Social Network Whore

A couple of weeks ago, after receiving yet another linkedin invitation that was about to expire, I started wondering if it was too late for me to begin and really what I had to gain from it. Was I in danger of becoming obsolete? My husband says to me, “Hey its the perfect time for you. You just moved, you might find it useful in getting a job.” Really? Hmmm… (he has 151 connections) A colleague of mine has been going on about FaceBook for the past few months. “FaceBook is the future. Everyone is leaving MySpace…etc. etc.” I had my brief foray into social networking with Friendster a couple of years back (has it really been 4 years?) when Friendster was really hip (and the new thing) That seemed like such a dating site. Frankly I didn’t understand the point of it. Would anything be different 4 years later with FaceBook and LinkedIn? Is it too late for me to join in? What about all the other invitations I have gotten…Twitter? Doppler? Some wierd Asian site? Most importantly…is it worth my time?

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I signed up to LinkedIn 2 weeks ago. I had 2 connections. I felt like I was back in HighSchool and no one wanted to be my friend.  Within 4-5 days I am now up to a respectable 46 connections. For a while there I was acting like a mad person, scouring the lists and figuring how I can increase my connections and ‘popularity’ Should I add so and so? What if I am rejected? I know this person but I don’t really like them. (even though they are a powerful person and they like me) I am a person who usually keeps to themselves. I don’t presume to be a ‘connection’ or a’ friend.’ But this whole popularity contest thing where the number of your connections is the measurement of your worth in the community suddenly puts me in the danger of being a social network whore. Suddenly all the rules of relations that I hold in real life are no longer relevant? or are they?

I felt like I had to draw the line somewhere.  I refuse to be a network whore!! My rule of thumb is, would I work with this person again? (This is a professional networking site after all) If the answer is no, then I won’t add them (no matter who they are) As to who do I ask to connect to me? My rule of thumb is “Does this person even remember my name?” Obviously we should have had more than just a few passing conversations. Can I get more than the 46 connections? Yes, I guess so. But for now I am giving it a rest. I am in there. People can find me if they want to. Eventually I should update my site and fill in the rest of the profile. (That is the point of the site right?)

The plusses of LinkedIn is that I actually got back in touch with some colleagues and old clients that I hadn’t heard from in awhile. People I guess I should have kept contact with but never bothered to. Perhaps one day when I really do need a job, this will come in handy. Till then, I have turned my meager attentions to FaceBook, where I have bonded with a niece in Switzerland (who I have not really spoken to ever) and swap jokes and pictures with my regular circle of friends. I am still figuring out what I have to gain from the networks and groups on FaceBook, but I guess that’s another entry somewhere down the road.

Here’s what Rafe Needleman has to say about Social Network Overload! As they say you can spend all day on Facebook ..and for the matter Twitter too.

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