I’ve been hearing from a lot of people who are fatigued, frustrated and flummoxed about how much time they’re spending using social media. Google Plus seems to represent a tipping point of sorts. For a lot of people, it appears that joining Google Plus will mean spending less time using one or more of their existing social media tools.
This doesn’t have to be the case, of course. Adding one social media tool doesn’t require abandoning another. For most of us, however, the reality is that we can only give so much time to social media, or we risk neglecting the things that need our attention (you know, those little things like family, customers, personal hygiene, life, etc.). Something’s gotta give.
All of this got me thinking: if I could only keep one social media tool, which one would it be? And if it had to give something up, what would go? Here, then is a very unscientific rundown of what I value most, and least, among the tools I use most often–at least as of this morning.
Pros: It’s my hub, the place where I have the most relevant connections and where others expect to find me. Plus, it doesn’t take up a ton of my time and I still get a lot of value from it. It’s the tool the provides the highest ROI for me, by far.
Cons: It’s all business. If I want to connect with others outside of my professional circle, I have to go somewhere else. Also, many LinkedIn users are somewhat inactive, so many of my efforts get only a limited response.
2. My blog
Pros: I firmly believe that content curation will only take you so far. Eventually, you have to create. My blog allows me to do that, and to be a resource to others in a way that would be impossible if I were limited to status updates.
Cons: Blogging takes time. Often, posts don’t get a lot of traction. And finally, blog posts rarely allow for the immediacy of a status update.
3. Google Plus
Pros: This might seem premature, but I like it more every day. It combines some of the best aspects of every other social media tool. I can connect with my personal and professional networks from one interface, without overlap.
Cons: If a post falls into the Google Plus stream, does anyone hear it make a splash? Its sparse population sometimes makes it seem like you’re talking to yourself.
Pros: Lots of value for very little effort. A nice compliment to the blog and LinkedIn. A great way to repurpose substantive, offline content.
Cons: Not a lot of “networking” happens on this network. It’s more about publishing than connecting.
Pros: An invaluable tool for keeping track of great content and learning what others are sharing. Easy to use and as relevant to my personal life as it is to my work. I was pissed when Yahoo announced they were killing it off, and disproportionately happy when it got a second life.
Cons: See SlideShare. The potential for connecting with others is much greater than the reality. Also, there are good substitutes, so if it ever went away, I’d be able to adapt.
Pros: Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with a few old friends that I otherwise might have never talked to again. It can be fun. It has unmatched critical mass, so you can quickly and easily learn what’s important to your connections.
Cons: Like many Facebook users, my time spent on the site is generally unproductive. It usually feels like a chore. It has almost no relevance to my professional life. It isn’t as fun as it used to be. I’m beginning to root against Zuckerberg & Co.
Pros: It’s a decent complement to LinkedIn, blogging, and SlideShare. It’s easy to produce and digest individual Tweets.
Cons: Using it effectively is far too labor intensive, even if you use a tool like HootSuite. There’s infrequently enough substance on Twitter to make my time worthwhile. There’s far more noise than signal. Conversations 140 characters at a time become pointless pretty quickly.
Of course, this is just my opinion, and it’s very different from what I might recommend for clients, based on their goals, audience and resources. But I’m interested in hearing how you’d rank the tools you use most often. Where do you find the most value? What would you give up if you had to give up something?