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!