Here’s a question for you: how many social networks are you a member of?
Three? Five? Ten? If you’re anything like me, and if you’re honest with yourself, you probably have no idea how many networks and services you’ve signed up to in the last few years and now have profiles on. I’m guessing (and it is a guess) that I probably have profiles on at least 30, maybe closer to 40 or 50 social networks and services.
Not only is that just plain ridiculous, but it’s nonsensical from an online security perspective. 40 accounts, many of which are dormant, all using the same email address, a likelihood that some share passwords and lots containing personal information. It’s asking for trouble. In fact, just a couple of hours after writing this I received a password reset security prompt from Evernote after it had been hacked.
There was a great, if rather lengthy, piece on Hubspot last week titled ‘How to Know When to Pull the Plug on a Social Network’, and it got me thinking about all of the rather pointless social media channels we’re a part of. And more pointedly, why. Why do we feel the need to check in on Foursquare if we never look at what other people do or claim rewards? Why do we insist on running pictures of our meals through an Instagram filter? Who really cares when we check in to a movie on GetGlue? And why do we even need an about.me or flavours.me profile if we never use them?
There was a trend around the turn of the year for people scaling back their number of connections on social media and I posed the question then as to whether the numbers game is over. What I wonder now is whether this does or should also apply to the networks themselves, not just the people on them? Different people love different networks, and that’s fine. It’s horses for courses. But we don’t all need profiles on all of these networks.
The Benefits of Multiple Social Media Profiles
There’s a definite argument to say that as someone who works in social communications (or communications in general, whether that be PR or marketing or advertising or internal comms) I/we need to have widespread profiles in order to keep up with and understand changes. It’s a view I’ve always subscribed to. Until now, that is.
If you want to understand the specific nuances of a network, yes you need an active profile. If you have clients who are active on a network, yes you need a profile. If you find a network useful, either personally or professionally, then yes you obviously need a profile. But outside of this, you can be on-the-ball without (necessarily) having an active presence on a network. So my advice: get in, test, learn, get out.
And for me personally, the ‘get out’ part is something I’m going to start doing more of. As of right now. So goodbye Foursquare; it was mildly interesting but ultimately completely pointless. Sayonara Instagram; there are only so many vintage pictures of food I can stand, and even Kelly Brook’s got boring. See ya Pinterest; I never did understand the fascination. A bientot Audioboo; I liked you a lot but never really found a use for you. And so long Quora; you were probably the most vacuous of them all.
And on it goes. I suspect that cleaning up my social web life will be a rather long and tedious process. But something worth doing. What about you? Any plans to strip your network use back to basics?
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Posted by Paul Sutton