Technology & Social Media

One-stop social networking? Its time has come

Dashboard Saturdays at CPA Success are usually spent reviewing online tools that can help increase our productivity. Keep in mind that we do not endorse any of these services. We simply offer them up for your consideration. Do your own homework and find the service that best meets your needs.

Social media was supposed to make our lives easier, wasn't it? Access to information, ease of communication, networking on steroids, all of that.

And in many respects, it has. Thanks to social tools, I've connected with old friends, made loads of new ones, and shared information and resources with people throughout the world -- people I never would have met without the help of social media.

But here's the problem: As of this afternoon, I have 118 contacts on Facebook, 200 more on LinkedIn, 71 on Plaxo, 25 on MySpace and 240 on Twitter (where I'm also following 306 people). How can I possibly keep up with all of these updates, alerts, requests, postings, profile edits and group notices?

The truth is, I can't. Sure, there are tools out there that can help. Chris Jenkins of the Ohio Society of CPAs reviewed one called AtomKeep a while back, and I've been using to update my status on multiple social networks simultaneously.

But we need something more. We need a social network dashboard that will allow us to monitor all activity on all of our social networks in one convenient location.

"A pipe dream," you say, and you might be right. But Marc Canter is working on it.

His idea is called the "DiSO Dashboard." According to Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb, the theory behind the dashboard (yes, it's still just a theory at this point) is "to aggregate and integrate our activities, data and social connections built up on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter and our personal blogs."

"The idea," Kirkpatrick writes, "is that the DiSO Dashboard would be a place to read, write, manage, make discoverable, connect and normalize the data for all your activities around the web. The data standards aren't figured out yet, but major social networking vendors are meeting now to work them out."

It's a brilliant idea, and one that (given the popularity of social networks) is probably inevitable. Here's hoping Canter pulls it off.

And for the sake of my sanity, the sooner the better.


Bill Sheridan