Are social networks a gamble? Do you spin-off your contacts from one to the next?
With each new social network I actively participate in, beyond simply creating an account for, I become more selective with the people I follow. This started with MySpace. Initially, I followed bands and other folks whose profiles seemed vaguely interesting. I made some real friends (still in touch to this day), and as my offline friends got into social networking, I racked up contacts at a steady clip. This was fun until MySpace started to go downhill with spammers and overly customized profiles. But that was fine, because Facebook was ready with open arms as a fresh start.
Facebook Got This Right
Once on Facebook (just after they opened up beyond universities in 2006), I made it a point only to add familiar folks and people I knew in “real life.” What a difference this made! Pretty soon, I was reading status updates on MySpace about how folks were abandoning their profiles there and going to the cleaner, faster, more relevant Facebook. It’s my theory that this “fresh start” element was part of Facebook’s early mass appeal. That they got other things right also helped — photo sharing is what really sold me on embracing Facebook.
The one exception is Twitter, where following can become a free for all. Being selective there is somewhat counter to the experience, because content there moves so fast. I personally tell folks new to Twitter that until they follow about 200 active users, the experience just won’t be that interesting. I also use lists to sort those I’m interested in, some of whom I may or may not follow.
That said, I’ve been selective about my Instagram, LinkedIn, and now Pinterest accounts. As I’ve become familiar with Pinterest, I’ve found the experience at the site more rewarding now that I have a stream of cool and inspiring images coming in– rather than lame pictures from folks I don’t even know (or may actually know, but whose tastes don’t match mine).
So did LinkedIn
LinkedIn is another example of the fresh start approach, at least in my experience. The longer I’m there, the more steadily my colleagues trickle in. And I can truly say I’ve worked with, done business with, or somehow professionally interacted with each contact there. For me, LinkedIn represents quality over quantity rather than a numbers game.
My theory is that Pinterest will experience similar adoption, but these are still early days, and the site is more about visual content than social interaction. Only recently have I gotten serious about the site, and it takes some work to find boards to follow that really catch my eye. I think that’s a good thing for now, since it keeps the content I see relevant – not unlike when I signed up for Facebook after ditching MySpace a few social networks ago.
Did you welcome Facebook as a fresh start from MySpace? Do you welcome Pinterest as a fresh start from Instagram, now that Facebook owns Instagram? Do you follow people on different social networks all the same way, or does your criteria change from one to the other? Let us hear from you in the comments!
- The Instagram Story (socialsamosa.com)
- On Our Radar: MySpace Fashion Rolls Out New Features (fabsugar.com)
- Facebook will disappear in the next 5 years – here’s what will replace it (postdesk.com)
- MySpace set to relaunch in late 2012 (slashgear.com)
- 3 Instagram Alternatives: Beyond Facebook’s Instabillion Buy (rsmithing.com)
- You need to become a total slut on social media (chrisabraham.com)
- Facebook will remain king, but social pure plays will fade (socialmedia.biz)