How do you leverage different social networks? I am fascinated by the amount of social networks that I’m part of, but better yet, I’m intrigued to find that I assume different “personas,” at least in terms of choosing friends (and using the networks), on each social site. Are you the same?
Allow me to explain:
I first embraced social networking in the late 90s when I joined SixDegrees.com. I was pretty liberal when choosing my friends, but the social networking phenomenon didn’t take off and SixDegrees died. They had a great idea, though, and it finally became popular in the last few years.
First (Real) Stop: Friendster
In 2001, I took the plunge into Friendster, and as an early adopter, I befriended just about anyone I had some sort of association with and reciprocated every friend request. I have 148 total friends on Friendster at this time, and as you can tell from the chart below, a lot of them are “random” in the sense that I don’t have a clue who they really are.
Friendster made it easy for not-so-genuine people to become friends with real people. For example, one of my Friendster aliases is Times Square. That doesn’t typically fly elsewhere (Facebook will kill the account), but Times Square on Friendster required 2 accounts at the time because I maxed out on the initial 500 person limit. I had many friends just like that. Most of the other random individuals are all from various parts of Asia, where Friendster is still quite strong.
The High Point: Facebook
In 2004, I joined Facebook and my behavior changed drastically. I became a lot more conservative in choosing my friends in Facebook (as broken down in the chart below) with a few exceptions because Facebook is starting to blend in with my social media enthusiasm. I’ll admit (a little secret of mine) that I initially befriended a few folks I admired on TV (specifically, 2006-2007′s Beauty and the Geek) but since I have no personal connection to the guys, I deleted the non-genuine contacts. That said, of the 919 friends calculated in this pie chart (a number that has since grown), I actually have a connection with all of these individuals in some capacity. Surprisingly, while the number is quite high, I actually am pretty conservative about my friend selection on Facebook and decline requests from unknown folks regularly. It comes with my social media maturity, I suppose.
To answer some questions, Industry connections are those I know through the search industry (primarily) but I have not yet met in person. Industry colleagues are those I have met in person (typically in a casual atmosphere or at conferences). Social media connections are those I know through a variety of online forums, the blogosphere, Twitter, and the like (but I generally don’t befriend someone immediately; I still give it time). I needed to differentiate Digg from social media because they actually are part of a distinctive community (and as you know, I’m very passionate about Digg so it really did deserve its own category). Extracurricular programs combine summer programs, vacations, and related activities. The only Random person (hence 0%) is another girl named Tamar Weinberg. I couldn’t help it. (By the way, I promised I’d deliver this breakdown and I did.)
As you can tell, my college friends win out (which in a way is surprising because I joined Facebook after I graduated). However, I suppose getting the initial internal and private college beta push really made Facebook more alluring to that particular crowd. Interestingly, I generated this list (which was a combination of manual labor plus FriendCSV) and learned that the first adopters are all associated with me through college. The last adopters of Facebook (as indicated by the Facebook ID numbers which I believe are generated sequentially) all seem to be in the industry. While this isn’t anything substantially groundbreaking, I propose this question: why is it that many marketers are not embracing the technology earlier? If nothing at all, the early adoption can get you more acclimated with the service (and an expert at it when everyone else jumps on the bandwagon). You know, my friend Dave McClure is kind of like that. (And if it’s not worth it to you, there’s always that opportunity to disable that account.)
The Irony: MySpace
Okay, so in my previous paragraph, I mention that you should be an early adopter of social networks. However, I joined MySpace in 2006 to network with individuals who refused to use Facebook and to return to my liberal ways of accepting a lot more friend requests than I normally would. I used to have over 200 friends (mostly musicians and blind friend acceptance requests) but I truncated the list (due to spam, primarily) to 46. Below, the pie graph:
Quite honestly, I don’t feel that I’ve lost out by not taking MySpace more seriously. I just don’t think there’s a lot to do with it. Granted, some companies use MySpace quite efficiently, but I feel that it targets a different demographic.
The Professional’s Network: LinkedIn
Finally, as far as LinkedIn is concerned, it’s a bit of a mix, though it makes sense. LinkedIn is a industry tool. That’s why the majority of individuals who have networked with me there are in the Industry Colleagues category. The chart below accounts for my 200 connections.
In the end, I guess there are two social networks that I take seriously: Facebook for keeping in touch with everyone who has somewhat of a personal connection to me, and LinkedIn for business opportunities and for networking with colleagues. The rest just don’t fit within serious networking (and I rarely visit either network), but the ride has been fun. And this all relates to how many times I visit each social network as broken down below:
- Facebook: once a day (or more, depending on activity)
- LinkedIn: once a week or once every two weeks
- MySpace: once every six months
- Friendster: once a year?
I’d turn this into a meme, but you know how I feel about that. I’m curious, however: for those who have the chance to answer this question, how do you leverage different social networks? Do you draw the line somewhere? Feel free to let me know how you respond and I’ll link it to this post.
Update: Here are the responses I’ve gotten thus far: