socialnetworking2.jpgWhat are you gaining from social networking?

For some, social networking is a way of life. They use it to promote themselves and keep the channels of conversation and relationship open, posting many times a day on many different networks. Some are even building their own.

For others, though, social networking is just a time waster and offers no real benefit to their business or blogging. Some have even gone as far to say that having a large network is all about ego.

So what do I think?

I think social networking is a tool – just as a blog or a website is a tool. The tool on its own is neither good nor bad. It’s how the tool is used that decides its value in your business or personal life.

You know the old saying about a knife. A knife can be used to cut the bread to feed people. Yet that same knife can be used to kill people. But is the knife bad or good? No, it’s just a knife. It’s just a tool.

Personally, I don’t think social media is a waste of time. And I’m certainly not doing it to boost my ego. I’m interested in conversation and relationships. So outside of my blog is there a better place to spend my time building relationships?

Social networking is just a tool. How are you using this tool?

Feel free to add me to your social network and I’ll reciprocate:
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Reader Interactions


  1. The Big D-ster says

    Hey there. Thanks for linking me, it brought me over to read your well put thought!

    I love your analogy to the knife and couldn’t agree more.

    Have you ever gone to I site (I know you have, this is rhetorical) and seen 5 billion social bookmarking chicklets surrounding a post with 2 sentences as content?

    That’s a person seeking to feed her/his ego no matter which way you slice it.

    Beyond that, have you seen some of the articles on Digg lately? Ben Franklin and the people working on his first newspaper would be aghast.

    To me jounaling is not business, but even if it was, I would still coach youngen’s in the field to go content full boar and save the social bookmarks for later. Thanks again for the link.

  2. The Big D-ster says

    @BeachBum: imo, the time you spend at MyBlogLog and as you say “the other sites” would be better spent drafting ideas, collecting links for your posts, believing in your blog and not driving traffic to “the other sites” which (shhhhhh don’t tell anyone this but . . .) are just bloggers in their PJ’s like you stealing your ideas and traffic. Create your own hub and work out from the blogrolls on that. In essence that’s all they do.

    That’s kind of mean, but hey . . . I call em like I see em. 100% CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT. I say!

  3. The Big D-ster says

    I just wanted to say one more comment. I went back to the original Lorelle post just now and saw that I was maybe not as explicitly clear as I meant to be.

    I am all for commenting, networking, blogrolloing, even joining blog listings. I do all those things.

    I frankly despise chicklets over content and if I have to explain that, you haven’t been blogging long enough. I also understand that I may be in the minority and I have done enough soul searching to know that I don’t care if I am.

    You article is well written and I apprecite your point!

  4. BeachBum says

    I say social networking is good. But too much of anything is bad. I try to visit MyBlogLog every day and the other sites once a week. This way I get to do some networking without overloading.


  5. Lorelle says

    There is just something about labeling a thing, a purpose, or an idea that changes it. I’ve heard many say “social media” is a trend, fad, and gimmick, yet it belies the truth, especially for blogs and bloggers. As you have begun to so beautiful show, it’s about the connections, bloggers helping bloggers, the network we create through our blogs that changes the world and the perceptions around the world of ideas and issues. Label it whatever you want, think of it what you will, it is the glue that is sticking separate people and groups of people together, and hopefully soon holding hands, that is changing the world faster than we ever thought possible.

  6. Fred says

    Social Networks are usefull, but I only used them for a short time. Pretty time-consuming and I rather have a man-to-man conversation in a bar or somewhere else

  7. Dawud Miracle says

    Big D-ster,
    I have. And I often don’t stick around. But that’s because I’m interested in the conversation. And if the writer gives me nothing to converse with them on, I’m off to someone who will.

    I don’t see journaling as a business either. Yet I do see blogging as a very powerful means to growing a business through conversation and relationships. Then again, we’re not merely talking about journaling then, are we?

    Beach Bum,
    First off, welcome back to the comment box.

    It’s a must to find a balance, I think. And, I would always put content first. Why create a social network if you don’t have something to add to the conversation?

    Hey Darlin’

    I’m not too hip on labeling things either. It does seem to muddy the waters. That’s why I’ve suggested in the past that we stop calling ourselves bloggers, for instance.

    Labels, lingo, jargon all create great sound bites and magazine headlines, but they also get create a barrier. And it’s the barrier, I think, that gets in the way of the good that many of these services offer. Personally, I’d like to drop the labels all together. But then, how would we communicate with each other?

