Your online social networks are probably a total mess. A scroll down your friends list in Facebook is mostly likely a game of “who’s that again?” The trouble is that these social networks don’t seem like they are going to die anytime soon, and their usefulness is diluted by a lack of purpose.
The solution is to determine a mission for each social network, and stick with it. Here’s how I’ve structured my social networking:
I’ve been on Facebook since it was fairly young; it came to the University at Buffalo early. Over the years I accumulated a few hundred friends. Many of the people on the list were friends of friends and acquaintances.
Now I only use Facebook for actual friends:
- People I interact with
- Significant others of my friends
- Friends from prior eras of life
If I don’t actually know you, you and I aren’t friends in life or on Facebook.
It’s a business networking tool, and it becomes more useful as you add more connections.
I use it to maintain business contacts. If we’ve met professionally and exchanged business cards, I’m hunting you down on LinkedIn.
I use it to learn new things, share, and converse with people I know, and people I don’t.
Anyone can follow me, so long as you aren’t a spammer (I smote spammers on principal).
I’ll follow you if you are funny or interesting, double points if you’re both.
It may seem like a funny idea, but defining my objective for each social networking site helped me get more value out of them.
When I go on Facebook, I see the status updates of people I know and care about.
When I login to LinkedIn I know that each connection is professional.
Twitter is my outlet for quick thoughts, and interesting finds. When I scroll through my incoming feed it’s entertaining because I’m only following interesting tweeters.
2 thoughts on “How to Maximize Social Networks”
I like this method. This is a very healthy approach. Though i’d prefer to delete my FB account rather than manage it.
Linked In is another site I haven’t seen much use for. It’s been too mired in office politics for me in the past. I don’t want to be linked to workers or former co-workers that I have no respect for. In the past, I felt pressured to make that connection to keep the peace. Plus, because of my race and gender, I’m worried that potential employers will look there first, see my picture and cross me off their list of candidates.
Ahem, well enough of my paranoia. Thanks for the tips!
I’m happy you found it useful.
LinkedIn is kind of a funny site. It’s hideous, difficult to use, and at first glance it appears useless… Or at least I think so. However when the time comes that you do need to network, it’s by far the best thing out there.
As far as being prejudged by people is concerned… Do you really want to work for or with people like that?