Jen Jones

Should You Switch to Google+ ?

Social networking can sometimes be like playing a giant game of Follow the Leader.

At first, the place to be in my own circles was Friendster. Then the site du jour became MySpace. And now, almost everyone I know is on Facebook, Twitter and more specialized sites, like Flickr and LinkedIn.

With the recent introduction of Google+, the next mass shift could be right around the corner. But should you switch just because everyone else might? I asked social media expert Leticia Barr, aka Tech Savvy Mama, and she shared with me the three real signs it’s time to pack up and look for a new network.

1. Your current social networks aren’t meaningful.

Think about each site you use and what distinct purpose it serves for you, suggests Barr. “Social networks are always changing, so how meaningful they are really depends on the user,” she explains.

“As a busy mom of two and someone who is really tied into social networks,” says Barr, “I always try to pick the ones that will maximize my ability to connect, streamline my interaction and make my time as efficient as possible.” Among her current favorites: Pinterest to “keep tabs on the things I love and get recommendations from others,” Twitter for its ongoing usefulness for business and pleasure, and Flickr for its user-friendly platform.

2. Your followers have followed their hearts … to other social networks.

Keep tabs on your social networks: “You’re on a particular website to interact with your friends in the virtual world,” says Barr. “And if they’re not there, that diminishes the point of using it.” Barr also suggests staying abreast of where early adopters are converging. Could those sites be of interest to you?

3. Your info is being leaked to the World Wide Web.

Finally, be sure to monitor new privacy practices adopted by your sites of choice. Citing Facebook as an example of a site that has come under fire for certain perceived privacy breaches, Barr remains hyper-aware of any changes that could compromise her family’s privacy.

“I’m always concerned about the way our information is being shared online,” she says. “A red flag is ownership -- who might own the photos of my kids and where they might go.” Trust your instincts and leave a social networking site if it no longer suits your privacy needs.

With these helpful hints in mind when managing your network of social networks, you’ll be sure to stay sane and streamlined. And who knows … maybe I’ll see you over on Google+!

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