|B.L. Ochman also writes the popular What's Next Blog.|
Here's the secret: Pick a couple of social networks -- mine are Twitter and LinkedIn -- and concentrate on those. You can't be everywhere and you don't need to be everywhere, unless you want to be like this dog chasing its tail.
Because social media is my business, I try every new platform that comes along, opening an account in each one so I can see how they work, who's using them and what kind of usefulness they could have to me or my clients. But I don't go back to most social networks unless buzz on them picks up suddenly. And I know when that happens because Twitter's open on my desktop all day. I also check my RSS feeds and Google Alerts regularly.
E-mail comes last. I hate e-mail. It's out of control. Anyone who is likely to get a quick response from me knows better ways to reach me than e-mail. Like the phone. I know: phone calls! What a concept!
Yes, there are people (like Robert Scoble, who follows 21,000 people on Twitter and has 38,000 followers there) who manage to be superstars in every known social network.
For us mere humans, the key to effective social networking is to be selective. Then listen, link, respond and give more than we take. And, hey, Rule One is still that social networking is fun.