Are These 4 Social Network Sites A Waste Of Time?

October 27, 2008


Being active on social network sites is going to be essential to your business in the future - according to the experts. Trouble is, social networking is time consuming. So how are you supposed to know which social network sites are worth joining and which ones suck?

I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t yet fully immersed myself in social networks. But I’ve tested out 4 & here’s my take. Don’t expect glowing reviews. When I launched this blog, I didn’t promise to “write nice”.


Entrecard

I really wanted to like this social network site. But I wasn’t expecting too much, as a lot of folk who are members of other social network sites I use, aren’t using this one.

Pros of Entrecard: If you use a really good ad that stands out, this system will probably help you create brand awareness. Also, the people who run this social network site are really helpful. They accidentally banned me, but they had the problem sorted out in hours.

Cons of Entrecard: If your idea of fun is mindlessly clicking from site to site, to get the hundreds of points required to advertise on low traffic sites, you might like it. The traffic quality is terrible - most folk are just clicking from one site to the next. I didn’t get much traffic from it at all and the bounce rates were higher than I’d experienced with any social network.

Cath’s Opinion

I wanted to like it - but it sucked. If you’re prepared to spend all day clicking on ads and your blog is quite new, it might bring you a bit of traffic. And it might make your blog seem popular. But Internet traffic that doesn’t hang round isn’t worth having. I give this social network site 1 out of 5.


StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon was the first of these four social network sites I tried. And I found it complicated at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was great.

StumbleUpon Pros: I got to network with some really nice people, we shared lots of interesting articles and photo’s. And I found stuff I’d never have managed to find using Google Search.

Also, StumbleUpon drove a nice amount of traffic to this site. The bounce rates were the lowest out of these four networks and quite a few visitors returned.

StumbleUpon Cons: StumbleUpon ban folk for voicing their opinion. Please don’t email me to ask me why I was banned - I get dozens of emails on this topic. You can read about it here: Are You Sick Of These StumbleUpon Freaks? and here: Is StumbleUpon Going Down The Tubes?

Cath’s Opinion

Had I not been banned from this social network site, I would have given it a 4 out of 5. But I spent a long time making great contacts on there and bookmarking some amazing stuff. And when I was banned that disappeared. So I give StumbleUpon 3 out of 5 and I expect the quality of the site to decline further if they continue to allow blackhat spammers to moderate the site.

Hot StumbleUpon Tip: If you want to learn how to use StumbleUpon to your advantage and drive a heap of traffic to your website or blog, without getting banned, Caroline Middlebrook runs a great StumbleUpon Traffic course.


Digg

I’ve tried to get into Digg for some time and I’m still struggling. Ok, so I might be struggling because I really haven’t bothered devoting much time to it. But to be honest, if I have the choice between cleaning the bathroom and playing on Digg, the bathroom usually wins - even though I hate cleaning.

Pros:
There’s some interesting articles on Digg - there’s also a lot of garbage. But if you’re heavily involved in this social network site, you might find your articles on the front page often and get a huge amount of traffic. Apparently, Leo of Zen Habits has had a lot of success with Digg.

Cons: Digg traffic seems to have a higher bounce rate than StumbleUpon. And I also found I was getting a lot of shouts from folk who wanted me to Digg their stuff all the time.

Cath’s Opinion

I probably added a lot of the wrong types of Digg user to begin with. Eventually, I did add friends who consistently Digg high quality stuff and I would recommend this approach, if you’re joining Digg yourself.

It’s no fun, when the same people are asking you to Digg every single bit of crap they wrote on a daily basis. Who is going to take your recommendations seriously when you’re just Digging dirt?

Twitter

I’ve been a member of Twitter for quite a while. At first I just didn’t get it, so I didn’t use this social networking site much. But I’m beginning to get used to it now. I probably don’t spend enough time on there to really get involved though.

Pros: Quite good for networking. Instead of just telling folk about great things you’ve read, you actually get to talk to them about other stuff too.

Cons:
It’s kind of difficult to have a meaningful conversation with the 140 characters that Twitter allows. Also, like the other social networking sites, some people abuse the system. And time differences can make it difficult to connect with some people.

Also, sometimes when I log on, everyone is talking about politics. While I can understand why the Americans are concerned about which idiot will be running their country next - surely there’s only so much that can be said about two politicians.


Cath’s Opinion

I’m going to carry on using Twitter and see how it goes. I can see the potential and I like the way it’s not all about article and photo passing. But I wouldn’t want to spend hours on end using it. I would recommend installing Twhirl, if you want to use Twitter - it makes it a whole lot easier.

Michael Martine seems to use Twitter a lot and he recommend Twhirl to me. I would recommend adding him as a friend, as he always has something interesting to say. You’re welcome to add me too - I like meeting new people to chat to.

So far, I would give Twitter a 4 out of 5. But that rating would go down if folk start spamming it too much - especially if they start charging others to promote their crap.

Which social network sites have you tried so far? Were your experiences similar to mine? Or do you think I’ve been way too harsh on some of these sites?

Related Reading

What Is Social Networking? And Do You Really Need To Know?
Social Network Sites Of The Future
Online Networking: Do I Hide From People Like You?
Are You Lost In Social Networking?
Social Networks v Content: Who Is King?

Related Resources On Other Sites

FaceBook Fatigue: People Tire Of Social Networks

Social Network Sites More Popular Than Porn
Social Networking Tools
Social Network Sites Reveal Class Divide

What Is Social Media? And Do You Really Need To Know?

