Enough with the social networking!

This week I received invitations to two more social networking sites. In this case they were promising to help me manage my online reputation.

I seem to be getting these continuously these days. In the early days of LinkedIn, I used to think “cool, a great way to network and enhance my SEO efforts.” I even advised clients and everyone I knew to do the same. (and yes, I secretly smiled at the “luddites” who said they couldn’t see the point.)

Now, I just think “what a nuisance.”

There are the really big sites, of course, such as Facebook and Linkedin (sorry I could never get interested in MySpace — I don’t work in cartoons). They’re good for just general networking, socially or for business purposes.

But every pursuit in which I’m interested now seems to have at least one, and often several, community site dedicated to that pursuit alone. Marketing — many. Management — several. Consulting — a few. Science — a couple of good ones. Music — of course. Job searching — oh yeah. Online reputation — apparently at least three.

All of them are vying for my time constantly. I could literally spend my entire day on these sites, networking myself into poverty.

What I find particularly upsetting about this avalanche of social networking is that they all claim they’re “innovative”. Since I work in the innovation management field considerably, I beg to differ. Innovation is creating radical or near-radical change — in products or business models. These are not innovative: they’re just taking standard community building tools and slicing up the social networking field in ever more fine gradients for marketing purposes.

At best it’s called working a niche. More likely, it’s simply copycatting with a slight differentiation.

Let’s take the latest invitations I’ve had. They are part of a group that includes companies like Naymz.com ReputationDefender.com and DefendMyName.com. For a fee, they promise to scrub search engines of anything I don’t want to see about me out there, or to create a new online identity for me.

Isn’t this just search engine optimization, which I – and probably you — have been practising for years? It’s just a newer version of the Google Profile technique.

Also it presumes that social networking sites are where most of our content rests — which to me seems a pretty narrow view. Most MarCom people have (or should have) much more content on their sites than simple social networking profiles, or blog comments.

A well rounded search engine profile should have these, of course, as well as white papers, FAQs, articles, endorsements, and other expertise-marketing content.

To help in organic search, SEO should be a planned and consistent process, with new content added on a schedule. If social networks are to be part of this mix, fine, but it shouldn’t take it over.

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4 Comments on “Enough with the social networking!”


  1. Not all social networking sites are about business managers wanting to extend their business network. The issue with Facebook, Myspace and Bebo is the fact that they are habited by a mainly young audience, they are a difficult and cynical bunch of people for organisations to market too. The advantage of this is that it helps in the education of the slightly older demographic who wants to feel included. http://www.itsourlocal.com recognises that some of our favourite offline past times can be monetised in the online space. Social networking online is no different than social networking offline……w go where it is relevant to go!

  2. Charles Stuart Says:

    Hey haven’t you heard of Virtudex.com? Its the best Business Social Network.

  3. John Hawley Says:

    Had a good look at the site you mention. What a brilliant concept! I’m sure it will spread quickly. Not only does it look like it will be a great social network but it also provides relevant information for pub & bar goers.

  4. wanless Says:

    Okay John. I think you owe me a couple of beers for the opportunity to put in this blatant plug.


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