How I use social networks

I was thinking the other day about how I use social networks, compared to how they are intended to be used. It’s not really relevant to programming, just an observation of user (myself) behaviour with some systems.

Facebook – mostly personal, some professional

  • One of the most photo-centric networks, it’s become the default place for most photo sharing
  • Since most of my personal contacts are using this service, it is the logical place to organize events (and invite people to attend)
  • I try to keep most of my connections to people I actually know and actively talk to, but there are a few work acquaintances and people from high school whom I haven’t interacted with in years (I have been meaning to clean this up, but there is the risk of offending someone when no offense is intended)
  • With Facebook Pages it is compelling to create and maintain a page for a business (which I will eventually do for my personal brand)
  • There are various apps and games with Facebook integration that I have to use the service to maintain
    • Sidenote: Facebook keeps changing their API and doesn’t seem to care about backwards compatibility. I’m all for constant evolution, but I think there is a balance to progress and backwards compatibility. (IMHO Apple=balanced, Microsoft=Too much backwards compatibility, Facebook=Too much progress (and thus breakage))

LinkedIn – all professional

  • A combination of (mostly) past/current work colleagues, with a few past classmates and acquaintances I met at various conferences

Twitter – mostly professional

  • This has evolved into a programming-centric network for myself – at first I would subscribe to accounts of things I am a fan of (and I still have a few), but the vast majority of my Twitter list has changed into programming/career/business accounts

Google+ – personal and Google employees

  • G+ is pretty much just people who don’t use Facebook, and Google Employees.

Instagram – not really sure, mostly research

  • I’m an occasional user of Instagram – I don’t really feel compelled to constantly share photos, so it’s been more of an exploration of their interface and how others use the network

EDIT: I forgot a few networks that I barely use, but should list:

YouTube – professional and personal

  • I have a channel which I am planning to start posting videos to, to represent my personal brand
  • I subscribe pretty much to ‘fan-of’ accounts, but am limited to those who have YouTube accounts (and share videos)

Quibb – purely professional

  • An exclusive network I got in to thanks to Adrian, I can see (and try to share) interesting articles by other technical leaders and innovators

Would I would like:

  • Industry-specific networks
    • A social network just for programmers? It would be nice if all of that kind of communication could be kept in one place, with easy tools for sharing code, GitHub stuff, etc
    • Twitter is good enough for most of this, which is probably why programmers (seem to) have settled in it
  • Fan-of network
    • I’d like a social network that was purely where I could subscribe to things I am a fan of, without mixing with personal and professional contacts. I guess MySpace was sort of like this at first, but grew to be more for personal connections.
  • Gaming social network?
    • I know of Steam and Raptr
    • Steam doesn’t appeal to me (as a social network) – there is too much latency in the interface, and the UI and design is far too complex. I don’t find myself wanting to use it, and also find it difficult to keep up with what everyone else is doing. It needs to be more streamlined.
    • I haven’t tried Raptr, maybe it’s what I’m looking for here?
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2 comments on “How I use social networks
  1. Jordan says:

    Have you considered app.net? I know it’s popular within the dev community.

  2. Karl says:

    I’ve heard of it but haven’t checked it out – the fact that it isn’t free has kept me from investigating. (Not only because I likely wouldn’t want to pay, but I figured that would be a barrier for others as well, thus limiting the usefulness of the network) I should look into it in more detail though. Thanks!