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Not All Social Networking Services Are Created Equal, Quit Treating Them That Way.

Over the years, I’ve used a number of social networking services. Not just services like Twitter and Facebook, but things called bulletin board systems that you accessed via dialup modems. It wasn’t as cool, as mainstream, or even as technically sophisticated back then, but the basic functions were all there.

As I joined more and more of these services, trying to keep up with all these services is quite a challenge.  For a while, I was using services like ping.fm and others to update all the social networking services at the same time. This was nice for me, but the only part of that equation that solves is the “status update.” It does not solve the interaction problem.

As I realized trying to keep up with it all was untenable, I slowly began the process of pairing down. I now use only four of them on any regular basis: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and cpug.org forums. I still use others as well, albeit on a less frequent basis.

As I went through my followers on these various networks and started looking at who I was interacting with on these services, I noticed that different types of people congregated to the different services. I tend to interact with a wider range of people on Twitter, people I work with or know well on Facebook, not too many people on LinkedIn (as relatively few people are using the social networking features), and Check Point-related folks (mostly customers) on the cpug.org forums.

When I look at the services in question, their design and implementation dictate certain usage patterns. Twitter is fairly simplistic, but wide open to everyone. It enables anything from casual to deeper communication. Facebook is more private, but provides a more rich environment to share information, find people, and so on. LinkedIn is very much for maintaining and keeping track of business contacts. cpug.org forums are all about Check Point and their products and services.

At the end of the day, these services are very different. Trying to compare them in any sort of subjective way is difficult at best. Trying to use them in exactly the same way is also a complete waste of time. Realize that, if you are truly going to use these services effectively, you have to treat them differently.

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C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.