MSN Messenger and other chat programs probably didn't know at the time they would initiate such a massive trend when letting people add a short personal message next to their nickname. Yes, I do believe they're at the origins of this.
And now, it just seems like every major website is releasing an "Update your Status" option! The battle for the What's on your mind? between Facebook and Twitter has been going for a while now, but it has now expanded to nearly every social/networking site. Although I have been using several of them for different purposes, the concept remains the same: Telling something to people around you. Wow, what a revolution! I don't want to be critical. Mostly because I have been using them myself for a long time and find them very useful. I use Facebook updates to tell my (real) friends what's going on in my life. I used to do the same on Twitter but now I mostly use it to share interesting links with people (that I know in real life or not) with the same interests.
But beyond Twitter and Facebook, are other status updates really useful?
Facebook Status Updates
Twitter Status updates
As far as I'm concerned, I rarely use the Linkedin updates service but I can still see why this could be a good thing. We're in 2009 and the way people approach each other, even professionally, has drastically changed. I see people update their status to tell their network they're looking for a job while others might be looking for someone. Yes, it does make it easier. (Linkedin also introduced the "Update Twitter at the same time" option as you can see on the screenshot below)
Linkedin Status updates
Another example, Google Latitude's status updates. There again, I can still see the concept of letting people around you know exactly where you are and what you are doing. But this is definitely too intrusive for me and I don't want people to know where I am all the time, especially if I forgot to switch off my Latitude automatic location updates. This definitely raises privacy and security issues. Moreover, I don't think I know A-N-Y-O-N-E who actually uses Latitude on a regular basis, if ever! If you are a regular user, let me know, I'd be interested!
Google Latitude Status updates
Some of you might not even have heard about Yahoo! meme. The difference with Twitter is that you can easily post not only text, but audio, video and photo files. As much as I like Yahoo! and the simple/easy-to-use aspect of this website, I still think it is nothing more than a copy of Twitter and sadly, I don't like copycats! I therefore ask the same question, does any of you actually use Twitter memes or know anyone who does? I have tried once, wrote two updates, and never signed in again! I just don't know anyone and don't feel like building a 3,819th network.
Yahoo! Meme Status updates
In conclusion, I think Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter might stay for a while as they are the most popular and bring the most value to the online users. But I personally think Yahoo memes have no space in the new online world and will never take off, a bit like friendfeed which, to my eyes, won't succeed in the medium/long term. As for Google Latitude, I think this service might work, but in a couple of years from now. It is too soon and even though more and more people have smartphones with GPS antennas, they still represent a minority in the population.
I have only showed you a few examples and I am certain there are many more out there. But honestly, who has the time to manage all these different channels?
Do you think this is just a trend that has been going on for a couple of years now, but that will end within that same date range from now?