One day, while updating my myriad of profiles on the Electronic Social Networking sites that I use, I stepped back and recognized what an odd problem this is that I have to manage content on several different sites just because I use different ESNs for different purposes. Since I‚Äôm one person that lives in several different skins, and because I‚Äôve yet to find an ESN tool that well represents all sides of me, I continue to put myself through this administrative headache.
I began to wonder to what extent I‚Äôm alone with this problem. Using the feature on LinkedIn that allows you to post a question out to the user community, I solicited feedback from other users about what sites they‚Äôre using, what they‚Äôre using them for, and which, if any, they especially like. I share the results of this with you below.
I received a fairly healthy response to my question, and looking at the responses gathered I can separate them into three groups:
ESN as a Rolodex
The first group is the users who are using ESNs as rolodexes. These users said that they use a small number (one or two) sites for this purpose, and are more or less hoping for a return in the form of job offers or business development opportunities. This group of users also seems to see more value in the quantity of ‚Äúconnections‚Äù or ‚Äúcontacts,‚Äù rather than the quality of the contact or the depth of relationship with them. These people are fishing in cyberspace.
The second group is looking for business value from ESNs, but are not quite sure they‚Äôre getting it yet. These people are conscious about the quality of their contacts (while exactly what ‚Äúquality‚Äù means to one person may differ slightly from the next). They are not contact collectors, and frequently refuse connection requests from other users if they don‚Äôt know them well and/or if they see them as insufficient value.
The third group is comprised of users who are contemplative and skeptical about the real value available through present-day ESNs. Like the second group, they are mindful of quality of connections over quantity. They are even more apt to decline or ignore invitations to connect because they just don‚Äôt see it as that important to either party. Interestingly, this group also offered the most insightful feedback and suggestions on how ESNs could be improved to deliver true value.
Credit for the illustration used with this post goes to Clayton Brothers.