Tuesday, June 9, 2009





How many social networks do I need, really? When you get right down to it, do I really need any social networks at all?

First, it was My Space. All the singer/songwriters had to get My Space pages. Upload some songs and fans will flock to your front door. My Space did not seem invasive. I did filled out the form created a page. For a while you could sell CDs straight from the site. I never sold any, but I did get My Space referrals to other sites where visitors could download songs. I got a few emails, most of them from agents or recording studios. It costs nothing. Fine. I still have a My Space presence.

Next comes Last.FM, a sort of social networking, music streaming, music selling site, based in Great Britain. It is sort of a chore, but I bit on it too. I never really figured out how it works. I don’t think that it does, but fine. I still have a Last.FM presence too.

LinikedIn shows up. Arguably, LinkedIn is not a social networking site, but I lump them in with all of the others. It is free unless you want special privileges, and LinkedIn wants money for that. I opted for free. LinkedIn is evolving aggressively adding other groups to its ever-widening circle. So, I’m in the Professional Journalist Society and some professional groups. And, I’m a member of the alumni groups for Baylor and The University of Texas at Austin on LinkedIn.

But wait! Both Baylor and The University of Texas at Austin and its schools have semi-social networking sites of their own, actively posting discussion topics and job openings. The Baylor group yields some contacts from time to time. I do not think that UT has taken full advantage of the opportunities that its alumni group presents. UT-Austin is huge to start with. Further, they already have all graduates email and addresses. Handled like a business, the UT-Austin social networking group could be better that just an email ever now and then. Perhaps, the problem is me—I’m becoming less and less open to groups that generate more and more email in my inbox.

Of all of them Facebook is probably the most useful. Local TV News is using it to promote stories and coverage. Other bloggers, including this writer, promote new posts, often including a picture and a link. I’ve found or been found by forgotten friends, many of whom are added to the NewsMcNabb email notification list. Of course, I also use Facebook to promote my music with a link to
www.mcnabbsongs.com. Most of all, however, I simply stay in touch with family and “friends”. I getting together next week with a friend from high school to make some music just for fun after exchanging messages on Facebook.

Then comes Twitter. Yes, I have a Twitter account, and I tweet when I have a new post on NewsMcNabb. A public relations friend recently encouraged me to use Twitter. I replied that I didn’t think that people were interested in the stream of consciousness of a 62-year-old retired journalist and singer/songwriter, and I am not comfortable sharing my every thought either. I tweet some. I see a use for it in news coverage. I also see a danger. A Tweet is not news. A headline perhaps, but not news.

Have you noticed that those who regularly respond to stories/blogs posted by Austin American-Statesman reporters have formed sort of a social (or anti-social) network of their own? They seem to know each other’s names or “handles” and respond to each other. On rare occasions, unwitting readers will post a response to a newspaper story only to be hammered by one of the regulars. It has become a network of sorts. It’s like the Dos XX beer advertisement. They live life vicariously through themselves, but they are not the most interesting people in the world.

I subscribed to a neighborhood association list serv. I do not contribute very often, but I get lots and lots of email. Most of it is deleted, but I do find story ideas, humor, and recommendations for carpenters and such there. It does help create community and an extended, virtual community. The list administrators acknowledge that many on the list serv do not live in the neighborhood. It is a social network in my book.

Now come the pretenders. Within the past week, I’ve received “friend” messages from “Tagged”. After some research, I think “Tagged” is a scam, and I worry about how Tagged got my name and the names of a couple of people I know, assuming it is indeed a scam. Today, Tuesday, June 9th, I get three “friend” invitations from something called iSound so far. Both Tagged and iSound’s “friend” messages have much the same wording as one you would get from Facebook requesting friend status, and access to your information, no doubt.

Do you have enough in your inbox?

Just say, “No.” Click “Delete”.

© Jim McNabb, 2009


Anonymous said...

Got a chuckle that you had a "Trojan Condoms" sponsor... ;) kinda got worried about what the subject matter or worse yet... who was possibly getting "skewered".

Agreed on too many sources of info... oddly enough, I like Conan O'Brian's take on watching his program... "Try television"

I still think facebook is the best but agree that it's getting out of hand... too many choices, too few viewers in each category... and we are likely going to see more choices spreading viewers even more thin than present.

...are we showing signs of aggressive marketing or just simple desperation?

EChristian said...

Jim, I agree with you 100 percent and should have responded when your blog on social media first posted. Like you, I find Facebook interesting and engaging, and I think it's probably sustainable. Although I do occasionally tweet, I think Twitter just has to be a flash in the pan...who could possibly care about this much information about anyone's day? Keep blogging!