Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Art of Social Networking

Times have certainly changed. Where once we wrote letters and talked with friends and family over the telephone on a regular basis, now we use social networking to keep in touch.

So what, you ask, are social networks? The most common of these are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (at least the ones I use). Each seems to serve its own purpose.


I use facebook to stay in touch with family and friends. Since I'm of an older generation, I don't put much on my facebook page, but I certainly “follow” several members of my family and some close friends, both from high school and college, and a few that I've met over the years.

Facebook allows you to post pictures from your computer and links to articles that you might want to pass along to others.

It’s easy to use and you can comment both on your “wall” (your homepage) or on other’s postings, which then show up on their wall.


Twitter is like an analog conversation. Someone posts their 140 or less characters message and you can either just view it if you “follow” them, or respond, if you have something pithy to say (in 140 or less characters!)

I use it mostly to follow the two areas of interest I have – Boston sports – nearly all of the better sports writers are on Twitter and use it to keep me up-to-date on the latest developments for the teams that I follow, the Red Sox, Celtics, and Patriots; and the second area is in eye care. I “follow” several eye care sites and keep up-to-date on the latest developments in my field of expertise. I also follow several breaking news sites and use their tweets to stay abreast of breaking world and local news.

I also use Twitter to announce new postings on my blogs. I have close to 100 followers and tweet short messages and a link when I put up a new posting. (Like I’ll do once I put this post up on my newest blog – Musings.)


This is primarily a site for business professionals. (Although, I also use it to follow developments with my former colleagues at Arthur D. Little, and also at my college, the University of Massachusetts.) However, its main application is to keep up with news and job offerings in your field of expertise, in my case ophthalmology and eye care.

I belong to about two dozen “groups” – members allied to a certain affiliation, such as Ophthalmic Marketing or Ophthalmic Professionals. Each group can have several hundred members, giving announcements to such groups wide spread delivery.

In addition, a couple hundred people are connected directly to me, former colleagues, new colleagues and a few friends.

This is the vehicle I primarily use to deliver news of new postings on my main blog, Irv Arons’ Journal, where I write about new developments in eye care and specifically in treating retinal diseases. When I put announcements (including a link) on several LinkedIn group sites, my blog gets several hundred page views from the sites over the next several days.


This is a new social networking site set up by Google to compete with Facebook, where you need to be invited to join. Its main feature is that you can set up “groups” or “circles” of certain colleagues, i.e., family, friends, or business associates, and only make announcements to one circle, unlike Facebook, where it is more difficult to have only certain people see your remarks. (However, Facebook has responded with its own “groups” feature, to emulate Google+.)

One of my friends, Debbie Levitt has just written an excellent article about the shortcomings of Google+, called “Why Google+ Lost Its Shine”. Here are a few comments from her piece:

“Nearly 100% of the posts were about Google+. It was the network that seemed to be built to discuss itself. Plus, with it being so limited in its early days, most of my Facebook friends weren't there. so I still had to go to Facebook to hear what they were thinking.”

“This is all getting very interesting. I'm glad I tried Google+. But I just don't really see the need for it when I can't connect to the people who interest me. because they're either not there or not using it. Or not talking about much other than Google+! “

If you would like to read the rest of her piece, please follow this link.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to learning more about this arena myself and grateful to read about your new experiences! Happy posting. :D Rebecca