Four Different Uses For Four Different Networks

How do you use the different social networks you’re part of? Do you use them all in the same way?

I got to thinking today about how I use relatively similar services in very different ways. Take social networks, for example. I’m a member of a bunch of them. I don’t have time to use them all to their full potential so I play to the strengths of each of them.

Twitter – Building Relationships and Knowledge

Twitter Twitter has become my number one tool for developing new relationships with people online. The level of interactivity that Twitter offers, the multiple ways to use the service (through a browser, through a third-party service, via instant messenger) and the asynchronicity it allows make it my preferred service for this function.

At the same time, the open nature of most conversations on Twitter also makes it ideal for learning. If I’m unsure about something, I throw out a question and 90% of the time I get several answers within a couple of minutes.

Utterz – An Intermediary

Utterz I’ve written about Utterz a few times recently, as I’ve started to use the tool more and more. I worked out how to publish to multiple Utterz accounts from one phone, and just the other day I explored the Utterz’s new site for mobile phones.

I’ve found that I use Utterz primarily as an intermediary. I do very little communicating in the service itself. Instead, I use my two accounts (PR and running-focused) to record audio and video messages and publish those to my blogs and other networks.

LinkedIn – Investing for the Future

LinkedIn LinkedIn is like Utterz in a way, in that I do relatively little communicating on the site itself.

I use LinkedIn primarily to firm-up contacts I have with others. It’s my most formal social network – I maintain a network there that’s focused around business, rather than the more casual relationships I have on other sites. As Colin Carmichael wrote today, it’s part fancy business card and part fancy rolodex. It’s there for a future day, when I need to draw on my professional network.

Facebook – An Aggregator

Facebook The way I use Facebook has changed over time.

When I first signed up I used it as a way to re-connect with people, to stay in touch and to post cool stuff. Since then, I’ve started to use it less and less. Nowadays, while I still tune in for the occasional game of Scrabulous, I use Facebook as a funnel for my other services. Blog posts, Utterz posts, del.icio.us bookmarks and Twitter messages all get pumped into that account.

Why? Because it’s become one of the casualties as I spend more time on other services. Plus, I’ve found Facebook’s usefulness has become diluted over the last few months.

What About You?

Which social networks are do you use? Do you use them for different things? How do you use the social networks you’re on?

  • Hi Dave,
    Great reading your take on your social networks. I use Twitter similarly to you, though you’re at a more advanced stage of your use than I am. It’s a fantastic tool for learning and building relationships. It’s so easy and flexible.

    LinkedIn is exactly as you put it. Part business card/CV and part rolodex. It’s an investment for my personal use, but also to share with my connnections.

    Facebook has gone through the transitions. Now I primarily use it for organizing my social life. It’s also useful for keeping up with people I don’t see often. I don’t use it so much as an aggregator yet.

  • Hi Dave,
    With all the hours of the day available to me to spend on the computer, I try and make time for Facebook (because nobody e-mails me anymore), and Linked In – the professional version. I love blogging, I use Myspace for music, and have a delicious account which I really need to update.

    As much as I love online networks, I’m the type of person who still likes to interact the old fashioned way, and would immediately try and establish an off-line relationship. I think strictly online relationships can only go so far.

    Great post!
    Staffeen

  • Hi Dave,
    I haven’t ventured into Utterz yet, but I agree with your descriptions here of the others. LI is a great tool for capturing connections, and I try hard to keep that to people I have met or worked with. Facebook has been great for a community of friends and topical interests, and is starting a bit to overlap with the business connections in LinkedIn but on a personal level. It’s refreshing to connect to a client or colleague in fb and see what they are into, family pictures, etc. Twitter has been a great learning experience for connecting/sharing ideas/learning. I have only a small handful of people that I have actually met before as connections on Twitter. I like having a blog but I’m not a blogger – it’s a nice parking lot to capture things that don’t belong elsewhere or fit in less than 140 characters. Thanks for the post!