Google recently released Google+, a new social network. Do you think you need another social network? Do you prefer real social networks (people you actually see regularly), or are you happy with the digital social networks you use? Or do you avoid them all on principle?
Another social network? Why? Do we not have enough already? I guess not since I already have a Facebook account as well as a twitter account for personal use as well as a Facebook page and linked in account for my business. Then, I also have my SparkPeople membership which is like another social network, albeit for those looking for a healthy lifestyle. Oh, and let’s not forget Friends Reunited which so many of us signed up to before we found all our old school friends on Facebook! And, MSN messenger, Google talk and Yahoo messenger. How many of these things do I really need?
Yes, I have accounts with a lot of social networks and some are for business and others for personal use. However, I have greatly reduced the time I spend on most, if not all, of them as I don’t have as much time as I used to to keep them updated. I was one of the millions who enjoyed playing games on Facebook but that was more because I was working in a job which didn’t keep me busy so to kill time I’d play games. When I was made redundant I had even more time for games but now that I am working again (and very busy with it) I don’t have time to play the games. I hardly ever go on Facebook now except to update the wall for the Group that I work for.
I use twitter too but, again, not as much as I did. That tends to go in spits and spurts depending on what I am doing and whether my mobile will get a strong enough signal for me to do it. I very rarely check to see what anyone else has posted though.
Now to the other part of the question, “do you prefer real social networks”? Well, yes. It’s nice to see people face to face but that is not always possible. I mean, my family is spread out over the country and the world. I live 240+ miles away from my step-children so being able to use Facebook, twitter, messenger is very useful. However, at the moment my sister and I live in the same town but we still only see each other once every couple of months because we are so busy so, again, social networks are useful. They will become even more useful when my sister moves again, this time out of the country.
For business, though, real networks are essential as it gives you a chance to put across your personality a lot easier than using the written word. I mean, can you tell when I am being sarcastic? serious? You can’t see the twinkle in my eye which let’s you know when I am winding you up. For those things, you either have to have read a lot of my stuff and have worked out my writing style or know me away from my blog etc.
Social networks, both face to face and online, are an important part of our lives. We should not forsake the face to face networking as it teaches us how to interact with people around us. However, online social networking allows us to meet people outside of our town or country who may be able to provide support which our local circle of friends and acquaintances can’t, for example on that healthy living journey or if you have an illness which you want to talk about to someone who is not so close to you. That kind of social networking isn’t new… did you ever have a pen-pal? Someone you were put together with for a school project or through a magazine/club? It’s just that the internet makes it quicker.