Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Questions about social networking--useful tool or pointless time suck?

I'm going to an old-skool networking event tonight--you know, where you meet people face to face.

Tonight's theme is social networking. And the woman in charge has asked me to attend because I'm the biggest geek she knows.

Now, I know what I use social networking for: I blog to share my high-quality blather with the world; I started the Mamarazzi Ning site because Mamarazzi devotees deserved more opportunities to bash celebrity parents; I tweet because I never shut up; I'm on Facebook to play with lil Green Patch; I'm on Good Reads because I supposedly care what my friends are reading, (except actually I don't because my friends read boring shit) and LibraryThing because I'm always on the look out for fellow Georgette Heyer and P. G. Wodehouse obsessed weirdos. I started a YouTube account to collect my favorites in one place, but now find it useful for spying on my children.

And I'm on LinkedIn because I write for BlogHer and felt a certain pressure to appear professional.

So this is where the questions (and over-the-top shameless comment whoring) come in.

Which social network sites do you belong to? Why did you join? What do you really find useful/fun? And is any of this practical, or is it mostly a big time suck?

Please leave comments--I'd love to be able to demonstrate the power of social networking to my real-life networking group!

28 comments:

  1. I joined Facebook a couple years ago because I work with college students. Now, it's more of a way for me to stay in touch with friends.

    I joined Twitter because ... well, I don't know why.

    I tried Plurk for a week and then dropped it.

    I am on Ning because you told me to join.

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  2. How I feel is right here.

    But, it is also a total time suck.

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  3. Especially Twitter...(time suck, that is...)

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  4. Yeah, I am on Ning because you made me.

    I heart Twitter. I look at it as a writing exercise, and I like the immediacy of it, and the fact that IT'S NOT CHAT.

    I only joined GoodReads to keep track of the books I've read and whether or not I liked them.

    I think I am too antisocial for social networking, in general. Also, I'm an exhibitionist, not a voyeur.

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  5. I joined Facebook to keep in touch with a few friends who live multiple states away. It was a huge time suck for awhile, but then my place of employment blocked it. : )

    I'm on Twitter. Can't remember why I joined that one, but it's actually one of my favs - short and sweet. It's also kinda cool to have famous people follow you.

    I'm on Ning because of you and Jen. But I love the snark of it. And the easy targets.

    I'm on Yammer for work. I work for a company spread out across the U.S.. Yammer is like a corporate version of Twitter. We do a lot of cross-property committee work through it.

    I like LibraryThing although I haven't logged into it in ages. I'm on Shelfari more often because my mom and a number of other friends are on it.

    Having originally grown up outside Chicago and now living in the sticks of South Dakota, it's nice to have the social networks to connect with and "see" some of the folks I don't often have a chance to catch up with. If it wasn't for some of these sites I'm quite sure I would have lost touch with some great people.

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  6. Along with my blogs:

    I'm on Twitter, although it is sapping my will to blog. I've discovered that anything I need to say, I can say in less than 140 characters, which is nothing if not humbling.

    Facebook was fun until I got a ton of friend requests from folks who I couldn't remember from high school, along with the folks I was trying to forget from high school. I barely use it anymore. But then, I'm a hermit.

    Plurk confused me, so that disappeared after a week.

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  7. I use:

    Facebook. Had it for a couple years but only recently really started using it a lot. I use it to easily communicate with people and find ones I've lost touch with. I hate all the random little applications, but I LOVE scrabble. I'm also starting to use it for work-related groups.

    Twitter. Love it. Addicted. Twitterfox rules.

    LinkedIn. Don't use it much, but I like the networking aspect of it.

    Myspace. RARELY sign in anymore, but I'm still on it.

    Goodreads. When I update, it's great!

    Shelfari. What I'm replacing Goodreads with because I like the visual aspect.

    Flickr. Can. not. live without it. It counts because of groups.

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  8. It probably would be more of a time-suck if I knew more about how to utilize all this stuff. I'm techno-hopeless. I do have a FB site, but it sits mostly unused. People who sent me drinks and karma or requests probably think I'm a snob, but I just discovered that page was even there. If it were a fridge, everything would be green and fuzzy. I'm also on YouTube, a Ning site for writers (both nearly totally orphaned). I don't tweet or blackberry or get linked or...sigh... I find two blogs are more than enough to keep up with, and still work on my current manuscripts. However, you want old school - I love talking on the phone, I don't know why anyone would text when they could talk. I just recently broke my old personal best, clocking in at 6 hours. Good thing I have a one-fee unlimited plan. Everything I do, I do it for fun, to paraphrase Bryan Adams.

