How Do You Network on Different Social Sites?

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.

Tamar Weinberg's Friendster Connections Breakdown

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. ;)

Tamar Weinberg's Facebook Connections

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:

Tamar Weinberg's MySpace Connections

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.

Tamar Weinberg's LinkedIn 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?

Closing Thoughts

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:

52 Comments

  • Kristen says:

    I just got into social networking in the last 6 months. I started with LinkedIn and while it is a great tool like you said, Facebook is way more fun. MySpace? well……that just seems like a place for kids and even though Facebook seems to be replacing MySpace for youth conversations, it brings out the kid in me while accomplishing the networking part at the same time. I’ve never even tried friendster.

  • marc says:

    1) Linked-in used to be pure. Made up of those I only knew in “real-life.” I’ve break that rule more often than I’d like if the background of the person sounds interesting and I think the connection can be mutually beneficial (read: beneficial to me since they’ve already determined they think it would be beneficial to them.)

    2) Facebook. I hold a strong line here. I only ‘add’ people that I know. Period. End of story. I know people put ‘value’ against their network in sheer size but I prefer quality of network over that other perceived value because a) I appreciate the cleanliness of my FB in-box (only email in there is from people that won’t spam me.) b) I have more personal information contained on FB than ‘just my resume’ so I therefore want to keep those links, pics, thoughts, videos, etc. slightly more protected from people I don’t know.

    > click.

  • TheMadHat says:

    Interesting breakdown, and my graph seems to be about the same. I hate Myspace, and haven’t gotten into Facebook much (although I think I’ve held out as long as I can). Anyone that I don’t know personally or haven’t heard of usually gets declined, but if they appear to be in the industry then I’ll add them and they get one chance not to annoy me…then it’s axe time.

  • Jon Kelly says:

    Ok, Tamar. Did I miss something or do you have 27 facebook friends from preschool?? Wow, that’s friendship longevity!

    Since I know you love memes I’ll go ahead and write about how I use social media over at our spot.

  • Yuvi says:

    Weird. My only everyday social network is IM, though Orkut(which seems to be missing from a lot of lists) is the place which has all my school friends, even the ones who don’t know to use IM.

    P.S. Excel?

    P.P.S. And, can we please have a “Notify me of follow up comments” plugin here? Thank you :)

  • Yuvi, yes, Excel. Thanks to you. ;)

    I will look into the plugin option. I’m actually in the midst of a blog redesign (since I know this one is so plain) :)

  • Jon, yeah, it is actually quite cool to see that we’re in touch after all these years. :)

  • Jansie Blom says:

    hell, the social media thing is no new to me i’d stick facebook stickers on my motorbike…

  • Stephanie says:

    After reading this, it dawned on me that I need to up my presents on these sites.

    I get fixated on one community and ditch the last, yet I still have my profiles on them and they usually get outdated within minutes.

    I totally get why you act differently when you have many pre-school friends still connected to you. I think it has to do with the whole psychology of association.

    However- these social sites are soo much easier than organizing and attending reunions and it is always possible to look your best!!

  • Tamar – you didn’t mention Twitter. But how would you count how often you “visit” Twitter?

  • Miriam – that was intentional. Twitter, Pownce, and other “microblogging” platforms really don’t fit in the type of social networks that I intend to illustrate here. And I’m a lot more liberal there because of the networking opportunities, I suppose. ;)

  • Dan Perry says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I feel too old for MySpace (and I’m not 40… yet). I just feel weird signing up for an account, when all I’ve heard/read about it is pretty negative. On the other hand, I use Flickr on a daily basis, LinkedIn, Facebook and a few golf-specific social sites a few times a week, and lately, Spock on a more than expected basis.

  • Hey Dan, can you explain the recent appeal with Spock? I’m getting a lot of invites for it and I don’t understand what it has to offer. I think it’s a bit of an intrusion on my privacy with how Spock seems to be harvesting emails. What is your experience?

  • Great post Tamar.

    I use my real profile on LinkedIn and Facebook for industry friends. All the other sites I network in are usually done under another persona, but I am a very good friend to have and very supportive of my friends even though I don’t know anything about most of them beyond the avatar. (My ‘offline’ friends think I’m absolutely nuts for all the digging and stumbling I do.) The jury is still out for me on Twitter.

