Plaxo, LinkedIn, Facebook are passing tablets on the bus

A few times a week I drop by my Linked In, Plaxo, and Facebook accounts and clean up my inboxes in each.

On LinkedIn, I approve those who request to join our groups, and on all of the above I answer the messages that come there and then decide what invitations I am going to accept and which I won't (at this time.)

I've always felt that LinkedIn was the home of my Professional Profile, Facebook was for fun, and Plaxo was just for keeping my multiple address books updated.  Increasingly each of these seems to want to perform some of the functions of the other.

Most insidious has been that Plaxo wants to be LinkedIn.  They've added professional profile information much like LinkedIn and they keep asking me to fill out my profile.  I've ignored the request until today when the screens told me that my profile was 80% complete and I could be 100% complete by answering just a few questions.  I fell for it!  Telling Plaxo where I went to college and what city I live in made me 100% complete. Sadly, I don't feel any different.

When I was a kid, we created lists of questions in our tablets and then we'd pass the tablet around to friends to collect their answers.  Our questions included What's your favorite sport?  Who is your favorite singer? (male and female) What's your favorite color?  We'd feel great when we had answers to all of these important questions from 25 other kids.  No matter how dumb the questions, we'd fill them out with the earnestness that should only accompany an application for citizenship. We loved asking and getting the answers and relished the pages of tablet paper dedicated to this important sociological research.

Now every Professional Social Network has become an online analog of those tablets filled with not very useful information or they've become online dating services asking us these inane questions with the promise of creating meaningful connections with unknown parties.

What's worse is that once I've committed to any of these services, I feel compelled to answer all of the questions in my quest to feel 100% complete.  Thanks for playing me Plaxo.  I've got something else to talk to my therapist about.

I like red an awful lot.

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.