Barbara Krasnoff

Drowning in the seas of social networking

July 01, 2011 11:04 AM EDT

So how many social networks can one person handle at once?

Now that Google+ has hit the headlines -- and a limited number of desktops -- those of us whose job it is to monitor what's going on in the tech environment are starting to get a little dazed. Currently, I'm trying to keep a handle on:

Google+. The cool kid on the block, at least for the moment; it looks to have a bit more staying power than elder brother Buzz, who took a dive in the first round. Because Google+ is brand new to the neighborhood, it's going to take time to completely get to know it. A lot of time.

Twitter. The fact that the term "tweet" has made it into the American lexicon is a good indication of how important Twitter has become. These days, if you've got any kind of online presence, it isn't enough to have a Web site or even a blog; you've got to tweet about your product, your business and your favorite restaurant at least every hour on the hour. Follow a bunch of people so they'll follow you. And don't forget to check your Klout rating.

LinkedIn. The social network for professionals, freelancers and all those desperately looking for work, this service has recently revived itself from terminal boredom by reinventing itself as a place for discussion and research, including various professional groups and a Facebook-like list of updates.

Facebook. Nobody likes it, everybody uses it. I've always seen Facebook as something to use to keep in touch with friends -- and that alone takes up enough time, especially if you get involved in a conversation on, say, the casting of the upcoming film of The Hobbit -- but in the last year or so it's also become the place to do business. Should you have a Facebook page? A Facebook group? And once you've got one, how do you get people to pay attention? And how much time should you spend getting your new promotional videos there? Which leads us to...

YouTube. Practically the grandfather of online presence and another black hole of time -- especially now that it's expanding into full-length feature films. However, it's also one of the easiest to deal with, as far as interactions are concerned. You want to stay sane? Shut comments off. It's the only way. Sure, that means you're not exactly social networking, but otherwise you get to spend the rest of your life dodging all the nasty, obscene or downright stupid comments that you'll invariably gather.

Tumblr. Part blog, part social network, Tumblr's experienced a huge upsweep in users, all of whom are throwing comments, photos, videos, quotes, links and other info at each other in a desperate bid to be heard above the din. If whatever you post is really clever, your followers will reblog it, adding to your reputation and to the general onslaught of information. There's some fabulous stuff here -- Tumblr is inhabited by a lot of visual artists -- but you've got to figure out how to filter through to find it.

And this is only what I've been looking at this week. You may ask: While I'm monitoring all these various services, when will I have time to get my work done? I'm not sure. Maybe I should throw that question up on Google+ and see what folks say....