    Big D-ster,
    Content – forever king. And social networking can be a way to share your ideas, your views, your knowledge – your content – with new people. I don’t see anything negative in that.

    I hear you. I’d rather sit around a campfire, sipping tea and discussing the topics I write about on my blog. Yet, it’s almost impossible to do so with an audience that spans 6 continents and every time zone. It’d have to be a pretty huge campfire to get us all around.

    That’s why I like that we can meet here and the social networks to share with each other.

    And I know what you mean about time. Social networking can eat tons of it. I’ve had to find a sane way to work it into my workflow. Now, it’s simply part of my business outreach and most often takes minutes a day.

  8. Dawud Miracle says

    Big D-ster,
    Please, join in – and even lead – the conversation as often and much as you like. That’s why I’m here.

    I’m not a huge chicklet fan either. I find them cluttered and annoying. And personally, I’ve been looking for a more elegant approach to making my memberships and posts easier for readers to submit. I just haven’t found it yet. If you have, I’d love to know about it.

    I also don’t think it matters how long you’ve been blogging, personally. I think we’re all continuously learning about what works for us – with maybe the exception being Lorelle because she’s been doing this sooooo long (if you see this Lorelle, I know you’re going to take me to task on it – please do). Things I thought were beneficial months ago, I would now never do – like link memes. And I’ve shared my reasons openly through my blog. Which has created some great conversations.

    So please, offer whatever you know and feel is right. Your opinions is one of the reasons I love the conversation so much.

  9. N/A says

    Social networking is the most useless invention I have ever seen. No one can convince me that stupidity can be used for something productive. It’s the pure form of exploiting stupid egos, another way to suck morons with making them thing they are important.

  10. Jean Browman says

    I’m clearly out of my league. I don’t even know what a chicklet is! 🙂

    I do know that I’m finding some interesting conversations on this site and a few others. For that I’m very grateful.

  11. Wayne Smallman says

    I’m with you Dawud, social networking can be just about making contact with other like-minded people, but if you’re a ‘blogger, then it’s about raising your profile.

    But there’s such a thing a Social Network Fatigue, or at least I say there is!

    Marketing requires a few things of you as a person: that you become a predatory, opportunistic, self-promotional whore who is largely quite shameless, but shrewd enough to know when to curb the effusive enthusiasm just long enough to close the sale.

    And an off-shoot of marketing is personal branding, which is turning yourself, what you say, do and think into a brand.

    What helps is having a names like mine!

  12. LaurenMarie says

    There is a bit of a difference between social media and social networking. Networking is done through the media, and the networking can open up opportunities and relationships that would have never otherwise come to light. That is awesome!

    I don’t think networking on the internet or offline is ever a waste of time. As they say, it’s not what but rather who you know! And I’ve gotten to know some pretty fantastic people through this online social networking 😀

  13. Dawud Miracle says

    Sounds like you’re not very happy with social networking. Would have loved to have a conversation about it.

    Chicklet, you know, the little squares of minty gum… Just kidding. Chicklets are those little graphics you see that click through to some service like StumbleUpon or Facebook.

    I have larger versions below each post for StumbleUpon and voting on Netscape.

    There certainly is. It’s so tempting to get into a network and just ‘waste’ hours upon hours in it. That’s why I hear Facebook referred too as ‘Crackbook.’ It’s that addicting.

    But just because we’re unable to control ourselves in the social networks doesn’t mean they’re bad and not useful. They’re actually quite useful.

    I’m not sure I agree with you on marketing though. I’ve built three business – and helped countless clients build business based on mutually beneficial relationships.

    Though I would agree with you that it means you need to be awake for opportunities. Not necessary predatory, shameless or shrewd, but certainly awake enough to see opportunities when they’re in front of you. And many small business owners don’t think that way.

    I’d love to hear more about your ideas on marketing. The conversation around marketing is one of my favorites.

    I don’t think it’s a waste of time either – unless your time networking gets out of balance with the rest of your business.

    You’re right on networking. And, social networking is also a buzz term for sites such as Facebook, MyBlogLog and Twitter where we can network with people easily and stay in touch with what they’re doing – and them with us. So the term serves multiple purposes.

    Just wanted to share that for Jean and anyone else who might not know.

  14. Wayne Smallman says

    Hi Dawud, and thanks for taking the time to reply to my comments!

    Always appreciated.

