Do You Need Those Other Social Networks?

You probably have several or many social network accounts that you’re ignoring. Admit it. I have several dozen. You may not be as prone to excess as I am, yet you are probably still saddled with accounts at what you thought would be “the next big thing” and is now a social media ghost town, or just not what you hooped it would be.

A few months back, I wrote about 6 Ways to Revive a Dead Social Media Channel. I wanted to revisit that and provide a few other takes on what to do when a social network account is languishing or gathering cobwebs. In that post, I assumed you wanted to bring a dead channel back to life and were ready to make a commitment to it. But what if you don’t even think you want to have the account any more?

In order to do a proper assessment of your social network accounts, you first have to find them. A quick and dirty way to do this is to use Namechk, a site that is also helpful to see if your preferred username is already taken. If you’re like me, you are probably using the same username or similar name for each profile you set up bar it being unavailable to you. You can also check your preferred username or names at How Sociable and get back a basic “ranking” to show how sociable you’re being in various popular networks.

How Are You Using Your Networks?

Create a grid with your networks and order them based on how frequently you use them. I don’t know about you, but I use three networks daily and maybe refer to another three occasionally, but I have way more than six accounts out there in the social mediasphere. Here is a very rough example of my social network account grid:

# Social Network Usage
1. Twitter Daily
2. Facebook Daily
3. LinkedIn Daily
4. SlideShare few times a month
5. Tumblr not often enough
6. Whrrl at least monthly
8. Sprouter few times a month
11. Gist not often enough
7. Flickr Rarely
9. Delicious Rarely
10. MySpace and MySpace Rarely
12. YouTube Rarely

While embarrassing to admit, I also have accounts on: Bebo, hi5, virb, digg, kirtsy, Biz Sugar, Sphinn, Friendfeed, Vimeo, Viddler,,, Upcoming, Eventful, Xing, Photobucket, Ning, Mixx, Reddit, Tripit, blippr, Plancast, eCademy, Stumble Upon, Kwippy, Audioboo, Squidoo,, NetVibes, Gather, Jumo and GiveBac, just to name a few. I also warn you now: Do as I am about to say but not as I do. I’m currently carrying out my assessment process and will begin the clean sweep over the holidays.

Determining Your Next Steps

So now here is the tough part. Once you’ve listed them all — or at least the ones you can find or remember — you need to make some decisions about each of the networks you only visit infrequently. I’ve boiled the choices down to four:

  1. Revive it. If you really have the time to make a commitment to keeping those networks alive — or if you haven’t gone overboard so only have a handful a networks to maintain — you can get some helpful tips here:¬†6 Ways to Revive a Dead Social Media Channel.
  2. Kill it. I’ve been on the fence for a long time about whether or not to kill many of my old, tired social network presences and my feeling right now is that I won’t kill them. If the network is really dead, it won’t be an issue. If it is just barely alive, you may want to try #3 or #4 below to keep your presence going with minimal upkeep. If for nothing else, I want to keep accounts with my preferred username even on a network I don’t use; that way nobody else can take my username and create confusion.
  3. Refresh it and make it a “gateway.” I like this idea because if you’re going to have presences in multiple sites, they could attract a certain (even if only small) crowd that you could then drive to the key places where you want them to be, such as your blog or your Facebook Page. I’d go for consistency and use the same or similar bio across all of these ancillary networks. After replacing your old and outdated bio with a new, concise one, you may also want to update your image to one that is the same across the board. Then make sure you can enter key links just to the core networks where you want to drive traffic. While many of these networks let you link out to dozens of other networks, resist that urge and stay focused on concentrating on driving traffic to your key presences.
  4. Refresh it and feed into it. Another approach is to turn some of these minor networks into satellite presences instead of gateways; not full destinations, but sites where people can get a good feeling for who you are and what you have to say. These are the sites where you can easily import RSS feeds from other sources, like MySpace and Tumblr. For these, I’d recommend focusing on only a few feeds: my blog, Twitter feed and Facebook status updates would be what I’d bring in. The key is to make sure you provide the right balance of messaging as a “package” and then look to place that branded package of key content in the sites where you can. In your bio, you may want to identify the account as containing feeds from your main sites and encourage people to visit — and connect with you — at those.

Trying to wrangle your social network identities and accounts into some semblance of consistency will most likely take a lot of time so be prepared to tackle the process a few accounts at a time.

How many accounts do you think you have, and what are you doing to manage them?

Stock xchng image by user ppreacher

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