  • Dan Perry says:

    The recent appeal with Spock… That’s a good one. My first invite came from an SIS/Pubcon friend, so I started digging. The value to me (although I don’t know if a lot of people are actively doing it) is the ability for me to vote on what you think is applicable to you. Read that again if it didn’t make sense. For example: If I write that I played drums for Van Halen on their Reunion Tour, you, as a friend, have the ability of telling Spock whether it’s true or not. If enough people call bunk (which it is, unfortunately), then my Trust will drop. It may not be a perfect system, but it’s interesting enough to follow for awhile, and see how it pans out. In addition, if you look at the “Top Spockers”, or whatever they’re called, you’ll notice a lot are older, and non-US. Definitely not being led by internet marketers.

    As for harvesting emails, the jury’s still out, but it’s definitely not the first (or last) network to go down this road. I’m as interested in the “SpockBot” voting on some of info. Like I said, it will be interesting to follow.

    Friends in schwag,

    Dan

  • dave mcclure says:

    wow… this is some awesome stuff. great post!

    i’m re-sharing this on Facebook right now :)

  • Hey Dan, thanks for the follow-up. We were having this chat last night with Kevin Ryan of Incisive so I’ll be sure to pass it on. ;)

  • You’re the only person I know that knows about sixdegrees! That’s hilarious! A site more ahead of their time…

    I use MySpace as a way to keep in touch with personal friends and (mostly) younger family members – cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. I check it every day to make sure I’m not missing out on break-ups, birthdays, and so on.

    Facebook is mostly used for professional use. I network with other marketers and people in SEO. Usually, I’ll only check it if I get a message, but I’m trying to be more proactive and find others.

    I have a profile on LinkedIn but haven’t updated it in months. As of yet, I haven’t found the value, but I’ll check it out again. Thanks for the reminder.

    Cheers!
    -mm-

  • veronicaromm says:

    I an new to social media. But by far Stumbleupon is the most diverse, and mature social network.

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  • Pasi says:

    Mostly I connect randomly, but with Facebook, most of my friends are from University.

  • Shane says:

    I’m fairly new to this whole social networking phenomenon. So far most of my time is spent on Stumbeupon and Propeller. Facebook and maybe Myspace are coming. Also find YouTube fascinating.

    I really appreciate the other comments above. I know very little about some of these sites.

    Thanks,

    Shane

  • jorje skl says:

    Thanks a million just what i was looking for after days of searching , hope to keep me updated ton new smo techniques !!! i’m jorjevio doing seo in Athens Greece
    Great work!!!. Revisit list!!!

  • Hi Tamar. Super post. After pouncing on ‘The Lisa’ last month for ‘keeping the door closed’, mine opened!. Learn from experience? Re-worked my Facebook and Twitter contacts last week. Yikes ! Lost a few in the process but was pleased when only one dropped me ?! So Rae, where are you :)

    Keep up the great stuff
    Charlie

  • Hawaii SEO says:

    Wow! Great post. It’s somewhat ironic that I found this post via the link you posted on Twitter. Now I’m not sure if I should comment over here or twitter about it. ;^)

  • You’re killing me, Lapp :P

  • Social Networking helps to connect far-flung groups of users who share common interests such as dating, music, sports, hobbies and other passions. In the business world, social networks help professionals share industry expertise and facilitate business networking.

  • jorjevio says:

    Yes Social Networking requires some discretion regarding your different persona’s .
    Thats if you a marketer or just out there to boost your ego.
    When i first joined facebook i was in there for personal friends now , i’m experimenting different marketing campaigns on it. being what it has become.

    I still believe that only a limited amount of personal info should be shared on different levels. thus your persona’s.
    SM is now a very powerful business tool which will be exploited out the expenses of others personal information.

  • I am pretty liberal when accepting friends on the Social Networking sites. I use Myspace (less frequently), Facebook (daily), LinkedIn (Weekly+), Gather (for article marketing) and Zaadz (for my “earth friendly” content).

    I get so many good leads without even really marketing. If you are on for personal reasons, be conservative. If you are doing business, cast a wider net!