    Well, first of all, I walk amongst some pretty long shadows.

    I’m not a marketeer by education, but I’ve somehow become one by trade.

    The shadows are the towering figures I’ve met through business networks like Ecademy, which plays host to some pretty clever people.

    It’s a very English trait to not be bold and forward unless you really, really have to be.

    So me being bold is as result of listening to marketeers who have taught me that being bold but with a good message and a smile will often work wonders.

    So I do often push myself forward in ways I wouldn’t normally.

    And you being someone in the business of marketing is ideal for me, because I can learn from you too!

  15. Dawud Miracle says

    Sure. I’m blogging to create conversation. And I try to answer every comment I can.

    I think the best marketing advice I’ve ever heard is something Steve Farber said, “Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do”.

    The rest is just how.

  16. Ps says

    Well written article.I agree that social networking sites aren’t just about ego.(maybe a small bit of ego too–but hey we are human!)I reluctantl joined one (orkut)–but it has fully enriched my life.I am in touch with so many people whom i’d lost touch with, as well as I have made some new friends.

  17. Dawud Miracle says

    I hear you. Sure, it feels good to have lots of friends in Facebook or a large following in Twitter. But really, the large following means nothing if those relationships aren’t nurtured.

  18. Jenny says

    I can’t really say because I haven’t been doing much social networking. My blog really isn’t worth the effort.

  19. Lin says

    I really appreciate this post. While I do believe that social networking can be consuming, it doesn’t have to be. I believe, or at least it’s MY goal, to build relationships with other bloggers.

    Building relationships with other writers, especially those in the same or similar niche, helps create shared links. There is a lot to be said regarding the benefits of linking to other bloggers, whether in comments left or those found in posts.

    It may be an ego trip for some bloggers, but if done correctly and fairly, linking helps illuminate other blogs or posts that would be of help to others. What could be a better reason than that?

  20. Dawud Miracle says

    I agree. What I’ve learned is different bloggers have different goals for their blogs. Mine is build relationships to build business. So social networking has been my friend.

  21. Rick says

    I disagree with the posting about Social Networking being a huge waste of time. Especially for recruiters or people who need to hire qualified employees. The resources available make it so much better to identify potential candidates.

    They can be productivity drains… But for the most part very useful tools if targeted towards professionals.

  22. Dawud Miracle says

    Interesting, because this is what I wrote in the post:

    Personally, I don’t think social media is a waste of time.

    I write about social media as simply being a tool. And like all tools, if it’s well-used, it can serve. But if it’s poorly used it can be a great time waster.

    What’s more, I use social networks constantly to build relationships. So I’d love to know what you read in my post.

  23. Lindsay says

    Thank you for a very interesting article.

    I think with social networking, one key point is quality not quantity, and taking the time to comment on those articles that you actually find worthy of a few reciprocal words. Personally, I couldn’t spend more than an hour catching up with networks at a time though.

  24. Erica says

    Yes, i think social networking is good. But you have to be careful what you post in your profile.
    I personally use the social networking for photo storage and my videos.
    Because it has better security features than other websites. and you can leave private comments, and your profile cannot be searched if you dont want it to be. You also can have different security settings for your blogs, videos and photos.

    because you don’t want your boss or parents to see embarrasing pictures of you on your profile.

  25. HollyHocks says

    Very interesting writing! I think sometimes it definately is about ego – at least for some. I should qualify that somewhat…

    It depends on the person but also I think the social network that you are on also indicates your intentions. For example, I think sites like myspace and facebook are so jammed with profiles that people have created that it really is cluttered and sloppy. People on these sites often engage in “friend collecting” (Even I have been guilty of this in the past)

    But then there are private social networks like where members choose their publicity. On facebook – everybody can see me so I make sure to limit the amount of info I put up, on, I just make my info as public as I like. is also a more of a professional networking site for an older crowd.

    So if you want prove how popular you are, use one of those social networks for playing, if you want to a build quality network, try something like

  26. Knives says

    Like stated above, it’s a double edged sword. It cuts both ways. I think it can be used to get in contact with friends and express yourself. Though, it can also be used to slander and spread negative rumors about people.

  27. Matt Kinsella says

    I think social media is down to engagement; what you get out is measurable by what you put in. There is also a lot to be said for how much engagement there is from the people you are trying to reach. If they are the type of people to only check messages occasionally and share a few photos then you might end up putting a lot effort in for nothing.


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