Belle from Working Blogger wrote me an interesting question last week on social networking and bookmarking communities that I thought might make an interesting topic for discussion for the wider community. She writes:
“What on earth is a blogger to do about all the various social networking communities. I do love StumbleUpon because it’s just so easy to use, but things like MyBlogLog and FaceBook and MySpace and the gazillion and one new social networking communities that seem to spring up all over the place – how do you know which one to spend your energy on? And then there’s Netscape vs. Digg – sometimes it seems to me that keeping track of what’s going on among all the various communities is a full-time endeavour in and of itself.”
I would love to get the ProBlogger readerships perspective on this one – please leave your thoughts in comments below.
- Do you use social bookmarking and networking sites?
- If so, which ones?
- Do you find that they actually help your blogging? If so – how?
- How much time do you spend on these sorts of activities each week?
- What does being involved in them effectively involve for you?
A few reflections from me:
My own feelings on social bookmarking and networking sites is mixed. I do get involved to some extent. Some of those that I have accounts with include (I’ve linked to my profile pages for each if you’re interested in connecting):
I also use Digg, Reddit, Delicious as bookmarking sites. I use these different services to different extents (as you’ll see from the links).
I know Technorati Favorites doesn’t really belong in this cluster of sites – but as I’ll explain later I think it can have some similar benefits.
Why do I get involved?
For me there are a variety of reasons to be involved. For starters I enjoy it – to some extent. Secondly I think it’s important to understand the Web 2.0 landscape and evolving social nature of the web for someone who is in my field.
The other reason is that I do find that there are some tangible and intangible benefits of being involved. Obviously there is a large amount of traffic that can be directed at your blog if you’re lucky and a little smart using some of the social bookmarking sites – but for me the other less tangible benefits are probably more important. Some of these include:
- profile – I’m amazed how many people stumble upon me via these sites and contact me through them
- relationships – Numerous opportunities have opened up for me via some of these sites (particularly LinkedIn). I’ve also found relationships strengthened with readers when I’ve posted my profile pages – it gives readers a sense a intimacy to be able to add you as a friend.
- brand reinforcement - The more places that people come across you the stronger your brand becomes. The beauty of being involved in these different spaces is that people will come across you in their own interactions with them and that each time they do they’re reminded of you and your blog. For me this is the true value of sites/features like Technorati Favorites which makes your latest posts appear on the front page of Technorati when someone fav’s you.
The Cost of Being Active in Social Sites
There is of course a cost in being involved in so many social online communities and Belle has really touched on the main one in her question – they can take a lot of time to upkeep and stay active in.
Of course this depends upon how active you want to be in them. I find that in each case you can be be extremely active or very passive. For example I rarely do anything more than accept invitations to be friends on LinkedIn and MySpace – however on StumbleUpon I’ve been much more active of late (because it’s so much fun).
I guess you get out what you put in – but for me it’s about being involved at least to some level.
What are your thoughts? Are you involved in social networking/bookmarking?