Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Twitter, Blogging, Linked-in: A Soical Networking Review

O.K., I am going to admit it: Twitter bores me. When I started writing and blogging back in the Bronze Age, I was excited about social media. I wanted to get my fingers on the pulse of the collective. I wanted to be informed, involved and Connected with a capital C.

Blogging was great for a while. I worked hard to seek out interesting voices and dynamic communities. I built my link list, I read other peoples work, commented on their sites, and followed best practice protocols. (Which basically means find a niche topic, blog every day, link to related sites, join communities, comment often, don't spam, and never feed the trolls.)

It was exciting, (especially during the elections) and in retrospect, I did learn a lot from the experience. But after a while, it all started to sound like white noise.

Then twitter came along. (That's twitter with a lower case t, as I'm told the creators prefer.) The buzz proclaimed it's wonderment. So I hooked in. I followed and was followed back. I tweeted and re-tweeted, and downloaded twirl and tweetdeck. I checked it often and clicked the little linkies. I tried hard to be a good little bird in the big bad flock. But it bored me.

Sure, I read stories from others who explained the practical value of twitter, and how it can be used as an effective tool for the on-the-go networker. I get it, it's has its uses. But in my personal experience, I have yet to tell one story of how twitter has provided me with a single snippet of information that has improved my life in any way shape or form.

I also got going of Facebook, because all the buzzers proclaimed it was the platform place to be. That experience has actually offered some mild amusement, as I have hooked in and chatted with some old school chums from long...(LOOONNNGGG) ago. But from a productivity standpoint, I put in in the category of my crossword puzzle: an amusing time waster that takes up about six minutes of my day.

After that, I built a self hosted blog on, because all the social networking gurus swear it's the only way to blog. The jury is still out on that one, as I need to give it a full six months to analyze the results; but for now, I am skeptical. The blogger platform has great community connectivity, and, uh, it's FREE. But we shall see, what we shall see as the experiment continues. I'll let you know.

Over all, the one platform other than blogger that I have found useful is Linked -In. Linked-In is referred to as an On-Line Resume tool, but it is so much more than that. People on Linked-In upload their professional resume, then join community user groups related to their fields of expertise, then write articles and join discussions. Everyone is careful to present a professional image, because its a job networking site. So, there is little troll behavior, no goofy gossip, no sexually explicit behavior, and almost all of the articles are well polished. Linked-In has led me to many real life networking events, seminars, classes, and work opportunities.

So all in all, I will continue to check facebook to connect with old friends, I will keep blogging when the muse strikes, and I will absolutely spend more time writing articles for Linked-In, but twitter bores me. I won't give up on it yet, as I want to carry the experiment through a full cycle, but for now, it earns a three yawn review.


Carolyn said...

Quite helpful! I was asked to join Linked In so now I will. Thank you!

Poetry in the Global Box said...

Well said...

Bob Robinson said...

I feel similarly about twitter, some of the tweets are useful (Ann Curry comes to mind, as does Chris Brogan), it is vaguely amusing to listen to some of the celebrities (the less self-centric ones, particularly - Virginia Madsen is surprisingly human, won't disparage the whiny others who are amusing at best). I'm always nervous about blogging outside my company bounds, since they are so restrictive on the boundaries of personal space vs. corporate releases. I find that FB is a hoot, surprisingly open playland for adults that introverts/engineering nerds like myself find easy to traverse. I'll keep looking at LinkedIn, which I now use as a tool to "connect to" engineers in other companies (read "competitors") who may perform related tasks, including engineers and executives willing to converse with their business competitors. Again, it is often walking a fine line, but as long as you ensure not to represent the home company, you stay on the right side of that line. Have often referred to the process as a "dance", essentially business socializing/networking in the hopes of achieving some mutual benefit, maybe even initiating a partnership (on a common interest proposal, for instance). If I suggested to my management that I planned to query a VP at one of several competitor companies (and I connect to several such VPs and chief engineers on LinkedIn), they might send me to a shrink or tell me "no way", but if I post a private query and initiate a fact-finding dialog (for both sides) that results in a positive business outcome, they don't complain. It's open, it'e ethical, but it's not the usual way for large corporations...