Social overload: Finding and joining the right social networks for you — like, yesterday

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The conversation prism. Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff out there. (Brian Solis & JESS3)

The number of social networks in existence can be overwhelming. The conversation prism gives us a pretty significant taste of what’s out there. But the good news is, you don’t have to have an account on every single network. The best use of your time and energy depends on your expertise and passion and your audience. You want to be able to devote enough to the networks you do join to build a strong community.

The conversation prism breaks down the various platforms by how they’re used. For example, look at the “nicheworking” section. Goodreads is a place bookworms can share what they’re reading, what they want to read and what they thought of the books they’ve finished. If books are not your thing, then you can check that off the list of networks worth your time joining. However, if you’re the owner of a bookshop, you can use the network to share your expertise and connect with book lovers. The prism can help you both discover networks and decide what accounts you should pursue.

Do you see a new (to you) network on the conversation prism that you or your business should join? What makes it well suited to you or your business?

If you see a network that’s missing you, as Guy Kawasaki says, “Start yesterday.” It’s important to establish your reputation, even before your company’s launch. Kawasaki also encourages sharing others’ content that you find interesting, especially if it’s trending. It’s OK to piggy back off a popular topic. Confession: I don’t love Miley Cyrus, but I’ve seen a million blog posts about her, ahem, performance at the VMAs shared by my friends on Facebook and Twitter — and I clicked through and at least skimmed most of them. If the topic is hot, even the mildly interested will take a look. In my case, I wanted to be knowledgeable about the thing everyone was talking about at that moment, even though I don’t really care what happens to Miley’s career. And I am not the only person clicking posts for that reason.

Think about the things you click on from social media. How much of it reflects your passions and interests vs. your desire to know about current topics and trends?

To build a loyal and engaged social community, it’s also important to produce your own quality content. Content that people want to read will keep them coming back to your site and your social accounts for more of the good stuff. I share a lot of links to others’ content from my personal social media accounts. Depending on the topic, those links (along with my commentary of some sort) engage my friends and followers. But since I’ve created this WordPress blog for my social media class, I’ve noticed an uptick in engagement when I share one of my links on Facebook or Twitter. I hope that means I’m producing quality content, and I hope the great conversations continue!

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10 thoughts on “Social overload: Finding and joining the right social networks for you — like, yesterday”

  1. The Conversation Prism is so overwhelming to look at! Half of those networks I didn’t even know existed. It really makes we wonder how relevant some of those social media outlets are. I think for the purposes of sharing our work for this class the most useful outlets will be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

    Your second question is really great! I find myself clicking on things that relate to the currents trends more than what my passions are. It just goes to show you how influential social media can be. Like you, I really didn’t care about what Miley Cyrus did at the VMAs until almost everyone had something to say about it on my Facebook, then I finally decided to see what all the fuss was all about. Crazy how that happens!

    1. Yeah, I think the prism shows a lot of things that are not necessarily relevant to everyone, but that’s why it’s helpful. If you locate a category that fits you/your business with a social network that you didn’t already know about, you can get started!

  2. I love how The Conversation Prism breaks everything down by category. One social media platform that I didn’t even realize was in the social media world is Evernote, in the social bookmarks category. I downloaded the app a while ago because it looked like a useful tool to organize. After you posed your question about what new network would be worth joining I looked into it further. Evernote has a business application that could stand to be incredibly useful for anyone involved in social media and multimedia management. It allows you to keep track of ideas, contents, files and so much more. You can choose with whom you would like to share your content. I see how the ability to not only organize but share content back and forth in this way could be incredibly useful when working with other companies remotely.

    I too am guilty of clicking on links about trending topics. Just like everyone else, I want to stay up to date on the latest celebrity blunders. Whether or not I NEED that garbage in my life is irrelevant. It’s a train wreck and I can’t look away. If I see anything related to my passions and interests I jump at the opportunity to check it out as well. I can’t really share my interests with everyone else but if I share a link about a strung out, wannabe rock star, my friends will chime in. And isn’t that what it’s all about, continuing the conversation?

    1. I am OBSESSED with Evernote. I have it on every electronic device I own, and it saves my life on a daily basis. I use it for work notes, school notes, grocery lists, general to-do lists, etc. And I shared my username and password with my husband so he can add things to grocery lists and personal to-do lists, too. It’s invaluable.

      Oh, you definitely don’t need the garbage, but you’re right! Most of those things I can’t help but click on are like the train wreck I can’t tear your eyes from. But it does keep the conversation going among all my friends!

  3. One application on the conversation prism that we’re tinkering with in our newsroom is Banjo. It is especially useful in breaking news situations, as you can search for content that is geo-tagged. So if someone in that area has posted something that’s public (i.e.: Twitpics) we are able to mine that content and see what’s happening faster than we can get there.

    On Twitter, I tend to click on links that have enticing headlines. HuffPost is REALLY good at sucking me in and getting me to click on a story, (stuff like “10 things you should NOT be drinking”) even if I’m not super interested in the topic. So I try to emulate them when I’m writing Tweet headlines.

    As for the Miley thing, I will admit, I had to go back and watch it too, mainly to see what everyone else was all worked up about. As in other areas of life, it’s about finding things in common on social media and this was no different — a shared disgust over a VMA performance.

    1. I’ve never used Banjo, but I will have to check it out now! You’re right about HuffPo and their click-demanding headlines. I click through to things I am embarrassed to admit I’ve clicked through to, because I just have to know what those 10 things are!

      That’s a great point about finding common ground on social media. Mystery solved – that’s absolutely the reason behind the hoopla!

  4. Julie, I find that almost all of the things I click on to read on social media channels reflect my interests. Rarely do I click something just because it’s there, I have to have at least some curiosity on the subject of the link, even for Miley. However, I do think a person’s desire to know about current topics and trends could fall under the umbrella of that person’s interests, which complicates your question. Thoughts?

    1. That’s an interesting question. I think you could make the argument that staying on top of current topics qualifies as an interest. But it might also be a character trait — like being nosy? Haha.

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