LessonIndex.com on Social Networks

By , August 2, 2011

Early this year, I created a separate Facebook “page” for LessonIndex.com (see http://www.Facebook.com/LessonIndex) and I’ve been sharing updates and some news articles through that account for several months.

This week, I created a separate Twitter account for LessonIndex.com (see http://twitter.com/LessonIndexcom), though I’m not yet sure how I’ll use it.

I also have a separate “personal/professional” account on Facebook (“MarkWelchMktg”), as well as a separate Facebook “page” called Mark Welch on Education which I use to share links to more “political” articles and blog posts with those folks who want to see them.

I also recently created a personal profile on Google+ (Google Plus), which is still in a “beta test” phase.

I also have a profile on LinkedIn (which I don’t use at all), and a “personal/professional” profile on Twitter (“MarkWelchMktg”) which has been dormant since January. I recently deleted two other Twitter profiles that I’d used for unrelated activity.

Of course, once you’ve established more than a few relationships across two or more social networks, it’s impossible to keep up with all of them, and it can be difficult to choose what information to share through each service.

One problem is that each “social network” service provides a slightly different set of benefits and features, making it impossible to adopt practices that are consistent across multiple networks or platforms.   (There are also an array of third-party services and tools, some of which impose their own special restrictions or practices.)

The worst limitation is Twitter’s 160-character message size, but Facebook actually has several different limits (a “post” is limited to 420 characters, and although “comments” can be longer, they’re truncated with a “read more” link if they’re long).

Each service also has a different conceptual structure. Twitter allows “one-way” relationships (one person can “follow” another’s activity, without reciprocity). Facebook requires that users “friend” each other (a reciprocal two-way relationship), but allows creation of separate “pages” (formerly called “fan pages”) which can be “liked” without reciprocity.  Google+ allows “one-way” relationships, like Twitter, but requires that you assign people you follow into “circles” (comparable to Facebook and Twitter “lists”; all of these allow you to view a stream of activity for a subset of the people you’re following).

Each service also places upward limits on the number of relationships allowed, though there are ways to expand these.  The limits seem reasonable for most folks, but present challenges for business users and marketers. On Facebook, you can have up to 500 “friends,” and you can “like” no more than 5,000 “pages.” Twitter limits the number of people you can “follow,” with the limit based on a ratio of the number of people who follow you.

Google+ (still in a beta test) is the only service that allows users to “post” items that will be shared only with a subset of the people you have relationships.  When I post a message about LessonIndex.com, I can limit it for distribution only to folks in my circles called “teachers” and “education,” so it won’t bother other acquaintences who aren’t interested in this information. When I post a personal comment, I can choose to send it only to people in the circles I’ve defined for “Family” and “Friends.”  This should reduce the need to create multiple profiles (as I’ve done on Twitter) or multiple “pages” (as I’ve done on Facebook).

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