Social Networking Overload?

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Or is it spreading yourself too thin.  How many social networking sites do you belong to, and how many are trying to get you to aggregate your contacts there?  Most evident in my  case is Plaxo and Spock.  The invites have been coming in from folks I know on other networks, because those people have just joined up.  But is it worth doing, or will some of those networks go by the way side?

I’ve been a Plaxo member for quite some time, as well as a member of LinkedIn.  Most recently I’ve joined Spock.  Of course, I’m on Facebook and other sites as well.  Honestly? It’s making me crazy.  I can’t remember all the networks I’m party of, let alone keep up with them or my contacts there.

Consolidation would be great.  If only all of my contacts would just pick one network, sign  up, and stay there.  Not happening soon I’d say.  And why not? It’s the ooh-ahh factor in part.

Yes, the online culture is one of follow the shiny newness wherever it shows up.  Each new tool or network that pops up, a slew of my contacts will begin using it immediately, dragging the less ADD types along shortly. This has the effect of leaving old and well used networks high and dry of networking.

So what’s a network socialite to do? Jump ship like the rest of their friends?  Abandon the old tried and true?  Perhaps dig in their heals and stay behind?

I recommend a third alternative. Pick a few and stop.  Draw your line in the sand at your two or three life essential networking sites and tools and leave the rest to develop.  Find the best tools you can that return the most value for the time you spend.

Making the top three choice can seem difficult if you focus totally on the quantity of contacts.  Contact quantity though, does it really speak to the value of that network?  The key is what does that network provide you in terms of true connectivity, ease of use, and ability to take action through and with that network.

Believe it or not, my favorite social networking tool is Twitter.  It’s simple, easy to use, and allows direct conversation between friends.  No special client is required.  Tons of add ons as well.

Second favorite? Facebook.  Facebook allows me to add more contacts than I actually have. I can contact them simultaneously.  We can quickly form groups, organize photos, plan events, and support common causes.  A very actionable site, as well as easy to make contact through.

Plaxo, LinkedIn, and others may be good address books, but there is little that you can accomplish there that a good Rolodex product wouldn’t serve the same purpose.

So you’ve selected your two or three favorite usable and high value networks, what next?  Here’s a few tips on how to stay dug in.

1) Reach your contacts through your key chosen networks and not just to say hello.  Contact them to accomplish things.  Form a group, exchange ideas, or better yet, meet in person.

2) Let folks know you’re there – List your chosen network contact information in your signature, and on your other networks.  Make sure your blog refers to them.

3) Let your contacts know why – Let everyone you contact or have contact with know why those are your chosen networks. Give them reason to check them out and join, or maintain their use of that network.

4) Expand your contacts on those networks – Get to know more people on those networks.  Get to know the founders if possible.  On Twitter, it is possible to make direct contact with the founders on their own service. Likewise on Utterz, and Seesmic as well.

So if you want to stop the madness, then start with yourself.  Be picky about where and how you network.  Making a choice is important not just to keep in touch with your friends and fellow business contacts, but it’s about your brand as well.

Brands can ‘be everywhere’ or they can really be present on the networks they are part of.  Which will it be for you and your brand?

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10 Responses to “Social Networking Overload?”


  1. 1 Aruni February 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Totally agree with the overload. Twitter is my favorite too. I haven’t had the time required to really use facebook well. I set up a group for my company but I’m not sure how to promote it or beef it up.

    Stumbled!

  2. 2 Patrick February 18, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Great post on a common Social Networking quandary. With a number of networking sites on the Web it can certainly be an issue with having to organize all your friends on the Web. However you should note that Spock.com is more of a people search application than a social networking site. With Spock it enables you to organize and search your entire network on the Web whether they’re on LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, etc. Spock eliminates the need to be on every networking site by including links to other places a person is on the Web, and giving you the option to receive news updates about a person posting something on twitter, adding a Yelp review, updating their resume, etc.
    Spock is also great because you can easily search your network and anyone else on the Web by name, e-mail, or tag (a keyword phrase such as Duke Alum, Art History Degree, Seattle, etc). As a search application that organizes information from across the Web you don’t need to be a member to have a search result, but we do encourage people to claim their Spock result and add relevant content about yourself and others. If you have any further questions about what Spock can do for you, please feel free to contact me at Patrick@corp.spock.com.

  3. 3 tojosan February 18, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Aruni,
    Thanks for stopping by.
    Facebook has lots of things going on, but suffers from a lack of a good built in guide. There are several good references on the web though; I’ll try to root out some about growing and nurturing your FB groups.

    Patrick,
    First off, thank you for visiting and commenting. Your input and clarification is most welcome.

    To help give myself a better feel, I jumped in and updated my feeds, invited contacts and did some people searches. It was easy to locate individuals I was interested in. Updating my personal information was also simple. The liberal use of Ajax makes the site seem very responsive, a feature I really enjoy.

    I’d love to contact you, and do a full review of Spock on it’s own.

    Thank you both. Please stop back any time.

  4. 4 Stephen February 18, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    I’m right there when you on overload; it’s so easy to get that way! Best to keep it simple!

  5. 5 Nickev February 19, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Great post.
    Agree with every word.
    My 3 chosen networks are Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.
    I also use this fabulous tool called 8hands which aggregates my content and contacts from all different networks and keeps me updated about whatever is happening in all of my favorite profiles.
    You should really check it out.

  6. 6 Joseph February 19, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Yeah overload is right!

    I have friend who bugs me to join this one and that one. MySpace and Twitter are the ones I gravitate towards. She on the other hand is on Facebook, Bebo, Okrut, Hi5, Last.FM, Sleep.FM and Badoo. How many can you be on and have time for?

  7. 7 tojosan February 19, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Nickev,

    Good choice on your three! Love Flickr and Twitter myself. I’ll give 8hands a look too, but it may not fit or I’ll end up letting something else go. Ha.

    Joseph,
    Alright! I so get you on the cross networks thing. I’ve got contacts on too many other networks and get new invites all the time.

  8. 8 Mari Smith February 21, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Good stuff here, Todd!!

    I totally agree on the points about overload and importance of picking your top faves. I’ve really worked Facebook and now nothing can compare, so I’m sticking with it! 1,000+ friends and growing.

    Twitter rocks too… though I still haven’t figured out an effective (non time-consuming) way to keep up with the tweets of specific individuals!! 🙂


  1. 1 Contacts, Friends, and Meetups « The Broad Brush Trackback on February 23, 2008 at 10:48 am
  2. 2 Contacts, Friends, and Meetups | The Broad Brush Trackback on June 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

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