Social networking is something that frequently crosses both my vision and my mind. To be honest, I have little time for networks like Facebook and MySpace. I’m grudgingly doing some microblogging. And while I’m not the most regular user or vocal advocate of it, I definitely understand the appeal and uses of social networking.
A trio of tweets by Scott Abel got me thinking a little more about social networking. Here’s what Scott wrote in those tweets:
- Why reinvent the wheel? Groups/associations should consider using social networks as their “platform”; saves $, increases reach
- STC chapters should have Facebook groups like Puget Sound’s http://ping.fm/8YkJF there’s increasingly no need for STC.org
- [TechComm] Most common answer when I ask unemployed tech writers if they have a profile on Linkedin: “What’s Linkedin?”
Scott started a small excrement storm with one of those tweets (can you guess which one?) — as usual, he was just calling things as he saw them. And I have to agree with him on all of those points. Not just with regard to the STC and our wacky little industry in particular, but to the professional world in general.
To me, social networks are (or, at least, can be) a manifestation of what musician Robert Fripp called small, mobile, self-contained units. They can spring up quickly. They can readily adapt to new trends and adopt new ideas. They’re easier to maintain and lack all of the organizational and historic and inertial baggage that burden far too many established organizations.
Going back to the third post in the list above, I’ve heard something like that from far too many technical communicators. Not just about LinkedIn, but about social networking and the like in general. For every technical communicator who blogs and podcasts, how many don’t? For every technical communicator who regularly uses a microblogging or social networking site, how many don’t? I’m sure that the number would surprise you as much as it would surprise me.
I could hammer out a lot of words trying to analyze why that is, but that’s not the point of this post. I’ve got a couple of questions for you:
- Are you a user of one or more social networking sites?
- If so, which ones?
- If not, why not?
OK, that’s more than a couple. Even more than three of a perfect pair. I was never good with numbers, which is why I turned to writing …
But feel free to leave a comment with your answers.
Photo from http://sxc.hu