MySpace. Facebook. Twitter. BrightKite. LinkedIn. The list of social networks is huge – and gets bigger every day. Last year about this time there was some rumbling about “social network fatigue,” but that doesn’t seem to have slowed the growth of networking at all. Still, the […]

MySpace. Facebook. Twitter. BrightKite. LinkedIn. The list of social networks is huge – and gets bigger every day. Last year about this time there was some rumbling about “social network fatigue,” but that doesn’t seem to have slowed the growth of networking at all.

Still, the plethora of social networks continues to present issues for web workers. We like many of them for the opportunities they bring us: finding work, finding subcontractors, keeping up with the news, and so on. But at the same time, they can be immense time-sinks, preventing the performance of actual paying work.

So, now that you’re another year wiser – what’s your social network strategy? Do you try out each popular new one that comes down the pike? Or have you picked one (or two, or three) to stick with, as being most useful to your own way of working? What would you tell a new web worker who wants to get started with social networking, but who doesn’t know which way to go?

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  1. How about that old timey thing called the phone. This is an overrated waste of time and only a certified idiot would keep trying out each new gimmick – maybe that’s why they call some users twits.

  2. Mike, when you use the phone for this purpose (social networking, staying in touch, etc.) you are deciding that right here, right now is when you want to talk, regardless of what the other person is doing (or what time zone they’re in).

    I much prefer the Internet for this kind of networking, as I get to do it on my time, and they get to do it on theirs. We save the phone and face-to-face for when it’s really important to have that conversation, and keep the chit chat online. But I think it’s the chit chat that gives more value to the relationship.

  3. Stephane Arguin Thursday, June 26, 2008

    My strategy is not to use it.

    People using it doesn’t have any idea of the amount of personal information they put online. Also, it’s a HUGE time eater.

    Read books, go outside, play with your children, go to Starbucks with a friend, enjoy each minute you can be with people you love, take a ride, … instead of wasting your life on social networking sites talking with or searching for “virtual” friends.

    Stay connected to the real life!

  4. Why are Mike and Stephanie even posting here? With those opinions it seems that they’ve ventured into a place they really don’t want to be.

    AS for strategy: I don’t use the networks personally but professionally they’ve been a boon to getting my company’s info out. We stick to the major ones, facebook, myspace, twitter… It’s amazing the number of people you reach who never go to your webpage or any other “traditional” venues.

  5. Mike Gunderloy Thursday, June 26, 2008

    @Stephane – I might be tempted to agree to you, except that for me (and I suspect for many other web workers) social networking sites are much more than interacting with virtual friends. Right at the moment, my major client came to me via a social network contact, and I may be hiring a subcontractor based on another. So there’s definitely a “useful for work” aspect to them too.

  6. I’m basically with you, LB. Stephanie has a point that I basically agree with–people should definitely do those things–except that she seems to dismiss the importance/usefulness of social networking altogether, which, let’s face it, will probably eventually prove to be a mistake. And for the record, I read books, I play with my children, and I enjoy thoroughly the time I have with people here in meatspace (though at 4.25 a gallon, I will most certainly not be going for a drive), but I do plenty of worthwhile things online, too.

    As for those things, I have a LinkedIn profile, but i ignore the site and its possible uses 99% of the time. Social networking for me is just that: social. It’s a (relatively) very new and interesting way to keep tabs on & communicate with people I like. I’m a rather light Facebook user, I blog & share things I find a fair amount, and I use Twitter throughout the day. That’s how I use this stuff now, but I’m sure it will change and evolve with time.

  7. I don’t like the phone. You can only get in touch with one person at a time or mess around with conference calls, it’s difficult send documents or links through it and if the other person is not around then there’s no communication.

    I use clipmarks, twitter, facebook, linked-in and hi5 for social networking. I use each of them with different audiences in mind. For examply, hi5 is exclusively for close Spanish speaking friends and family, facebook for coworkers, non-Spanish speaking friends and more casual acquaintances.

    Twitter I mostly use to follow people from the industry who from time to time provide excellent links and advice, often enough to make it worthwhile. Same with clipmarks which lately has become a resource of very good links and reading material.

    From time to time I will try a new service, but so far only these have become the ones I use regularly.

    As with real life it’s all about who you hang around with and how much you decide to disclose about yourself. And if there’s something you’d rather keep to yourself, then keep it to yourself. Or pick the phone and call your best friend.

  8. Yes, balance is everything.

    I prefer real world socialising and would pick it over online every time, but that’s not always realistic particularly with out-of-town (or in my case here in New Zealand) out-of-country friends and colleagues.

    When online, my strategy is to pick a few core tools (Facebook and Linkedin) and invest the bulk of my time in them.

    Like readers I investigate popular new concepts — often when I get an invite — and sometimes dabble, but rarely stick around. My concern is that I left a trail of dead social networking links all over the net which may confuse the hell out of people trying to find me. One of these days I’ll backtrack through them and do some serious deleting. And ideas on how to automate this process?

  9. Been blogging about Twitter alot lately. http://wsg.net/blog.php if interested. Trying to figure out just this question. We’re in the implementation business as I think of Social Media, which tends to put more of the different items in play. At the moment, we’re experimenting with corporate and quasi-personal Twitter accounts, working on LinkedIn, and exploring Flickr as a way to reach out and connect with products we sell online, for ourselves and others. Facebook was a dud to me, MySpace is out of the question.

  10. I’m trying as best I can, but its overwhelming. It nearly impossible to participate effectively in multiple social network arenas. I was hoping you’d have the answer.

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