Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm social, let's network

I've seen a lot of blog posts recently about how people use certain social networking sites (the most recent from my dear German friend Natascha). Never one to pass on a meme, I'm going to rehash my thoughts on this subject here. First let me warn you that anything you say on the internet is there forever, and if you think someone won' t know it is you, well, just be prepared to be wrong. All that said, never put anything online (or anywhere else for that matter) if you aren't prepared to defend it, be embarrassed by it, or answer for it in court. So everything I say after this starts with the supposition that you aren't going to say anything too stupid.

I'm a member of lots of big social media/networking sites, but I only use a few. Here is how I use them:

  • Facebook - I used to only use Facebook to let people find me. I basically created my profile so people from the past could find me and send me a friend request. Then I'd usually send them an email, catch up, and just forget about it. Lately I've been using it marginally more, reading it when I'm really, really bored, and posting to it occasionally (although mostly I just share my Twitter updates with Facebook when I think it's appropriate for that audience). I'm not even remotely selective here - I can't think of a single request I've turned down besides people named things like Spammy McNotYourFriend.

  • LinkedIn - I use LinkedIn sort of like I used to use Facebook, but work-specific. I accept virtually every request I get, I'll respond to direct messages, and I'll look up people's contact information if I need it, but that is just about it. It's a nice way to keep tabs on my network without actually trying to keep up with them. I never read anyone's posts on there, although I sometimes do share tweets with it.

  • Google Buzz - This is the only thing Google ever did that I don't absolutely love. Oh, that and the Android platform, which I'm not behind at all. But those are the only two things. This whole thing is just a poorly-executed waste of time. I will say I always get a little tickle when I happen to bump into someone in there.

  • SAP Community Network and (login required) - These are strictly work areas. I blog in both spots, and occasionally turn up in the forums, but mostly I use these sites to gather information to make me more perfectly adequate at my job.

  • Twitter - My true online love. Sure I'll occasionally tweet about what I ate for breakfast, and read when others do the same, but I like Twitter because I have a lot of friends on there with similar work interests, so I can talk somewhat randomly about life and work and not have to worry about a filter between the two. I like that you have to be clever and concise. I like that you sometimes speak in a sort of secret code that people that aren't in Twitter don't understand. And I like the conversation, which is totally cliché and totally true. Twitter is the one place where I'm selective about who I follow (but not who can follow me) because I simply don't have time to really follow more than 100 people (and I'm up to about 250).

I like social media because it allows me to stay in touch when I don't have time to stay in touch. I can drop out for a few weeks and its not a huge deal. I can participate in the middle of the night whether other people are online and actively participate or not. I can more easily segregate my friends into non-work, work, or both, and I can choose when to interact with each.

And it makes sure I never miss things like VanDerMemes (via @gweiswasser).


  1. Jamie, Jamie, Jamie....

    You know that this is all wrong, dont you ?

    cya in September !!!

  2. Agreed! Except I use 'thefacebook' for family and friends. I keep work to LinkedIn, SCN and ASUG. Twitter is a mix of both, but I agree- a good mix of work and personal via Twitter is the best way to go about it.

    Mainly...I wanted to thank you for the vandermeme link. Too funny!

  3. Jamie:

    very comprehensive blog and thanks for the "shout out".

    I am more selective on LI but I think it does not really matter, as long as you can leverage that network when you need it.

    Never tried Google Buzz since they had such a poor start (sharing contacts and all). What is it you dislike about it?

    Twitter really has grown on me too. It's like dropping into a bar. Although I do have lists on Twitter, just to cut through to my "best friends'" and "most trusted social media advisors'" Tweets first. I love how many new people I have met on Twitter and subsequently in person. Somebody say social media is just for online nerds.

    Really enjoyed your blog,


  4. That was a great one. I hated him as Dawson but have loved him since (Varsity Blues, Rules of Attraction). VanDerBeek has a dark side, yo.

  5. Like "See ya" or like "Cover Your A**"? I'm not scared. I do follow everyone on twitter who might hurt me. :)

  6. Thanks Natascha.

    Google Buzz is just a poor attempt. The interface is awful, it has to be tied to your contacts (which aren't always who I want to follow), and most importantly, no one is there.

  7. It's the Tweeps, dude. it's all about the Tweeps.
    Facebook, eh. I am less than impressed - but I stalk my son there.
    LinkedIn - OK, I keep track of professional people there.
    Googlebuzz - Didn't have the time or energy.
    ASUG and SCN - Yeah, I blog, and I go to the forums occasionally.
    But Twitter? That's where it all happens, anytime. Conversations, links to interesting articles or pics or videos, a wee bit of teasing here and there.

    And yes, I follow you!

  8. Twitter has certainly helped make introductions at conferences easier, like when I met you and we were hugging it out before we even shook hands for the first time. :)

  9. Hi Jamie,

    great read - especially the intro. Love your style of writing and micro-blogging. Keep it up!

    PS: Oh, and just in case, here's a related post of mine:

    PPS: Love the swipe ux on the iPad ;)

  10. Thanks for the link, Matthias, I was actually looking for that (briefly) when I first wrote this.

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