“Do I really need another social network?” is a frequent response whenever a new mobile app or web service is released. I have asked the question a few times, but more often than not I will try it out and see if I can find a fit for it in my life. Most of them don’t make enough of a dent to stay on my phone past the day, but more than a few have a permanent place on my phone today.
While many networks have feature overlap, I have carved out specific niches for each one that are targeted towards the specific audience I am aiming for on the service. Things I post on this site may not be appropriate to share on Twitter or Facebook, but may make sense on Google+. Similarly, some photos are taken for Flickr, while others for Instagram.
This is the system of social network separation that works for me. Maybe it will work for you too.
carpeaqua: I consider this site to be the landing ground for everything that I consider most important. I publish the content I care most about here because I own every pixel of the experience. It is also a great launchpad to push fine readers like yourself to other areas of the Internet that I frequent or want to share.
Twitter: I use Twitter as a smaller, creative outlet. I share links, write bad jokes and occasionally troll my followers for fun. I also obsessively delete replies after I am sure the person it is directed to has read it. When someone visits my Twitter profile for the first time I want them to decide whether to follow or not based on the content I produce, not the conversions I have with other users.
I am also trying to use the @carpeaqua account for more than just pushing out notices of new articles on this site. You’ll find shorter thoughts, live working out of ideas and a dash of my charm1 on there. A Twitter stream that just pushes out announcements is akin to shouting in a room of people willing to listen. I try to offer a bit more.
Facebook: Facebook is for personal communication with friends and family. If there was a network I could do without, it would be Facebook. I don’t enjoy the experience as much as I enjoy the people that are on it.
Google+: Google+ is the nerdier variant of Facebook. Things that are too long for Twitter, but not necessarily worth posting on this site go here. I also try to remember to post links to the articles I post on here to Google+ because it seems like a decent way to offer comments without letting you write them on this site. As I hate most Internet commenters, I may come to regret this decision.
Path: I never used the original version of Path, but I love using the new version as a way to give my closest friends and family members an inside look into my daily life.2 More than just sharing my own content, I enjoy seeing what my friends are sharing on it. Path is what I enjoyed most about Facebook before it turned into the Internet platform: a social network for your private, personal network.
Instagram: I post a mixture of life and “faux artsy” photos to Instagram to give a visual journal of my daily life. Viewing photos from my friends and through tags is also a great way to waste time when Twitter isn’t offering much.
Flickr: Flickr is my least used service right now, which is sad. The personal photos I used to share on Flickr now go to Facebook and I reserve Flickr for any “real” photography I may do. As I rarely get out with my camera these days, that usage is becoming less and less. Their lack of a great mobile experience also limits its glance-ability when I am on the go.
Stamped: Stamped has replaced Yelp as my to-do list for restaurants to try. Whenever a friend stamps a restaurant I have never been to, I tend to add it to my to-do list in the app. I also try to stamp anything I really enjoy in hopes that others will experience it as well. The experience is frictionless and easy compared to Yelp.
Tumblr: My Tumblr Dashboard is the closest thing I have to an RSS stream these days. I check it several times through the day to read up on news, look at photos and occasionally discover interesting new content. I use my own personal Tumblr for posting music that I am currently enjoying.
Foursquare: I don’t use Foursquare much when I am in my home base of Indianapolis. When I travel or visit a new city, however, I make an effort to check into every place I visit. I am terrible with names, so having a record of that great restaurant or store I visited in Denver is just a few taps away.