  • lashawnda says:

    How get on Fcaebook at school what are some sites I can get on.

  • Ross says:

    Facebook is for “real life” friends only – even if I haven’t seen them in 20 years. In fact for me, catching up with people I haven’t seen in ages is one of the best aspects of Facebook. I have 2, maybe 3 “friends” on Facebook that I haven’t met in real life. I only accepted their requests because we chat online frequently, and if I was ever in the same city, I’d probably meet up with them.

    Twitter I follow pretty much anyone I find interesting. I don’t get bent out of shape if they don’t in turn follow me. I don’t pretend to be interesting.

    Last.FM I stick with people who have similar musical taste.

    LinkedIn is strictly people I’ve worked with, for or had work for me.

    Digg I blindly accept friend requests and rarely if ever pay attention to “shouts”.

    MySpace is a cesspool that I won’t have anything to do with.

    FriendFeed is on the verge of being annoying.

    I gave up on MyBlogLog and Technorati. Ditto Pownce. Jaiku I have hope for, but rarely use.

    StumbleUpon I blindly accept friend requests, but if I find I’m being sent to pages that I really have no interest in, I check to see who recommended it, and consider removing them.

    When Friendster was popular I was too busy with a 9-5 to care.

  • Social Networking Sites connects me to people. Facebook helps me keep in touch with my friends, especially my close friends. Facebook is the best networking site for me.

  • Tracy K says:

    Oh! Wonderful job!
    Very interesting and actual post.
    Thx, your blog in my Google reader now

  • Felix says:

    Though I also keep Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Flixter, etc., accounts in order to look for old and lost friends (ex-classmates, relatives, co-workers, etc.), I use just one account on a daily basis to make things simpler: my Friendster account. Then when I find old friends in the other networking sites above who are not in Friendster, I invite them to Friendster.

  • dean says:

    Tamar,
    I came to some of the conclusions you point out. Great article. For my needs, Linkedin has been the place of opportunity and twitter has been my soc system broadcasting tool. Twitter is a combo of “sound bite” succinct press releases as well as a fantastic research tool. Thanks for the great article and your help in my ongoing social media education!

    dean guadagni
    inner architect and inner architect media

  • dean says:

    Tamar,
    I found you through one of my twitter followers and someone I follow and respect greatly-Guy Kawasaki
    dean

  • Vickie says:

    My social networking actually started in the 90′s on AOL. After all the weirdo’s I ran into on there I am very careful about the friends I have. I am currently on Myspace and Facebook. I usually check them once a day, but if I get busy it could be a couple or three days. My friends are school friends, work friends and relatives. That is it. If I know someone who does not fit into one of those categories and I knew them before they can be my friend, but if some person I don’t know comes on and does a friend request, I have always denied. I did have one man send me a friend request that I approved. His last name was in my family genealogy ancestor list and I thought that maybe he was related, so I did allow him. He was the only exception I’ve made so far and ironically it is looking like he may fit in to my family tree. Good luck on this study. It is very interesting.

  • Jutta says:

    I totally agree – each social network has a different function for me.
    Facebook – is for me real life friends only; recently I even cut out people from the same school where I could not remember that we ever met in person.
    MySpace – I hardly ever go there, and most of my friends there are dead ;-) (Mozart, Strauss, …). Basically I use it to listen to music and connect with musicians (that are still alive).
    Delicious – collect news links that feed into my blog, because WordPress.com has a widget for it.
    Twitter – is for me mostly about sharing interesting information to anybody who wants to listen. Since I started using it, I posted less of these links to my Facebook profile.
    Diigo – is for me less of a networking tool, more for keeping track of interesting links for myself that I want to get back to. I chose it over other similar sites for its user friendly Diigolet toolbar that disappears when you don’t need it.

  • Edited! says:

    I have been working in e-business for 10 years and I think this social media buzz is the biggest buzz in the last decades…
    Seems like this is the next big step… perhaps the biggest boom since the appearance of search engines…

    Great Tips there, by the way!

    Editor’s note: Thanks for your comments. However, as stated in my blog policy, I have asked you to use your real name. I do not think your name is “Marketer at Shuriken” and have edited your comment and URL as explained in the blog policy.

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