Should I Be On One Social Network or Several?: How To Choose a Social Network

I checked in at Google+ this morning and was surprised to see a user post that he just deactivated his Facebook account.  The question that immediately came up for me, “Why would he do that?”  As online social networking is evolving many are left wondering which one to use or use multiple services.  The other question comes up if you should delete your account because you like features of a new one that came out?

I’m one of those that is on several and do not deactivate accounts when a new service I like comes out.  In fact, I kept my MySpace account for about a year after I joined the mass exodus of users from that service.  One of the things I’ve noticed is that user bases are different on each service.  Likewise, the uses serve different purposes.  Think in terms of restaurants.  I might go to one for more professional types of social gatherings which wouldn’t go over too well in a McDonald’s.  Turn that around and I want to grab a quick bite to eat on the go with a friend.  McDonald’s works out better in that scenario.  I like both and will frequent both but for different purposes.

So how does one choose a social network to be on and the questions to ask yourself:

  1. What do you want to get out of the service?   There’s a reason for everything, and there is most likely a reason for signing on with a social service.  The reason I initially got involved in anything with social networking was because my kids wanted to use MySpace.  I wanted to keep an eye on what was going on.  Then I saw uses for my wife’s business later on with other services and is now one of the leading drivers for me looking at services that pop up as well as possible Church uses.
  2. Who do you know on the service?  Some people tend to forget that little word “social” in “social network”.  It’s about the connections and the quality of those connections.  We connect better with people we know, and we know people for different reasons.   If my parish has a very active Facebook page that shares a lot and has great faith discussions, I’ll want to have a Facebook account to participate.  One of the primary reasons I picked up Facebook was because a lot of my high school friends were on there.  I picked up LinkedIn because a lot of my past professional contacts were on there involved in more targeted professional discussions.  Twitter, well, that’s a whole different story.  Just like it always is.  That service really is in a class all of it’s own when you think about it.
So should you “deactivate” or “delete” another account?  That’s always up to the user, but I tend to leave them open and “feel it out” over time.  The MySpace decision for me to “delete” the account was really about #2 in the above list and quite honestly I was getting nothing out of the service.  I’m a big Google+ user and I’m a big Facebook user.  Google+ interestingly enough is my Catholic place primarily.  Facebook is my general (family, friends, local acquaintance) social place.  Twitter is my place to get a real sense of what ADD is really like place I guess.  LinkedIn is my professional type of discussion place.  There all a bit different and serve different purposes just as we go to different social places for different reasons.
Do you use only one account or do you use multiple services for different reasons?
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Author:Brad West

I live in Palm Coast, FL with my family and have assisted my local parish with our website and communications. Our parishes today can benefit a great deal from technology. Whether it's improving communications, community building, evangelizing, business operations, and much more; we have the tools today. To help provide some direction and advice to parishes and parishioners, I wrote and published an eBook titled "The Connected Church" which is available through Barnes and Noble (Nooks and Nook apps) as well as Amazon (Kindle and Kindle apps).
  • goodsaints

    I remember many people saying they were leaving Facebook for good when Google+ started while it might be nice, it’s just not realistic for most. My setup is pretty similar to yours with family and friends on FB, some posts on G+ (although still pretty slow and only check it a couple of times a week), and Twitter. I might still have a MySpace account, but haven’t been there in forever. Keep up the great blog!

  • Clare Zajicek

    Each service definitely does serve a different purpose. I’ve had a few friends delete their Facebook and switch to Google+, but my friends lists are radically different between the two services, and there’s no way I would delete Facebook since a lot of those friends will never be on Google. Even though it would be nice to consolidate the sites I visit or log into, I just don’t want to lose contact with some people.