Living in a house of social networks – a new frame for social networking

house of social networks

I was working with a client yesterday and came up with a great metaphor to frame how social networking is helpful.  Each kind of social network is a like a room in a house. How might each one help us with our work and play?

Facebook (or Myspace, Friendster, or what have you) to me are the rec or living room.  These networks are colorful, full of pictures and are great places to entertain – you can create an event and see who is coming or post something you’d like to share such as an article, music or video – something that typically would be experienced in one’s living room.  The space is somewhat cozy, friendly and a good place to find friends, old and new.  It’s becoming more of a place to find collaborators for projects, but still leans heavily on the casual and recreational.

Linked-in and Biznik are places to network on work-related topics.  I think of them as the office, in my case, the home office!  These sites are all about business and the posted profiles are basically our resumes, though there is a softening of the edges as more participants add non-work-related links and streams to their blogs or Twitter feeds..

is this your house?

Twitter is the attic.  It’s a creative and private space, or at least has that feeling, though anyone can find out what you’re tweeting at anytime. It reminds me of a place one would retreat to use their ham radio – a private, quiet space for learning with a dash of madness.  Twitter, like all of these networks is still finding its feet, and I think most would agree that all of these networks are not really sure what their use is yet, though there are plenty of signs they may become more useful in the future.  Twitter, to me, seems to be on the cutting edge of something – and that something seems to grow daily.  So far Twitter has taught me a lot about succinct and brief comunication.  Another use was seen on election day,  Twitter feeds  with anything on Obama or Merkley streamed across the Oregonian website ..and these streams were updated at a maddening pace. They are a great way to see who in your town cares about politics or any other subject as much as you do.  Using Tweetdeck or another Tweet aggregator is a great way to find people who are engaged in a topic or cause that you’re interested in.  My cause is population growth, so I have a Tweetdeck stream that constantly searches the Twitter universe for anyone that uses that word combo.

Then there’s the kitchen – and I guess any of the networks above could also serve up the kind of fun and interesting gossip and stories that one would share over a cup of coffee and some apple crisp.  But my favorite social network (could also have the aspect of a bedroom) in this respect is still  The kinds of conversations and tribes found there are a bit more edgy and folks that push the envelope have longer talks about the issues that interest them.  Where Facebook feels scrubbed clean, has more of a late night anything goes kind of feel.

And there are more parts of the house, I’m sure – feel free to suggest more to me on this blog or Email me

Welcome to your home of social networks!

Albert Kaufman is the owner of Albertideation, a company specializing in helping individuals and business owners with their social networking needs.


  1. I look at Twitter as the front entrance, where people are constantly popping in and out.

  2. Love the house metaphor, Albert. I often reach for for a similar one when asked to explained the difference between your two business examples: If LinkedIn were wearing clothes, it would be dressed in a suit and a tie. Biznik would be wearing jeans and shirtsleeves.

  3. I like the rooms idea. Linked in is like a multi-zoned living room store front and a driveway that enters from both the Blvd and the Ave.

    I guess tribe would be my tent.

  4. Albert, Great analogy. I also liked Dan’s metaphor for LinkedIn and Biznik.

  5. Hey Albert,
    City Repair has an interesting arrangement in the house they are renting and sharing with other organizations. It would be a great follow-up story on a real live house living your metaphor.


  6. Love the analogy, it fits perfectly, the only thing I would change, is making Twitter the front porch, it’s the place I hang out to see what else is happening in the world, it’s where I take pulse of my community and shout-out things I want people in my neighborhood to know.

  7. Fun metaphor Albert and also a peek at how you see your social networking organized. The fact that other people would put Twitter in a different room shows that people are still trying to figure it out. I would see Twitter as the front porch too. People show up, offer something and then move on. A few people you let in and respond back to. Maybe it’s like Tricker or Treaters on Halloween.

  8. I have to admit, I don’t get twitter. I just signed up because someone said to. My first thought was the bathroom but I guess for me it is the unused, spare room that stays empty.

    Jeff Collins

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