I have to admit I it took me awhile to understand social networking and social bookmarking sites. In many ways I still don’t get it. Not having a clue hasn’t stopped someone from blogging about something before and I am no exception. That said here’s what I have learned in the past few months.
I didn’t grow up with Facebook.com. For me it was BBSes and old style usenet. To the extent there was social networking, it wasn’t formalized by the mechanisms you see at myspace.com so it was a completely different critter. That said I have have pretty much dove into social networking. This is difficult for me because I am not really a social person. In fact I am fairly anti-social, so I need to really work at this for me to be effective and I still suck!
Most social networks exist largely to share information, trivia and bookmarks. I have joined Linkedin and here is my profile because this is where most of my professional contacts have ended up. Most of these are from the sale of my company and are contacts I would like to keep. I still haven’t made enough connections, even from the people I know. Like anything social networking on the professional side requires work and if you are by nature antisocial you need to work at it. Linkedin is most effective for professionals and Guy Kawasaki has a good post on getting the most from it.
Most other sites that are commonly referred to as “Social Bookmarking” sites are short on social, long on bookmarking. They can best be described as meme bookmarking with people online. Modern social networking apps don’t have shared calendars and the discovery tools are pretty primitive. It really lends itself to roleplaying. In fact to be effective at any of these social networks some form of role play is necessary. While I am an avid D&D role player, I am a horrible actual role player. I just don’t see the point. Why extensively lie about your earnings, sexual prowess, job? You name it – people are lying about it. People using myspace seem to feel the need to consistently lie and exaggerate. I guess this is human nature but at my age I feel that your accomplishments should speak for themselves. So that’s always been my approach on social networks and it might explain why I am not more popular. I also joined Mybloglog which has gotten me quite a bit of traffic. Many people are using icons of large breasted women as their icon to draw clicks. While it might draw young male clicks, it won’t draw users or readers. I used my Tibetan Mastiff who is far more photogenic than I am without being offensive. (Wow Bodhi looks pretty regal there).
Actively using social bookmarking is pretty time consuming and of course you have no real idea which services are going to be the winners in the space so you try a few and don’t keep up with them. I would call del.icio.us the winner except it suffers from the horrible name problem that will prevent it from really reaching critical consumer mass – just try describing the URL to someone on a phone call and you know what I mean.
So in order to get the maximum benefit for both link building and social bookmarking I joined a huge pile of social bookmarking sites and have been trying them out. While joining that many networks sounds like a pain in the ass I have found a tool that helps me manage it. Edwinsoft’s Social Bookmarking tool is pretty helpful because it allows me to post not only my URLs but other URLs I find interesting to a variety of social bookmarking services.
But Brian isn’t this just spamming the networks? Not if you do it the way I do. I use the social bookmarking tool to manage my social bookmarking sites. It allows me to add multiple URLs to multiple bookmarking sites, allowing me to try out various ones and so I don’t have to worry about which social bookmarking sites are going to make or not because I have a presence on all of them.
The key is to use the right social bookmarking tool just as a bookmarking and management tool and to use the social bookmarking site just like you would normally. Just putting your own links in the social network is a complete waste of time. Find posts, articles etc you would normally use and then use it accordingly. It’s a huge time saver for posting to social networks and use it wisely. It’s definitely one tool you are going to need for link and connection building.
I would also recommend going to each social bookmarking site weekly and spending some time sorting through your links. If you have an export option (linkagogo.com actually mails me my bookmarks on a weekly basis) which is a nice feature. It’s pretty interesting to get a weekly summary of what I found cool that week.
Social bookmarking for me is just beginning to pay off. It takes time and the right social networking management tool to make it work but it definitely is worth it. My traffic from social bookmarking sites has significantly increased since I started using them and I find it pretty interesting the variations on a theme – what features the site designers decided to incorporate to the site.
Edwinsoft’s social bookmarking tool also handles account creation at each of the social bookmarking services which saves you time traveling from services to service. Here’s the list social bookmarking services you should join.
That’s 24 separate social bookmarking sites and Edwinsoft’s social bookmarking tool will walk you through account creation on all of them in a single step. The time savings alone for the makes it worth the price for me – try manually creating an account at each one of those sites and see how long it takes you. Now multiple that by the number of bookmarks you have.
Of course I am still learning and I will post another entry as I continue to learn. I have no doubt more flames are on the way for this post.
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