Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Social Network(s)

I've never been a huge networker IRL. I have a network, I work on working it, but my circles (again, IRL) are pretty tight.

I will never have 10,000 Facebook friends or LinkedIn contacts. Hell, I'm only now getting up to around 400 Facebook friends and that's mainly because they are all pretty much friends. People I know and have met in real life. But I'm starting to step things up a bit. Here are the main places I go and what I do with them:
  • Facebook. I know it's trite, but I love Facebook. Outside of the official Act Like You Mean Business page, I'm there mostly for social purposes. If I do any business on it, it's acting stuff, as probably a third-to-half my FB friends are actors. I try to limit friends so I can feel free to say what I want without too much editing or messing with lists. And yet, Facebook has been very good for the book. And not just the official page. I've gotten lots of leads, feedback, opportunities and sales just among my friends. But mostly I just like spouting off, spleen-venting and over-sharing. And the Timeline is a narcissist's dream!
  • LinkedIn. I read all the how-to articles and do everything I can to "optimize" my LinkedIn profile for searches and such, but I still use it mainly as a place to have a profile and as a rolodex for business contacts. I have tried and tried various LinkedIn groups to interact and network with PR industry people, but most of the groups are huge and unwieldy and full of spam and off-topic posts.
  • Google+. I've done very little with Google+. I feel like it has a lot of potential, but right now the only people I see who are really active on it are social media types and Internet marketers, so you get a really skewed sense of the place. It seems every third post is people touting the power of G+ as if they have a personal stake in its success. Which they may. Right now I've got a profile up, circle people occasionally and post maybe once or twice a week. Everyone there is predicting it's going to hit Facebook like a tsunami, but I'm doubtful at this point.
  • Twitter. Oddly, after all this time, I'm starting to get into that most ancient of social networks, Twitter. I never much liked Twitter because it's so ... non-visual. I like threaded conversations (like Facebook and G+) and I like pictures and links you can see without clicking. (Though various platforms have made it a better, more visual experience and Twitter itself is improving its own platform.) Up to now I've used it mainly as a news feed, to see what's going on in the PR industry or to track commentary on a specific issue or event that comes up. I thought with Google+ I could wait it out but it doesn't look like Twitters' going away any time soon. And most PR people are on it. So I'm getting on board in a more serious way. I'm never going to be one of those people who retweets 20 articles a day, which are retweeted by 20,000 other people, but I hope to use it mainly for quipping purposes (short little quirky comments, some related to the book and some not), keeping up with the news and reaching more industry people.
I know that's just scratching the surface. There's Flicker and Instagram and Pinterest and Reddit and a bunch of other things, but I don't know how people who are on all those places get anything done at all.

Feel free, btw, to Friend, Connect, Follow or Circle.

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