October 18, 2008


I’m beginning to wonder just how many folk understand what social media is. And does it even matter if they don’t know what social media is, so long as they gain enjoyment from using it?

According to Wikipedia: Social media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings.

Using social media is important to folk who want to network and market their business on the Internet. But this is by no means it’s only use. Social media is also used by a lot of folk who just want to connect for the fun and pleasure of it all.

What Is Social Media To A Child?

I decided to find out what folk from two generations know about social media. First off was my daughter Jessica, who is so addicted to Bebo that when my husband told her it was time to get off the Internet, she replied, “This is my life. And you’re ruining it.”

But when I asked Jessica if she knows what social media is, she explains that she knows what media is, but she’s never heard of social media. Considering she spends so much time using it, that’s surprising.

But she doesn’t believe adults should be using it either. She saw me using Twitter and asked what it was. When I explained it was sort of like Bebo, she thought that was just plain weird. Adults shouldn’t be using stuff like that - it’s just for kids.

What Is Social Media To The 60 Plus Generation?

My dad was next on the list. I was pretty certain he wouldn’t know a thing about social media. He hasn’t had a computer too long, never mind the Internet - maybe 2 or 3 years I think. He doesn’t use the Internet much, but he does like Ebay.

Anyway - my dad did have a good idea how social media works, once I explained it was like Bebo. The computer fixing guy told him and this is how he explained it to me: “It’s a site where the kids talk to their friends, then they tell their friends about them and they add them and talk to them too.”

So far so good, I thought he’s really understanding how all this works, until he said: “Then the folk they’ve introduced send the kids viruses by email and that infects my computer. And it cost £75 to repair”

Well, that is not what’s supposed to happen and it’s bad when it does. And I guess he won’t be joining Twitter or StumbleUpon soon. But he wouldn’t be the only one.

There is an even darker side to social media too, so it’s little wonder that some folk are suspicious of it. The deaths of many teenagers have been linked to social media, including several Bebo users from a small town in Wales.

So it’s clear that some people regard social media with suspicion and many use it regularly without knowing what it is. I’m betting a huge percentage of Facebook users don’t even know they’re using social media.

And I’m not sure that folk who are using it as a fun way to connect with others, really need to understand what it means. But businesses who want to connect with folk on the Internet would benefit from understanding it more. What do you think?

Related Reading

Social Media Leprosy & Other Problems
Social Media Sites Of The Future
The Power Of Blogging For Business Without A Business
Are You Lost In Social Networking?

Are You Lost In Social Networking?

August 1, 2008


Using some of the social networking sites, such as Twitter, Digg and StumbleUpon is one of the best ways to meet new people and network on the Internet.

But, I really get lost on some of the social networking sites. Some people tend to use different user names and pictures and it can be a real struggle to find some of the people you know.

Do you struggle to find people too? Then why not share your social networking profiles with others in this community by adding them in the comments section? It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been here hundreds of times or if it’s your first visit.

My Digg Username: Lafinachu
My Twitter Username: CathLawson

I’m banned from StumbleUpon, but leave your username, if you’re a member, so others can see them.

Are You Sick of The StumbleUpon Freaks?

April 1, 2008

Image by Karol M
StumbleUpon Stalkers


If you use StumbleUpon, I don’t need to tell you that it’s a great resource for networking. You get to meet new people with the same interests and share great articles, photos etc with them. It’s also great for marketing your blog or website. If you write something great, many of your friends are liable to Stumble your post and drive traffic to your blog.

But, there’s also a dark side to StumbleUpon. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but some people don’t seem to like the fact that Internet marketers and bloggers use StumbleUpon. Some of these tossers deliberately thumb down posts we vote on and give them awful reviews. And lately I’ve noticed that it isn’t always done on a random basis either.

For example - a few days ago, I noticed one Stumbler had deliberately followed my stumbles and given the thumbs down to several posts in a row that I’d voted or reviewed. And I’m beginning to wonder if these StumbleUpon freaks are a new type of stalker.

Now they don’t always give the thumbs down - some of them just don’t vote at all, but leave a mean review. This week, I received this review criticising a picture I’d used in a post (the review at the bottom of the page). The user obviously hadn’t read the post at all and she complained that the person in the picture didn’t look as though they’d hit rock bottom.

Now, I’m not great at choosing pictures to go with my posts, but to me, the picture represented a blogger who’d hit rock bottom because they were so desperate to blog that they sat on the street to do it. What did the critic want me to publish? Someone lying on the street in their own vomit with a syringe stuck in their arm?

I just don’t understand the mentality of these people. We’re not there to spoil StumbleUpon. Most of us vote on topics that include self improvement, business and Internet marketing and we also vote on a whole heap of non-business related topics that interest us too.

Fair enough, we may get a bit of traffic from StumbleUpon, but we’re also there to share information and network too.

So how does that make us any different from other folks using StumbleUpon and what right do these StumbleUpon Freak’s have to stalk and harrass us? We may not like all the posts they enjoy either but, we don’t follow them round and accuse them of spamming, or deliberately give bad reviews on the posts they like.

Have you suffered attacks from some of these StumbleUpon Freaks? Did you confront the stalker, or just ignore them in the hope that they’d go away? Or are you one of the StumbleUpon stalkers I mentioned? If so, what is your justification for doing this and why does our presence on StumbleUpon bother you so much?

* The hate comments and abuse by spammers have been deleted and no further comments can be allowed on this post. If you care to read the comments, Frank gives a pretty good insight into how these spammers work.

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