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Archive for Friday, October 3, 2008

Rash of social networking sites overwhelms author

October 3, 2008

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On the street

How much socializing do you do on the Internet?

Quite a bit. I’m on Facebook, MySpace and use several Internet messaging services. And e-mail of course.

More responses

In terms of socializing, the Internet is like the party that never ends.

Each month a new crop of social networking sites sashays into the cultural consciousness. Some are general, some peculiarly specific.

It's easy to first embrace the concept by joining an obvious candidate such as Facebook. But after prods from a few acquaintances, that lone site can easily expand into a dozen more.

Want to find new friends in your same old city? Go to MEETin.

Like to share your party picks? There's Flickr.

Enjoy online gaming? Try Avatars United.

Want to discuss projects with other knitters and crocheters from around the world? Ravelry is the ticket.

While I don't actually have a membership to any of those sites, I still belong to several others ever since going on an enrolling binge last year. Consequently, I felt it was time to purge - cyberstyle, that is.

I decided to prune my networking sites down to just one.

The first casualty became LinkedIn. The career-oriented site boasts a membership of 25 million, and from what I've been able to gather, not one person has ever found any work because of this affiliation.

If I were a potential employer, I would hope job candidates had more going for them than a single LinkedIn recommendation from some dude in Des Moines that says, "Jon was awesome to work with. And he totally rocks at Wiffleball!"

The catch was that once I deleted my listing, only the page information was erased. Every other search engine indicated I'm still on LinkedIn. So I continue to receive invites all the time - only now those people probably think I'm a dolt for "ignoring" them.

Next came MySpace.

I only originally became one of the 245 million users of MySpace for professional reasons. One of my gigs at the paper is assembling those Best Bets write-ups that run in the print version of the Pulse section. That includes finding photos of the bands. Sometime last year, virtually every musician on the planet got rid of their own Web sites and switched over to MySpace (something having to do with the listing being free). As such, in order to access their photos, you had to join up.

Guess what? That led to a lot of time-wasting from putting window dressing onto my MySpace page: bio info, favorite films, audio clips, etc.

Fortunately, a couple of weeks ago the site made it unnecessary to log in to view pictures.

Goodbye MySpace listing.

That was just the beginning. My spring cleaning (five months premature) resulted in four additional interactive sites being excised.

What's left? Just Facebook. It's simple, functional and doesn't have a bunch of distracting visuals that take time to load.

So I'm feeling nimble and invigorated after my online enema.

Still, there's one more site I might consider joining in the future: Webaholics Anonymous.

- Entertainment editor Jon Niccum explores facets of pop culture that have established a unique niche on the Internet in Net Worth.

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