Using multiple social networks is exhausting

Using multiple social networks is exhausting

First let me address two objections or complaints about my experiment. Yes, I know it’s silly to try to support so many social networks - you should align with and concentrate on supporting one or two at the most. And yes I also know that many of them can be “linked” together so that a post to one cross publishes to one or more. And yes I also know there are lots of tools that can support multiple networks - we use some to support our clients. However, my experiment was an attempt to be just me - a web user trying to be social on lots of networks via my computer and my iPhone.

The first social network challenge - so many passwords to remember

I’m a bit of a security geek. So I create absurdly complex and long passwords and use different ones for all log-ins. It’s a challenge to keep track of them all. And the first problem I encountered was that when I chose to promote an image or an article (like, tweet,“plus?”) I invariably had to dig up my password. Facebook is the biggest culprit here - since each session and site that I tried to push to Facebook asked me to log-in and Facebook’s security requires a retyping of your password. So even if my browser recalled my log-in info, I’d still have to look up my password again. Twitter and the others weren’t so bad…but I still found myself looking up my passwords a lot. I suppose I could simplify my life by using a single password or a utility that recalls them all but that would ruin my security geek cred.

It’s annoying having to share to four or more networks individually

Most sites provide “like or tweet buttons” or more via services like ShareThis or AddThis or just on their own - but every time I wanted to share an article or photo I found myself having to click on each button icon - authenticate - then retype my comment. It was silly. Especially for sites that use ShareThis or AddThis - why can’t those third-part services enable “multi-posting” in some manner? You know, so I could promote and type a comment once and have it “shared” to multiple services.

It’s not always easy to share to multiple networks (manually)

Some sites favor one or two social networks - usually facebook and twitter - and to a lesser extent now google+. So if I wanted to share to other social networks I had to copy the url, open a new tab, and do a post on each additional network. Again, it’s overly difficult and seems silly. And it reduces the likely hood that I’ll share something (to all my networks). Of course the opposite extreme is when sites have social icon sickness - that is when they show so many icons it appears like icon vomit. I’m not sure if there’s a happy middle ground - the ShareThis and AddThis services do provide an optional “modal” or “pop-up window” selector window - so I guess that’s better. But still…it’s not perfect.

Engaging, replying, and participating on multiple networks in a time suck

If posting is challenging and time consuming - responding to responses is even more draining. To truly participate in a social network you want to be well…social. So if someone commented or retweeted I wanted to try to reply or comment too. And when things really became conversational….it was tough to do anything but socialize. 

Is there a point to all this socializing?

Well, as I stated at the beginning, the smart course of action is to identify one or two social networks at the most and concentrate on participating on those. Sure you can take advantage of their abilities to “share out” to other networks thereby extending your reach - but if you want to truly capitalize on social network interaction - you’ll still end up supporting only one or two. Also, if you’re going social, you’ll definitely want to investigate and make use of some type of tool that can monitor and aggregate conversations and comments. You won’t use the app or service all the time but it comes in handy when you have to review social network activity and take action.

So happy socializing, good luck, and if you want to be social with me….

Jan 06, 2012

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