Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Engagement And Social Networking

Empire Avenue: Facebook Fan Page Request for P...
I've been spending a lot of time on my side project over the long weekend which didn't leave much time for blogging. Now it's time to go back to the day job so I'm not sure how active I'll be here over the next few days.  I learned how to multitask and be productive while pursuing my MBA and working full time but there are only so many hours in the day and something has to give. So far it's been my guitar making and this BLOG.

I'm starting feel like less of a neophyte in the social networking space. I won't say I'm an expert but that early feeling of "what the heck am I supposed to be doing here?" has faded and I'm making decent progress. There are still surprises occasionally like when I checked my Klout score a couple of days back and it had dropped three points for no reason that I could discern. I've since recovered plus a little so whatever it was seems to have passed.

My big success has been on Empire Avenue where I managed to pass the one million Eave mark a week or so ago and have seen steady share growth for nearly a month. Eaves are the virtual currency of Empire Avenue. In theory that success means I'm doing well at the social networking game. In practice I'm not entirely sure that is the case. As I said above I feel like I've made a lot of progress but I'm not confident I'm doing as well as Empire Avenue seems to indicate.

Figuring out Google+ is kind of impossible since it's changing rapidly and people are still working their way through the best way to use it, myself included. I'm still annoyed by the who real names controversy but have decided not to cut my ties as there is a chance it's going to be a really useful tool and I like the platform in general. I'm also building a network of interesting people to hang out with and chat which is kind of the point of social networking. I do wish more of my Facebook friends would join up though.

Twitter momentum has been kind of minimal. I think it helps to have a larger than life personality on Twitter and that's not me. The one hundred and forty character limit also makes it difficult to have real engagement. It's really just a series of sound bites and brief asides intermingled with links to interesting articles. That isn't a bad thing but it does limit the scope. I tweeted this past week that Google+ is what Twitter should have grown up to be. Twitter did introduce the ability to auto post tweets to Facebook this week. I suppose that's cool but I don't see the point. For me the two services have completely different use cases.

Speaking of different use cases, I'm running into issues trying to decide how to use foursquare. Generally I break social networking sites down into two categories. The first is ones where I primarily engage with people I know personally. Facebook and foursquare would fit in this category. The second group is of course sites where I engage more broadly. That would include pretty much everything else.

The problem with foursquare is that I can see it working in both scenarios. Somebody on one of the Empire Avenue forums posted that they check in via foursquare when they are giving a talk for instance. These check ins effectively become subtle advertising. I'm not planning on getting into public speaking but hearing this idea did point out to me that foursquare might be useful with a broader audience than I'd been envisioning previously. Then again, I really don't want to spam people with my trips to the grocery store or my favorite restaurants. I'm going to have to spend some more time thinking about this one before I come to any conclusion.

Time to get ready for work. It's a virtual Monday here in the US. Hopefully nothing broke at work over the long weekend. I'll know soon enough.

Image by kristiewells via Flickr
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