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Jason Ogaard: Awash in a sea of social media sites

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On my iPhone I have a folder titled “Social.” The purpose of this folder is to hold all of the apps I use for social media. The reason I need a folder for social media apps is because there are so many ‘social media’ websites, and apps, out there.

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So far, I have Facebook and Google+ to tell my 798 (number exaggerated) closest friends what I’m doing. I have Twitter to tell the world how I feel. I have Instagram to photograph my life. I have Foursquare to tell people where I am. I have Pinterest to save and share interesting things that I find. I have Linkedin to connect to all of my colleagues. There are probably a few I’m forgetting, but I think that’s enough for now.

The new big thing usually flies around the Internet as a buzz word. In the industry I work, the buzz word is ‘big data.’ That is, companies have a tremendous amount of data points, what can they do with it all? Big data companies help them make use of that data. Another buzz word floating around the net today is ‘social media.’ With the success of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and the like, social media is a good area to be a big player in. YouTube was purchased by Google for $1.5 billion, Instagram was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion. Facebook is currently worth billions. If you’re technically minded, or know people who are, and you can come up with an idea for a social media site, you can find venture capitalists to back your idea.

I’m not suggesting you all go out and try to invent the new Facebook. But I am suggesting we might be in social media overload. It’s gotten to the point that I’m annoyed I have accounts on these networks. As a professional, I’m basically required to have a Linkedin profile. If I want to keep up with my friends at all, I have to have Facebook. So, are there social networks you can avoid?

Twitter is short form, limiting each post to 140 characters, you can optionally include a photo. Foursquare lets you check into places and make comments about the check-in. Instagram lets you take photos and comment on them. Pinterest lets you share links and comment on them . . . notice a theme? Each of these different networks lets you share some piece of data and then comment on it. Personally, I don’t think everyone in the world is as interested in my life as I am, so I share little.

Luckily, Facebook has incorporated features of most of these other social networks. For now you can get away with only a Facebook account for keeping up with family and friends. With Facebook, you can check into places, share photos, share links, share your thoughts and comment on all of these. But if you’re a professional, you should also have a Linkedin profile. Having a profile on Linkedin is almost an expectation these days. With some potential employers, you may be at a disadvantage without a Linkedin account.

How many networks are you a part of?

JASON OGAARD was born in Bemidji and is a software engineer for FICO, a Minneapolis based public company providing analytics and decision-making services, including credit scoring credit bureaus.

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