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  9. I on just about everything. I live in Silicon Valley, where people spend their days dreaming up new time sucks for the masses. Call me lemming.

    The ones I use are Flickr, Twitter, and sometimes Facebook. I like Twitter best of all, because I have come to terms with the fact that I'm only funny in 140 characters or less. I've been on twitter since 2006, which is like 30 human years.
    Kind of looking for the next thing.

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  10. twitter is my biggest time suck at the moment (just b/c it is providing with lots of celebrity gossip). i'm hoping that when i start my real job in august i can get off the twitter and other assorted crack and just check these a few times a day.
    facebook & myspace are great for finding people from high school - if you are into that sort of thing. but i've also found alot of good music on myspace, so thats cool.
    i'm on livejournal, but only because my friends had them in undergrad and now i just use it to keep track of musicians.
    i'm also on goodreads - just because i like to keep track of what i have read and see what others are reading.
    i used to blog - but that got old when i thought i didn't have anything interesting to say.
    i'm on linked in but haven't really done much with it - maybe i will when i graduate.
    does polyvore count as social networking? ha - i really love that site. its usually what i do when i should be paying attention in class.

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  11. I'm on Facebook because my son and his friends wanted me too-now, I have grown up friends on with me and I have to watch what I'm saying and doing. The other day I joined Amy Sedaris' Crafty Beavers group and a couple of the thirteen year old girls followed, oops! So, I need to rethink that one.

    I love Twitter.....

    Just joined GoodReads

    and now I have go check out this Ning thing...

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  12. I joined all these different services because I started working for a tech startup and was pressured into trying everything. Also, the Lijit widget supports many different content sources so I felt like it was a big part of my job to know what delicious was and how Twitter worked. Now, here I am, fully entrenched and even, gasp, speaking on panels about the use of these tools. ;)

    I use Twitter both personally and professionally, belong to a few Ning groups, use LinkedIn as my online resume, am a frequent delicious bookmarker AND post most of my pictures on Flickr. Whew. It makes me tired just typing all that.

    And don't get me started on Facebook...I have a love/hate relationship with it.

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  13. Facebook is my favorite by far, but Twitter is the most useful.

    Facebook started for me as a way to keep up with all my geeky friends from when I worked at Yahoo but has since morphed into a place where I have connected with classmates from 25 years ago, made friends with people from all over who read my blog and a way to promote my blog to a readership that isn't quite all the way to "full on geek" like I am.

    Twitter is just amazing in the element of real time communication and feedback it provides. It's a fantastic platform for me to get to know someone a little better without the commitment of exchanging lengthy emails. (Which I hate, unless I received on from you Poppy...then I'd frame it and kiss it every night.)

    My latest obsession is Skype. I'm working on a new project with several bloggers from across the country and once a week we have board meetings on skype which allows us to type our ideas back and forth and keeps a permanent record of our conversations so we can reference back.

    There, does that count as comment love? BC I do love you,you know. :)

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  14. Twitter is da bomb. It's like going to a real cool cocktail party and sidling up to a group of brilliant writers making cutting, pithy remarks on current events, and saying, "I'm hungry. Too bad the tuna in my fridge has turned." Because you know? I think Dorothy Parker et al would have wanted to know that.
    As for the rest? I do follow Goodreads for book suggestions from people who know who the hell Dorothy Parker was.

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  15. I blog b/c writing is my creative outlet. I've been blogging like six or seven years.

    I joined facebook about six months ago in order to look at my nephew's photos of his world travels. I use it daily now to keep up with friends b/c I'm horrible, HORRIBLE about keeping up. My own brother lives 40 minutes away from me and I probably haven't seen him in a year and a half. Also, since I moved away from my hometown 23 years ago, I'm finding a lot of old high school friends again.

    I tweet b/c I consider it "microblogging." I use it as an ongoing commentary on daily life. Little short observations that aren't enough for a full blog post. And I prefer to follow people who use it that same way. I think people who tweet as a 'business,' i.e. to constantly promote their various blogs, are BORING. Unfollow.

    I'm on GoodReads b/c I'm always looking for good book recommendations, but to be honest I hardly ever go there.

    I work full time outside the home tho (45 to 50 HPW) - and most of these sites are blocked at my office - so my social networking time is probably a lot less than others'.

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  16. I am addicted to Twitter which I began using after reading transcripts from Blissdom. As it turns out, I do need to know what all my favorite bloggers are thinking all day long, but it is a time suck. I also hoped it would help me invite more readers to my blog and in that effort it has not been very successful as of yet.

