Social Networking: I don't get it

I've tried – I've really tried! – to "get" social networking, but… I don't.

I signed up for Pownce and Twitter, but –after just trying to kick the tires– I have no idea why I would use them. (Is this really the post-email era??)

I have a Facebook page (because it seemed cool), but I no longer maintain it. Myspace? No space.

Every time I start using one of these services, I find myself thinking, "how exactly is this helping me?"

Am I just that old or that unhip? [Update: Or both? ;)]

I see other people getting social overload (O'Hear dubbed it Social Network Fatigue), so maybe just maybe the social networking craze will die out.

In the meantime, I think I'll sit this dance out until the next big craze.

Note: Thanks to nf0 & Mike McBride for taking me along for the twitter/pownce ride. I really do appreciate your help in getting to know those two services.

UPDATE: Rob brings up an interesting aspect in his comment – Twitter can be a broadcast platform. I may stick with it for a week or so to see how that facet could work. He also shows social networking in plain English.

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11 thoughts on “Social Networking: I don't get it”

  1. The key to any of them is that they have to be social.

    MySpace bored me, but I'm active on Facebook because I have hundreds of (real life) friends that I keep in touch with that way.

    Signing up for a myspace account but not having any connections on them is about as "social" as going to a rock concert and not talking to a soul. 😉

  2. I guess facebook makes sense for ((gulp)) your generation, because most of you guys got facebook pages in college and (with the add-ins) it can almost be a password protected blog/homepage.

    I see HUGE benefits with LinkedIn as a professional career network, but I **really** don't understand the Twitter buzz.

  3. I think Pete's got it right, all of these are just tools to be social, to keep updated on what people are doing, what they're learning, etc. In a way they're not that much different from blogging, except with Twitter for example, they're shorter, more conversational, quick updates. Also for me, it's a way to post a quick note using my blackberry wherever I happen to be instead of waiting to get to a PC and blog about it, and then the Twitter API lets people viewing my facebook profile or whatever, see it without having to use Twitter.

    Like Pete said, if you don't have connections that you are following, then the service really isn't helping you.

  4. I really didn't get Twitter for a long time, but I kind of do now. It's a microblog. Blogging like a text message. I didn't like it until I could use it to post to my blog. Now I kind of like being able to make short posts on my blog, twitter is the tool I use.

    But for other networks, it really just depends on what you like. You can accomplish everything without them, but they make it easier to connect with people. I heard a great phrase to describe them: a walled garden. If you get in, it's full of nice things and people to talk to. But you have to have an identity to get in.

  5. Sounds like they are working for you guys. I have no problem with email, IM, and blogs…. so the rest is extraneous, IMO.

    @Rob – I haven't been with Twitter enough to view as a broadcast platform. Hmmph, might be feasible.

  6. The only one that's really worked well for me is 43things.com. It's social, but it's also like focused blogging. Set up goals, make entries about your progress, check them off when their done. Works great for a list maker like me. 🙂

    The purely social sites bore me.

  7. I did the Twitter thing for awhile, and Last.fm (which I still scrobble to)…and 43 Things…and All Consuming…but I did start feeling a lot of "overload" and just plain-old overwhelmed by everything I felt I had to keep up with.

    I've gotten several Facebook requests and pleas to get a MySpace page but really, IMO that's just overkill. I have a blog…that's enough for me. Well, that and LinkedIn…but that's more professional networking vs. social networking.

  8. I've heard that twitter sucks until you get a critical mass of friends on it and using it. For my part, Twitterrific is a great little mac app that allows me to keep up with it. Although it's still kinda lame since I don't know many people on it.

  9. Thanks for the comments so far, y'all. I am going to stick with Twitter for a little while, using Rob's premise of "broadcast platform". I'm a little torn between posting my tweets on the blog, since I they may not be of interest to anyone (even me!) at times. I may end up with an aggregate page on one of my KD domains, that pulls this blog, flickr, twitter, delicious, etc into one big "life feed".

  10. I have a nifty sidebar app that pulls my tweets in… and i've also seen apps that will pull them in per day, week, etc… kinda like your del.icio.us extension.

    Something to think about.

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