Parsing Social Networks

In the era of niche social networks we are left with many choices for tools and conversations.

A recent discussion on Ken Mueller’s blog about the creep factor online caused me to reflect on parsing social networks for professional success and personal enjoyment.

Left to Right Work to Personal Networks

The above chart shows how I integrate my eight most visited social networks in my life. As you can see, each has a function and a purpose, used as stools to achieve professional function to old fashioned hanging out.

I really want to stress that there is no right or wrong method. Each of us uses social networks differently, again to our own tastes, needs and personalities.

Work Networks


Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are work networks for me. In essence, I don’t get a deeply gratifying experience from these networks. They are necessary for me to participate on for professional reasons.

In spite of slow interaction, Google+ provides great search benefit for content. As a blogger, I want my content searched so this is a must.

LinkedIn remains one of the most unenjoyable networks (more on this soon). But, many of my professional friends do like LinkedIn, and as someone who blogs on business topics, it’s important to be available to readers.

And finally Pinterest is necessary because some of Razoo’s primary customers use Pinterest. I am rarely there pinning for myself, more monitoring and examining how people and companies interact, pin and share content. That way I can make good recommendations.

Bridge Networks

Roosevelt Lake and Bridge

Facebook and Twitter are bridge networks. I liken them to highways. They can be all things to all people, and as such they have both professional and personal value for me.

Twitter is more the water cooler. I can hang out and chat there. It’s a great place to share valuable links there, too.

I have some local friends on Twitter, but it is mostly professional. I do like my time on Twitter.

Facebook is more personal than professional, in my opinion. My family is on, I chat a lot with work friends there, and over the years I have grown a substantial “friend” core with the general public.

At the same time, there are too many diverse groups within my Facebook friends to make it an easy place to converse. From clients to my wife Caitin, everyone is there.

I even have a 92 year old grandma who references my posts when we talk every week.

Because of choices I made, there are too many friends to invest the time to parse them into lists. So I treat Facebook like vanilla ice cream.

Some blog posts and work stuff make it on Timeline every week if they have wider appeal. The rest of my participation is lots of photos (personal hobby), and general chatter. In fact, I rarely post anymore without a photo.

But I don’t get edgy on Facebook, saving that for Path or not at all. Again, my family and clients are on Facebook, and I am mindful of that.

Personal Networks

Soleil Explores the Underside of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge

These are my personal networks. I can cross post from them to Twitter and Facebook when appropriate it (but generally not). Plus I want to keep some safe places to converse.

I love the freedom that Path offers me. I can post naked baby photos, make off-color comments, rant, etc. without fear of reprisal or antagonistic conversations. Funny how a limited number of trusted friends makes a big difference. I post more Soleil photos there, too to help protect her privacy as she gets older.

Instagram is an awesome network to share life as it happens. It’s also a great place to share photos.

As many of you know, photography is a bit of a personal hobby. So, I’m quite happy hanging out on Instagram during free moments.

Flickr is where I host my better pictures. My photo blog recently passed 400,000 views, and many photos end up sourced in blog posts and media articles as a result of posting them with a Creative Commons license.

So… That’s how I parse these networks. How do you use these networks?