    I have a Facebook page which was really just so my husband wouldn't be the only one flirting with the internet. There actually were a few people from my illustrious past that I haven't kept in touch with that I have loved hearing from. But then there were the people who made me pull down my virtual sunglasses and keep on walking.

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  17. I'm on IMVU, which isn't as big of a timesuck as it used to be now that I only have 8 friends there and rarely talk to anyone else. I do belong to a couple of writers' groups there, though.

    Facebook is full of junk, but after wading through all that it's still the best way I've found for keeping in touch with lots of people I don't often see in real life (or haven't seen in the 20mumble years since I was in high school). From FB I joined TBD, but I got bored with it after a few months.

    An IMVU/FB friend pushed me into Twitter and I haven't looked back; like somebody else said here, it's a great way to share thoughts that are too brief or random for blog entries. Also found some great news feeds there that are even more immediate than a lot of other online news services. Twitter led me to TwitterMoms, but I haven't been very active there lately.

    blah, blah blah ... It's obvious why I joined so many networks: I like to babble about myself, and online is the best place to do it without being interrupted!

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  18. I started with LinkedIn after getting involved with my college reunion effort, figuring it would make it easier next time.

    Then I watched my husband blog for a year, in which time I started following the blogs of other people (most adoringly yours, of course). That led me to decide to become a blogger myself so I would feel OK about commenting on the blogs of others.

    I was very reluctant to join Facebook, but followed my husband there when I saw how much fun he was having. I am so grateful to it because it reconnected me to my favorite people in a much friendlier and more casual way than LinkedIn could.

    Then came Twitter, which I expected to dislike but now love.

    Finally I joined Ning because I want to be Just Like Poppy!

    Time suck? Well, I guess. But life in the real world is so isolating, and it's hard to find people with common interests. By reestablishing my relationships with important folks from my past, and also making it easier to find others with a similar turn of mind, these tools are making adult life more socially satisfying. It doesn't feel virtual at all.

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  19. I started blogging 6 years ago because I love to write, but it's become a way to socialize with like-minded people, many of whom I've never met. I joined facebook to see a friend's pictures, but didn't use it for months. I think it's been less than a year since I've been a semi-regular over there and I love the way it's taken the pressure out of renewing old acquaintanceships. You can get back in touch with that old friend you've always wondered about without worrying about being stuck in an awkward conversation that you can't get out of. Twitter irritates the hell out of me. I don't twit much. I'm too longwinded (as this comment will certify). But I like reading my friends' twits. It's the next best thing to being all in the same room with them again. But they are all a huge impingement on my time. Other than the blog, which I get some real satisfaction out of, I could ditch it all and not miss much.

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  20. Well, let's see. As a single person, on my day off I could get away with not talking to anyone at all. So my internets allow me to communicate with the outside world!!

    I blog because I wanted to be just like the bloggy girls I met online (like Poppy and Badger and and and...) And because I like putting my opinions out there and pictures and and and. I love love comments. I now have about 5 blogs if you count that I have 3 Sarah Louise blogs on Blogger on the same account and two that use my real name. I have been blogging less since Twitter, but also, blogging became less fun before Twitter. I'm working back into it...

    Twitter--I work in an office where I need a break between projects. I thought, hey, Twitter could be that! And it works as that, as well as connecting me to all sorts of really cool people. I started by following a whole lot of people and now less, but it has been useful socially and professionally (a lot of librarians twitter.) Twitter is the most fun, I don't care if it's a time suck. One time when I was visiting my folks my mom commented (aloud, not on a blog) that she thought it was good that I had Twitter, since I live alone. I agree. I also enjoy things like the Golden Globes more now b/c we all live tweet them and it's like having a house full of people without having to clean the house. I could write more about Twitter, but your eyes would glaze over at some point, and I *have* gone over my 140 character limit.

    I joined Live Journal last weekend because a friend mentioned they have some "Sex and the City" forums and well, I am forever looking for people to talk to about my favorite show.

    Facebook...it took many years to get me there. My boyfriend joined and I figured if he was on there, I'd better be too. The relationship with the man didn't last, but the one with FB continues. Right now I keep my yearbook by my computer b/c I'm getting friend requests daily from folks I never knew in high school. I've accepted that FB is sort of a small town, you can be private to some degree (I have my privacy settings at high) but don't say anything you wouldn't say if you could be overheard by an enemy. I used to do all the green patch stuff and finally realized that it was a time suck (for me). I sort of miss it. I'm back playing Scrabble (or Lexu-whatever it's called now.) A lot of librarians are on FB too, so it has been somewhat helpful professionally, though I was glad when my boss told me she decided to not request me as a friend, since FB is more of a "personal" place for me.

