There’s no denying that we live in a “social society” these days. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the amount of “friends” and networks that we’re associated with online far outweigh those which we are associated with in the physical world. That being said, I’m overwhelmed. There are simply too many networks out there, and for some strange reason I feel the need to try and be a part of all of them… Well, no more! It’s time to trim the fat when it comes to my social endeavors and quite frankly I couldn’t be happier about it. I’m narrowing down my networks to 3-4 main ones and the rest are going away… For good.
So, you’re probably wondering what networks I’m currently a part of… Well, here is the official list: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Dribbble, Forrst, Linkedin, 500px, Behance, and Path. As you can see, that’s quite a list. I’ve actually trimmed it down quite a bit in the past few years, but even these are proving to be way too much to handle and use with any regularity. No matter what I always seem to go back to my “core group” of networks, and those will be the ones I’m keeping. My core group consists of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Linkedin. Although I’ve been hard on Linkedin in the past and really questioned its value, I’ve been assured by fellow geeks that it does have its place, so I am keeping it on the list.
Without a doubt, my most active network is Twitter. This is where I get the most interaction from the most people. I think this is because Twitter’s service is so concise and short-form. This makes it easy to engage in quick, meaningful conversations with both colleagues and followers. I use Twitter for two purposes. First is the obvious dictation of my day-to-day activities… Why people find this fascinating is beyond me, but hey, I’m glad they do! The second purpose is to inform those who follow me about my professional happenings and also to do crowd sourcing for future courses/tutorials.
While Twitter is my most active network, Facebook certainly gives me the most meaningful feedback and engagement from fans. I’m able to get longer responses on Facebook from people consuming my content and that is SO useful. I’m also able to engage with users by writing longer responses myself and (with newly added functionality) message them on a personal level if the need should arise. The strange thing about Facebook is that I have the least amount of “fans” there compared to my other networks, but I get more conversation there than anywhere else… Strange, but cool!
Google+ is a network that I haven’t exactly found my voice on yet, but I’m keeping it in the mix. The reason I’m keeping it is because of the large amount of followers that I’ve obtained since being on the network (more than Facebook or Twitter to date). At the moment I’m mainly using Google+ to repurpose content that I post to Facebook and Twitter, and while I disagree with this practice in most cases, I find it works quite well on Google+ and generates a fair amount of conversation and engagement. The problem with Google+ is that I forget about it. I simply haven’t found a way to integrate it into my daily social routine. Therefore it’s hard for me to keep up with what’s happening there and truly dive in to conversations… This is something I MUST remedy.
Finally, there’s Linkedin. I’ve been on record as saying that Linkedin is the greatest social network that never was… By this I mean that I believe they missed a huge opportunity to hit a homerun with people in my demographic. They seem to be doing ok, and I still get a lot of traffic and connection requests there. I’m keeping it on my list because I’m hoping one day those 400+ business contacts will come in handy for something… I’m just not sure what.
As for the networks I’m cutting… Well, I just don’t see a place for them right now. That may change over time, but for now I’m too focused on my career and cultivating my audience on the networks that really matter to me. Therefore it is with a heavy heart that I close the doors on these networks. Some will say that I should leave them open just to have some sort of presence there. I disagree with this approach. Having a profile on a network just to have one is absurd. They’re called social networks for a reason, and if you’re not using them to be sociable and engage with your online community, you’re doing it wrong! I also don’t want them filled with outdated content. Since I’m not actively on the sites, it’s pretty much a given that I won’t be updating things like my avatar or profile information on them either. This really goes against my message of consistency promoting awareness that I harp on constantly… I firmly believe you should have a consisten presence when branding yourself on the web. This include avatars, profile information, taglines, bios, etc. If you’re not maintaining that information across all of your social spaces, I believe you’re doing yourself and your brand a huge disservice.
Like I said, times may change and I might come back to some of these or I might change my “core group” in the future. But for now, this is my decision and I’m sticking to it!