall focus of your online presence – I feel it revolves more around discovering and sharing. You are also trying to make most of the process sustainable by using automatic notification. But I am curious, how long will you be able to sustain these networks? And which of these are critical paths? (say from tomorrow you get to spend only x/2 hours online)

  • Dev

    Man, this is heavy stuff for me. It seems I need to learn a lot from you on this stuff.

  • vigneshjvn

    Wonderful work, and it’s very comprehensive. And I see that Google chrome hasn’t featured in your series of browsers. 🙂 Anything in particular against it?

  • Wonderful framework for systematizing your social priorities Create/share/discover/collect. I liken my blog to my social web home. Of course there are comments and other data on many other blogs and social media sites but I’m fine with leaving that information there.

    I really enjoy friendfeed, and since everything is public it is portable although not as packagable as I’d prefer.

    I share your interest in semantic web. Last month I started a project that uses a semantic extraction tool (Zemanta at thr moment) on user social media data. It can provide interesting utility like clustering conversations by topic when combined with real time search (see victusmedia.com for a very crude prototype). On the business side I’m hoping to match more relevant advertising to users as well (used google adsense search for that rough example).

    Initially used Twitter name search to graba tweet, now added oauth/friendfeed API (in the works), need to do the same with facebook. Once that’s squared away I can begin work on the database (simple tags and weights) for users thatcreate account, hopefully with single click from their other authorized social site(s).

    I have a business centric friend helping work that angle but am actively searching for folks that live and breathe web programming and are willing yo work for sweat equity (founders).

  • Mahendra,

    Great post! I tweeted it and referred a few new clients to the visual as a reference to get them thinking the right way. As a follow up, I think it would be great to share how you used your ecosystem to share this great visual in numerous social media avenues. Well done!

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