    I have NO clue why I joined Plaxo.

    I belong to the Grace in small things' ning because I adore Schmutzie, she's so cute.

    I joined Good Reads b/c a Twitter friend was lamenting that none of his friends used it. I have a lifetime LibraryThing account but don't use it that much. It has lists of books I *want* to read. Everyone in my church belongs to Shelfari but I don't like the setup.

    I belong to yammer but hardly ever use it.

    Whew! I think that's it. Oh, I have a Flickr account that I've never added pictures to.

    xo,
    SL

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  21. I blog, but rarely (mostly because I am lazy) about my knitting. I then joined ravelry (a knitting social network) and Flikr because it is way easier to upload photos (of my knitting) to flikr than to blogger. See a theme here? I dallied with the idea of joining twitter and still might. Will not join facebook because I am generally anti social. I do LOVE to read blogs...does google reader count?

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  22. WOW--I'm reading through all your comments slowly, and I just had to stop and say this: OMG, you guys are the best. THE BEST!!!

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  23. I like facebook because without it, I wouldn't know that my cousin Uriel has now decided to become a Tarheels fan, or that my niece likes to make videos of herself bellydancing. I don't twitter because I'm not sure what it is but I think it involves having a cell phone that texts, which I do not. Never heard of Plurk, Plax, Ning, Yammer, Slammer, or Shelftastic. I do love Kersporkulus though. I CANNOT BELIEVE how few of you are on Kersporkulus.

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  24. I'm probably too late for the night's network, but for what it's worth....I love facebook. I think of it less of a social networking sight (because I'm not looking to meet people) and more of a catch up with, see what old friends are doing. My friends from college crack me up--they are still the same (just with kids and responsibilities and can't go to "kegs" 6 nights a week). I started blogging because I love to read what you write and feel like I have some things to share. Of course I have no idea how you blogged 365 because I can't even come up with 2 per month (I come up with 100s while driving, just can't remember the inspiration when I get home).

    No idea what ning is, will have to go look. I'm on PLaxo because I will shamelessly use anything that might help me remember someone/anyone's birthday. I guess if have to join twitter because everyone here loves it...

    FB has the ability to be a time suck--I think it depends on how narcissistic you are or how interesting your friends are on any given day.

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  25. Ning, Twitter, Plurk (dropped. quickly.) Facebook. Linked In (both in my blog and real life)

    And terribly lax about them.

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  26. I think I've joined every possible group but all I do really is Facebook. It's fun to see how fat and bald the guys I worshiped in high school have become.

    And you guys are too funny - that's great when I read your blogs, horrible for Twitter because my Twits pale dreadfully by comparison. You probably haven't even noticed that I stopped Twitting months ago!

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  27. Hmmm, interesting topic. I came away from Blissdom convinced that all of it could be useful, but have started wondering if I'm just using it to while away time.

    I'm on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace (barely, i've never really enjoyed it all that much), shelfari, goodreads, a few forums,

    I think for the most part Twitter is a time suck for me, although I've gotten some blog readers from it. I also found some good lupus/autoimmune resources on there.

    Facebook I like for the ability to keep up with people,a nd mostly for Scrabble. So addicted to that.

    LinkedIn I've joined as a tool although I'm not sure i've noticed a return on it at this point, but I don't spend a lot of time with it either.

    MySpace I started, but it always seemed to crash my PC, and the creep factor bothered me. I've not taken it down, and occasionally (not in at least 6 months?) log in to see if any of my friends who haven't made the FB leap have anything going on.

    Shelfari b/c dancing_lemur talked me into it. I don't really like the format yet, but I'll try it for a bit longer.

    I adore Goodreads because it fits my need to track the things I've read, as well as mark the things that I'd like to read. I've made a few friends on there, won a book, and joined a book club online. Thumbs up on that one.

    My forums are a big part of my life in a way. I've met neighbors, and dear friends through one o my forums. I have one longtime forum that I can share anything on, or put any request for information up and trust that I will receive. That one is a family to me at this point.

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  28. dude, I do FB, but the real question is, why are Georgette Heyer novels SO DAMN HARD to find, used? I figured they'd be everywhere, but they're not. I have to start ILLing to read more, but you know me, I want to OWN them because I am pathological that way.

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Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.