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Social Networking Friends vs. Real Life Friends

Social Networking Friends vs. Real Life Friends

While many of us use social networking tools differently, most of us struggle with similar questions and challenges.

  • Should I connect only with family and good friends on Facebook and only business contacts on LinkedIn?
  • How secure should I feel when using Facebook’s privacy settings to determine which groups of friends can or cannot see particular photos?
  • Should I be concerned when someone tags me in a photo or I comment on someone else’s post?
  • How can I organize the people I’m connected to so I see updates and news from the people I care about the most?

Social Networking Lines Get Blurred

With the unprecedented growth of Facebook, it has become  the largest social networking platform by far. Even when we start out with one strategy, we can have a hard time sticking to the plan. We may have planned originally to connect only to family and friends, but then our co-workers found us there and we couldn’t really ignore their Friend Request, now could we? And then, there are the other parents in the carpool. And, a few of their kids wanted to become Facebook Friends, too. All of a sudden, our neatly organized idea of how we wanted to compartmentalize our activities online has gone to hell in a hand-basket.

When did things become so complicated? Is this because social networking is new? No, gathering with our friends, sharing news and planning events is not new. I’m sure this has been going on since the early days of humans interacting and forming communities. Doing all of this online is the part that is new and this is where things get really interesting – and a little messy.

The Real Life Social Network

I’m excited to share a thought-provoking presentation about Real Life Social Networks from Paul Adams, a blogger and researcher at Google. The presentation highlights research done to understand how real-life networks work and how current social networking platforms, like Facebook, work with or against these existing relationships.

With the internet abuzz about the rumors, and fairly high likelihood, that Google is hard at work at its own social network, possibly called Google Me, this makes Paul’s take on networking all the more intriguing. Could this be a glimpse into what’s next from Google?

I encourage you to walk through his presentation below. Don’t be intimidated by the large number of slides (216). Many of them are just images and he includes explanations where context is needed. Even if you don’t make it through the entire presentation, you will come to see how moving our offline, or “real world,” networks to an online environment (and then, throwing in a bunch of people we don’t know as well) starts to get complicated. Lots of food for thought here.

Which of his points ring true with you with regard to your own use of social networking? Anything else you’d add?

View more documents from Paul Adams.
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35 Responses to “Social Networking Friends vs. Real Life Friends”

  1. […] days], I am still stuck on the question of what to do about my name. You see, if we aren’t real life friends, you don’t know how inappropriate my last name actually is. It suggests to do inappropriate […]

  2. Liz Isaacs says:

    RT @irenekoehler Social Networking Friends vs. Real Life Friends http://bit.ly/bCqR1G

    WOW! Irene you and Paul bring up lots of interesting things to think about.

    It’s all about balance, common sense and how transparent do we really want to be without having any negative repercussions.You both forgot to mention blogging–i.e. WP, HuffPo etal–be careful what you post if it’s not business related etc.

    Facebook while I do use it for business, I am more social with my various groups than on LinkedIn. On FB, I do my best to balance things out-if someone is questionable I do hide them on my feed unless I remove them.

    LinkedIn I use to connect with others building business relationships through my networking efforts. I am less engaging on a social level as on FB, Twitter etal on LI even though I try to be cordial in my group discussions, q&a etc. I only tweet business related tweets there since it is a business site.

    Twitter-social in furthering building relationships. Do use the 80-20 Rule–tweeting more engaging industry, trade news,answering client questions etc and less about me v. shameless promotion. Also, I am careful if I tweet on FB too.

    Blogging providing info to my readers, fans, clients etal.

    • Liz Isaacs says:

      Also, it should be noted that social media while it’s definitely here to stay and should be an integral part of one’s marketing strategy. It should not be the panacea or alpha-omega of marketing. There are other components that still needs to be including tradition media, pr etc.

    • Great job, Liz, in taking a look at the big picture. I agree that there are benefits of using the various platforms for different purposes as they engage different audiences. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Liz Isaacs says:

    Thanks Irene for your reply. I think a lot of times we sometimes only focus on what’s in front of us not the whole picture.

  4. colestan says:

    Social networking sites had influenced so many people nowadays. People, who are not real life friends, can connect to other people. In this way, there’s a possibility to build new friendship within your network. Because of this endless connect to other people, more and more businesses take advantage of it. The use of social networking sites is a free advertisement anyway.

  5. Beth Barany says:

    I love social media… we all need all the help we can get!

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

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