I’ll admit it. Life has been hectic lately. I love social networking (maybe a little too much?). I give talks to other entrepreneurs about how to use the internet as an effective PR tool. In these times, blogging, forum participation, email press release blasts, and social networking are near requirements for staying current or creating buzz. For the most part, I feel my activity on the internet greatly benefits my business, especially blogging and forums. But does it benefit me personally? Well, in some ways, yes. In other ways? Not so much.
In 7th grade I had perfect attendance because the social butterfly in me was convinced that if I missed a day at school, I would miss something HUGE. Silly, right? Looking back, I can’t even imagine what sort of HUGE social event, shift , or explosion, the 7th grade me could actually envision taking place at her school. Sillier still, is that I sometimes feel this way about social networking now, as an adult. Am I twittering enough? Should I post about my new blog post on facebook and twitter? Do I need to be on Linked In and Plaxo as well?
The answer to that last one, for me, is no. I went with LinkedIn if it matters, and said “no thanks” to the couple of Plaxo invites I got, as well as to some additional invites I got from a few other “business” social networks. Social networking is great for business, when utilized with a bit of a internet marketing plan in mind. My internet marketing plan, may be on sticky notes (thanks Vicki for turning me on to this idea from The Start Up Princess!), but it is something I try to consider when joining a social network. I have finally realized that I just can’t be a part of EVERYTHING out there.
I think we all know what a “time-suck” social networking can be so, I’m monitoring my use these days. In an effort to keep myself sane and my “friends” list manageable, I’ve kept my personal facebook page just that, personal. I have some awesome industry colleagues as my “friends”, mostly people I’ve really gotten to know over the past 5 years. But in an effort to keep the “social” in at least one of the social networks I’m using, I created a business facebook page for my business and try to direct more of my industry activity on the site to that page. I know a true entrepreneur can’t completely separate themselves from their business, but social networking works best personally, when it’s fun, connects you with others, and most importantly when it doesn’t feel like work. I suppose one could say the same for business social net working as well…
Of course in doing my research for this post, I stumbled across this interesting list of the 10 Most Beautiful Social Networking Sites. I’ll try to resist, but I’m a sucker for usability and a cool design aesthetic. I promise, I’ll try not to wast too much valuable work time checking those out. But before I go, what makes social networking work for you? How do you use it to your benefit? And how do you not let it consume your time (this twitter lover is always looking for tips!)? I’ll look for your comments here…but if I don’t see them, I’m sure I’ll catch most of you on twitter, or facebook, or friendster (remember that one?), or Linked In…and the list goes on!