A few weeks ago, one of my favorite tech bloggers, Louis Gray, wrote a great item regarding the myth of “social media overload.” In it, he listed what he thinks are the types of social media a person needs to be using these days in order maintain his or her identity online and to engage in the conversations taking place on the world live web.
The list, which likely will appear daunting to you if you don’t maintain any of them, is a great roundup. As many of the accounts he mentions work with one another (as in, when you update one, it will notify the other), the task of maintaining them is not as challenging at it may appear.
Most importantly, Louis explains that you don’t need to register for every new version of each one of these categories of services. People like Louis (and me) will sign up for every new one of these we run across, but that’s mainly for research purposes.
Here’s what Louis describes as a “full deck” of social media tools:
1 or more blogs that you manage.
1 or more accounts on an RSS feed reader.
1 or more microblogging identities.
1 or more accounts on a business networking tool.
1 or more accounts on a social network.
1 or more accounts on a service aggregator or lifestream.
(Also helpful: A social bookmarking site, online photo site, music recommendation service, etc.)
While I agree fully with Louis, if I were just starting out doing all of this and looked at this list, I’d probably not start. That’s one of the reasons I recommend people set up a FaceBook account (even if they are outside its core demographics). It is one service that lets you experiment with all the types of features and functions Louis lists. Personally, I have several reasons that FaceBook doesn’t work for me, but when it comes to providing a way to manage your identity, network of connections and a means of expressing yourself online, FaceBook is the benchmark service. Nothing else — and by nothing else, I mean LinkedIn or Plaxo — comes close to packaging together so many different functions and features.
Here’s the deck of social media tools I use most:
RexBlog.com: For the most part, this is what I consider to be my professional and business-related focus (media, technology, conversational & new media, marketing, magazines). However, I do reserve the right to head off into totally unrelated topics at times.
Delicious.com/rexblog: These are sites I bookmark that are related to business-related topics. I sometimes refer to this as my “link blog.”
Hammock.com/rexhammock : My official Hammock Inc. “people page.”
RexHammock.com : Personal passions and random-topic tumble-log.
Twitter.com/r : Stream-of-life commentary in < 140 character posts, and where I “hang-out” online.
Flickr.com/rexblog : Where I post photos.
YouTube.com/rexhammock : Where I post videos.
FriendFeed.com/rexhammock : A “lifestream” (a combined flow) of everything I post anywhere.
Facebook, Linkedin, etc.: I don’t really “express myself” on these and other “social networking” sites, but on most of them, you can find me if you search for my name or the username “rexhammock.”
Bonus advice for those who have several cards from the social media deck: Use the microformat tag rel=”me” (as explained here) when you link between your “full deck” of accounts. Technically, I’m not sure what I just said, but Kevin Marks told me to do it so I do. I don’t know exactly how it works, but the result is this: When you Google my name, all of my different social media accounts show up, even though they have different usernames (rexblog, “r”, rex, rexhammock).