I admit, I am involved in several. Well, not involved, but at least signed up with some sort of a profile. It never ends - I get an email asking me to join, I take a look and if it looks promising, I join. Then I find myself too busy to particpate, bored with what it is, or just plain forget I ever signed up. Then I ask myself - do I stay just for the exposure on the profile or delete my account? Thoughts anyone?
I definitely see what you and Jen mean when it comes to the rating system. Why such a competative route to be part of a community? I still have my profile there just to try and link with people on Twitter, but I don't update it much.
I have probably a handful but really only 3 that I am active in. I find some of the social networks just aren't that friendly. I am new to Mommy Bloggers but am really enjoying the friends I am meeting and the conversations.
It really depends on the person. I know some people who are belong to a gazillion social communities and are active in all of them. I know others who sign up for them all but never participate. I belong to quite a few, but I enjoy signing up and playing around with the system to blog about my experience. I read a lot of blogs, but don't put pressure on myself to read them daily or to leave a comment on all of them.
I only like extremely active social communities. if I join and there is no daily activity; I leave the group. Maybe that's why twitter has been able to hold my attention for 2 years. it is constant activity, you're always meeting new people, someone always has something neat/cool/interesting/down right funny to share. As for forums; I only participate somewhat actively on the Revision3 forums and that is only because I watch 90% of their webshows.
If you are going for profile exposure, it does you no good to just join a social community. With everything related to social media; it is about building relationships and from that you build and gain exposure.
I belong to too many. When I learn of a new one, I want to check it out -- especially if people I know and admire are there, too. But who has time to participate in them all? I barely have time to read all my friends' blogs let alone see what everyone is doing on social networks. So I basically find myself on Twitter, because it's easy to use and run while working on other things --plus, I can tweet from my phone when I'm sitting around (i.e., waiting for school to let out, watching my daughter do gymnastics, waiting for a doctor's appt... you know the drill!)
I am trying to find a balance. I often don't remember to go and check out the site -- where as I've got rss feeds for blogs coming into my home page (NetVibes). I have a tendency to jump in and be all about 1 network for hours on end. Then I don't get anything else done.
And Twitter? I just signed up for it, but it's getting a little too intrusive. Too many updates with "I'm eating lunch now." "I'm cooking dinner." I don't know. Maybe that's what it's for, and I just haven't figured it out yet!
I honestly can't count how many I belong to, but I also run a local one so it's something I am passionate about to begin with :) Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace (worst designed site EVER which is why I am never on there), my own mom business owners organization (which is coming soon to a city near you!), Switchboards, a few graphic design ones, a couple of Web design ones, some PR and communication ones, some local mommy ones, and a bunch on entrepreneur social networks. I try to spend at least 15 min every day checking in, and no more than 1 hour per day, but some days I am sure it accumulates to WAAAYmore than that! Especially on days when I have a lot of work to do, have both kids home with me, no nanny and I am unmotivated...those are the days I seem to plug myself into the online networks more, as an escape!
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Brittany is a director of the Toxic Free Foundation and created the first ever Toxic Free Certification Program. Weekly, Brittany publishes the Toxic Free Blog and provides coaching to over 10,000 families in the United States alone. She is the author of a Toxic Free educational series and co-author of several Toxic Free learning programs. Brittany is also an award winning author.