How many (online) networks are too many?

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I’ve been updating my website, blog, portfolio, and any number of other sites and profiles over the last few days, and it occurred to me that part of the (well, my) “problem” is the volume of networking sites I (we) feel compelled to belong to. I know it’s important to get your business/blog/hobby/interest/organisation et al out there, and there are some networking sites that are better for some things than others. Deciding which ones are good and which ones aren’t for your particular needs, can be tricky, and there are so many to choose from!

So, how many networks are too many? Realistically, they all take time to keep up to date – there is nothing worse than an out of date profile! I have to confess that I’ve joined a lot of networking sites as a trial either for myself, or for clients, and have never gone back to delete them – after all, you never know when you might need them!

But all in all, I’ve got a rather long list, and I think I need to rationalise it!

So, there’s the usual mix:

  1. Facebook
  2. Linked In (Personal/Professional)
  3. Linked In (Business page which I should probably update!)
  4. Twitter (about to kick start this again)
  5. Pinterest (about to kick start this one too!)
  6. Google Places and Google+ (I’m still not convinced this is working properly!)
  7. About.me (not really networking I know, but added this today when I was updating the blog!)

And then there’s local and other directories which I use for specific purposes:

  1. Visit Lismore
  2. Community Engine
  3. Stella Network – the Lismore Women in Business Network
  4. True Local
  5. Local Directories
  6. Local Busines Guide (I never did sign up for this, but I’m there anyway!!)
  7. Northern Rivers Creative (profile currently unavailable while I update it!)
  8. Yelp (is this networking, or a directory? Anyway, I think I may have deleted my profile by accident!)
  9. Australian Web Industry Association (for which my login fails, so I probably need to do something!)
  10. Flying Solo
  11. Start Up Smart
  12. The Hive (but I think it’s been disbanded)

And then there’s things like this lot which aren’t really networking, but in theory make it easier to manage, or just find, even more!

  1. BufferApp (just testing it out)
  2. Hootsuite (so I can post to many places all at once!)
  3. TweetDeck (so I manage everything on Twitter, but do I need this as well as Hootsuite?)
  4. Stumble Upon (incredibly useful for finding sites i might never have found otherwise)

And then of course there’s a whole heap more tools (as opposed to networking sites) that I use regularly like Google Webmaster and Analytics, image galleries (Dreamstime and the like), DropBox, Behance (and others like it),  a few more that I’ve needed to join on behalf of clients, and others that I’ve not dived into yet (think YouTube, Reddit). All in all, there’s about 20 or more that fall into this category! Just doing a search in Mashable for ‘social media’ presents a staggering array of sites, resources, and information that’s out there. Overwhelming amount of information, and an overwhelming digital footprint I’m creating!!

Do you need to use sites like these for your work? If you do, how many do you use regularly, and do you ever go back and evaluate which ones are really useful and working for you, and which ones are just there?! Do the sites you use impact on what you might recommend to clients? How do you manage the blur between professional and personal networking?

I’d love to hear your comments.

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