Craig N. Dolder, Ph. D. Acoustics

Quick Takes on 9 Social Media Platforms

Today I took some time to track down all of the different social media or networking profiles that exist for me. It is tough trying to keep my online identity up to date and relevant. Here are my quick takes on 9 social media platforms.

1. Facebook

This is the worldwide giant. As with many people I’ve become frustrated with Facebook but have a hard time giving it up. On this site people that post do not own or have rights with respect to content they post, and no matter how you restrict your settings data is mined and sold to advertisers. That said it has the largest user database, has a great events system, and a very flexible interface with great apps. I feel that startups like Ello and Sgrouples might give Facebook a run for its money.

Verdict: I find it abusive but I can’t give it up.

2. LinkedIn

This is the largest professional networking site I use. It provides a digital resume that recruiters can look up and allows me to see all the professionals everyone in my network knows, not that I have ever found that feature useful. LinkedIn is now encouraging users to publish articles on LinkedIn, which I find suspect at best. The new news feed seems to be imitating Facebook and I am not a fan of it. LinkedIn can do one thing well, and that is professional networking. LinkedIn is not where I go for news and updates from my colleagues.

Verdict: Good for a professional online networking presence, not good for much of anything else.

3. Twitter

While I do use twitter, I have always found it a cacophonous and crazy place. I find it is good for getting a quick message out and learning about breaking news. In order to have fun on twitter you have to have a very narrow and focused perspective. I have not done this for my Twitter account and may never do so, however I had a lot of fun when I was maintaining my local Acoustics Society Twitter feed.

Verdict: Great for sharing quick references and shouting out to the world, but the most fun when you have a very focused message.

4. Google Plus

This is a social networking site that I don’t use and never wanted to use. It’s not clear whether you own or have rights to what you publish on this network. There’s no doubt that the content you post and share is mined and sold to advertisers. The biggest negative I hold against it is I did not opt into it. I was forced into having a profile because I use GMail. Even Facebook and Twitter allow you to close your profile. Their circle feature is novel with respect to Facebook. Using circles you can tailor what different groups see. It allows you present different faces to family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances.

Verdict: I don’t use it. I feel the bad implementation of the mandatory opt in is unforgivable.

5. Research Gate

Research Gate’s mission is to “connect researchers and make it easy for them to share and access scientific output, knowledge, and expertise.” It is a publication based social network where researchers can post their publications to their profile and ask questions of their academic peers. It is a good place to get a publication list of any author that uses the site and a good place to showcase one’s own publications. The site encourages and rewards users for answering forum questions through its RG score, which is proprietary combination of publications, forum questions, forum answers, and followers. As of writing this post my RG score is 15.08.

Verdict: Good for showcasing publications. The discussion forum and RG score’s usefulness may vary for each individual.

6. Publons

Publons strives to give credit for an extremely thankless duty of academia. For those of you that don’t know, scientific literature is driven by peer review. Peer review is a system where articles are screened by other researchers who determine the quality and merit of the work and make suggestions, for free. That’s right, researchers spend a significant of time working to improve someone else’s research with no reward since these reviews are often anonymous. I credit Publons for trying to create credit where it is due. It’s usefulness, however, is yet to be seen.

Verdict: Good site making a valiant attempt to give credit where it is deserved.

7. Path

Part of Path’s mission is to “be a source of happiness, meaning, and connection.” They do that through encouraging you to share “music, check-ins, movies, books, trips, workouts, photos, and more.” They also allow you to post to other social media “Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and WordPress” through the Path App. It has a very simple, pretty, and functional interface with great privacy controls; however, this is also where they have one shortfall that prevents me from investing in this service. The network is entirely based on mobile devices. They have no web based platform. For some reason having a web based interface is critical for me to buy in to any social network. They also limit you to 150 friends, which doesn’t bother me.

Verdict: Great apps and great privacy settings. The lack of a web interface prevents me from using this service more.

8. Ello

Ello is one of the new services that threatens to steal users from Facebook. It is an ad-free social network with a core pledge of no data-mining and full privacy control. They plan to finance the enterprise by having premium features that require payment. If this system proves to be financially viable it will be a powerhouse to contend with. Tagline “You are not a product.” They are still in Beta and don’t have their full suite of sharing tools available. They plan to have mobile apps, however they haven’t launched. I can provide a few invites.

Verdict: Wonderful idealist network that won’t sell of compromise your data. I hope they succeed.

9. Sgrouples

Another idealist startup, but this one has ads. These ads however are anonymous and non-targeted. They claim to be “The world’s safest social network” and assert that “you own your content.” The owning of one’s posts is an assertion I have not found on any other social network. They are far more advanced than Ello and already have functioning mobile apps and group privacy settings.

Verdict: Another wonderful startup where you own your content. I hope they succeed.

Peace and happy networking,

-Craig Dolder

Obligatory iconized version of profile links:

facebook Facebook Twitter googleplus researchgate Publons Path-icon Ello  Sgrouples-96x96

If you send me a message I’ll gladly add you to any of my networks (except maybe Facebook). A simple personal message is all that it takes. Here are the links to my profiles:

You can always find me through my website: My website –

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