When a new social media network appears on the scene, how do you decide whether to join or not? Are you concerned with its shiny newness and that it’s become popular talk among your friends and family? Or are you more interested because it offers something that other networks don’t and therefore has potential value to you?
The battle between quality and quantity
I sometimes deceive myself into thinking I can find both quality and quantity in any social media network in which I choose to participate. While that’s true some of the time, I can’t say it’s true all of the time.
It’s easy to find quantity. All I have to do is tune into my Twitter stream or Facebook page and I can find out more than I sometimes want to know about what’s going on in the world or with various people’s lives.
It’s harder for me to find quality; especially on networks where the quantity is high. I’m usually able to find the quality after some searching; but sometimes I create it myself by initiating conversation. Still, I think quality should win over quantity every time in every network.
My network quality directly relates to privacy
Every network can provide quality if you look hard enough. When I think about joining a new network, I’m very cognizant about whether it will add value (quality) to my social media strategy. Below is where I am finding the value and quality these days.
TWITTER: You might think that my more than 2,000 followers on the account and the fact that I’m also following 2,000+ accounts would lead me to think that this network is only about quantity. However, this is the network where I find the most quality. This network allowed me to branch out and start my own business through my connections. This network introduced me to people who helped me become who I am today both personally and professionally. I like to think of Twitter as the place I record my life, 140 characters at a time.
What I could do better: As business picks up, I spend less time on the network to which I give the most credit for the beginning of the next stage of my career. If I’m dedicated to a network, I need to stay dedicated. I need to remember where it all began.
FACEBOOK: This network is undoubtedly the most used among friends and family. Since many of my almost 500 friends are in different states, I find quality in the fact that I can keep in contact with those that I can’t call or feasibly see every day.
What I could do better: Facebook isn’t my favorite network so I tend to ignore it when I shouldn’t. For instance, I was on a vacation recently and I know family and friends on the network would be interested but I have yet to post a single update about the trip. I need to share more frequently to cash in on the quality.
FOURSQUARE: Here’s where I will admit one of my biggest social media network mistakes. I fell in love with Foursquare early on so I left the door pretty wide open to new friends; even if I didn’t really know them. I was – and still am – pretty quick to befriend people I don’t know who are either from my hometown or from cities I visit often. My theory is that by befriending them, I may discover new things about venues we both frequent or, in a crazy coincidence, meet them face-to-face. With about 350 Foursquare friends, I’m definitely feeling the quantity. The quality really only pops up once in awhile but when it does, it’s very worthwhile.
What I could do better: I need to check in more often to place I frequent and take notice of the tips that people leave. I should also be more cognizant of who I friend on Foursquare because it isn’t a network for quantity. If used correctly, the quality you can gain from it can be overwhelming. I’ve met new friends and re-connected with old ones via Foursquare.
PATH: Since this network is set up to be small (I believe there is a limitation of 150 connections), I’ve found the quality to greatly outweigh the quantity. I’ve been on Path for 7 months and have posted about 850 moments but I only have 26 connections. I’ve been very wary about who I friend on Path because I’ve decided to use this network to share more personal information.
What I could do better: I think I’m using this network correctly but I could use it more. Some days I don’t post at all and I think I need to make more of a commitment to this network to really feel the quality. Yet, it’s still a new network so I’m giving myself some leeway on this one.
This week’s #shehechat
This week, Jim and I will host #shehechat at 8 p.m. CST Thursday night from Nice Ash in downtown Waukesha, Wis. Feel free to join us!