How many networks can a regular person maintain?

I think I fall into the category of regular person.

Married, two kids, full time job.

So, as a regular person, just how many social networks can I maintain?

In my case, not many. In fact, I’d say I can only really manage one effectively.

At the moment, the network I maintain is Twitter. Aside from this blog, it’s where I share my thinking and try and spread what I learn to others. It’s where I learn from others. It’s where I spend quite a bit of time, much to the chagrin of my family on more than the odd occasion. And it’s not what I’d describe as a social network, I use it for professional learning. (but really, the lines are blurring there – professional is becoming social. Let’s face it, I spend quite a bit of time there.)

So, when Google announced their new social network, Google+, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement. When Google Buzz was announced, I was super keen to get on the bus. But the gloss of the new has worn off. I don’t have a Google+ invite, and nor do I want one just yet. I’m happy for everyone else to figure out how it works (thanks Doug Peterson : )), and save me all the time and commitment I’d need to put into working out the kinks. If I find a large number of my network moving to the space, then I expect I’ll move there too. It’s the nature of networks; you move to where the people you interact with are.

I don’t know how I’ll manage if Twitter and Google+ co-exist and they both are significant. I really can’t afford to spend any more time online. If I do, then I think my husband will seriously consider shutting down internet access to our home. If they integrate, then I stand a chance.

What about you? Are you able to successfully maintain more than one social/professional network? Did Google+ fill you with elation, or dread?

12 Replies to “How many networks can a regular person maintain?”

  1. Hi Jenny,
    I suppose another take on this is that Twitter is just one mechanism for maintainign a network. Twitter isn’t your network – Twitter is the infrastructure that supports your network… mash-ups, apps and integrations allow you to leverage many mechanisms with Twitter… my Tweets also go straight to facebook and several other systems… I work by minimising my input to support engagement across a range of contexts…

  2. Good post in the midst of Google+ fever.
    I share your feelings about Google+. It looks very interesting but I simply can’t cope with any more networks unless I can get rid of at least one in exchange. I tried Google Wave and Buzz but intend to keep a low profile on this one until I can see that the plunge is worth taking.
    I find Facebook rather messy and would love a cleaner and more structured alternative. However as long as virtually everyone is in there and not in Google+ that’s where I’ll stay. My hierarchy in social networking is my blogs, Twitter, Facebook and then the rest (in that order).

  3. It’s always about priorities, isn’t it, and not feeling guilty about your choices.
    Good thought.

  4. I’m with you all the way Jenny.
    This is the 21stC challenge.
    I have 2 networks – Twitter and my friends, and I blog. I’m sure I’m capable of coping with more … but do I ‘want’ to? No.
    THE biggest challenge for me is NOT working/networking all the time … it’s way too easy to ‘pop in’ to Twitter, or FB, or a ning, or …! What I’m struggling to do is ‘pop in’ to see a friend, or my daughter, or my son, or spend time with my husband, or ‘allow’ myself to go upstairs and quilt for a day without ‘checking in’ online.
    We have a right to a life – and it’s getting increasingly hard to take it back.
    That said … I’ve made some great friends through my online network, and enjoy the online conversations … Yep, I’m living in the 21stC!

  5. Jenny, You, a regular person? Yes. My wife would say anyone loving The Middle is surely a regular person. I see you as having wonderful balance with your social networking. As for google+, I feel the same. Let’s get the reports from our friends after a few weeks or months on board. On this end, little balance for me. Love twitter as a PLN with a tad of personal sharing. I just retired from public education and I’m using FB more to stay connected to my fellow educators but I’m now also sharing more educational items on FB. Still can’t resist the opportunity to see education and learning improve for kids. Balance, I don’t have and not looking for it right now! Google Reader, email subscriptions (like yours), the Tour de France, twitter, and my new ipad2 are daily calling me. I’ve been paying the bill or yes, my internet service may have been cut off. I have this great line for my spouse, “But I’m retired now.” I hope this will work for a few more months and then something tells me I will be looking for your balance. Love your posts. Keep them coming. Celebration month for many, Canada Day 7/1, Independence Day 7/4, Bastille Day 7/14 just to name a few. Let’s enjoy our freedom but come together for the betterment of all in the world. Peace through Education!

  6. Good for you for finding balance… I wish I was there. Twitter, blog, RSS reader, Facebook, Edmodo (for a grad class), online discussion group (for the other grad class). My computer boots up with 8 tabs open, just so I can check everything. My husband may well divorce me if I don’t find a way to disconnect. I can’t even look at Google+ right now… I think everyone needs to sort through and find what works best for them.

  7. I feel pretty much the same. NZ has just started the Virtual Learning Network which I am putting in some time getting to grips with. Now I have the same friends in multiple networks. People keep on wanting to be my friends in Linked In. I accept but have no great interest in joining in more depth.

    1. Great initiative from the NZ Govt., but for people like you, it’s yet another network to manage. I do think it’s important to try and appeal to all teachers, and maybe a network like that looks more friendly to non tech types. I hope you find it useful Allanah.

  8. After tinkering slightly for a few days with +, I agree with you Jenny that I too cannot manage another network. However, I can see good use of circles for schools, communicating with specific classes and students.

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