I have been thinking about how I use/see different social networking tools these days.
I’m sharing here some observations.
I have never been a huge fan of Facebook, but I do find it useful to keep up with a lot of relatives I would not hear from otherwise. I almost never post anything to Facebook (my tweets and Flickr photos are automatically pushed). From time to time I re-share something I like. I’m also managing a few pages, but that’s another story. I have 454 friends on Facebook, the vast majority is people I actually know somehow. I use a secondary browser or iPhone/iPad apps for Facebook, as I find slightly annoying being tracked around the web.
I liked Google+ a lot in the first weeks. That’s probably because there was very little people there, and conversations seemed to be meaningful. Then Robert Scoble published a circle which included my account, and suddenly I had more than 5000 followers. I like the concept of circles, and I liked the idea of keeping a circle of “Italians” to post stuff in Italian (it’s incredible how bad all social networks are when you speak more than one language and you have friends who only speak one of them), but with the large number of followers I gave up keeping my circles sorted. Today I have 6710 followers and 205 people in my circles: I add those I find interesting. I still check Google Plus a few times a day (using my regular browser… I just can’t live without letting Google know everything I do).
I’m not very good with Twitter. I find it hard to post meaningful stuff in 140 characters. I follow 439 accounts (people, companies, queens, squirrels, etc). Have 1815 followers. Sometimes I retweet something, I use it to push links (this post is a good candidate), but I don’t check Twitter that often. I have a list named “friends” I try to follow a bit more, but they keep hiding the lists feature in every UI change and I guess I will give up on them soon.
For a very long time I was super-serious about not accepting connections from people I didn’t actually know. Lately I have been a little less strict about the rule (I do accept connections from people I find interesting, even if I don’t know them). I still turn down Indian businessmen and Venezuelan PR agencies, and I’m always slightly amazed by the fact that people I know do connect with them. I don’t see what’s the point. I have more than 500 connections on LinkedIn. From time to time it has been useful to find some information about people I knew, but it really never worked when trying to make contact with others.
Like many others, recently I have been playing with Path. I like to think of it as the network of people I like. It’s too soon to say if it will last, but it’s promising and I like the design of the app. If you wake up and your dsl line is down, friends will think that you sleep for days.
After some pretty intense activity in the past, I’m not checking it anymore. Never accepted contacts from people I didn’t know relatively well (knowing where I am is kinda private).
I also have Plancast, Friendfeed, Quora, Dopplr, Digg, Slideshare in my “social-networking-open-all-with-one-click” bookmark, but I can’t really say I find any use in my accounts on those networks.
How about social networks and you?