My Social Networks: Optimal Sharing(?)

I’m thinking that I need to optimize my social network sharing strategy. Ideally, I’d like to reach the maximum number of people with the minimum effort and I think that I may have too many channels. There is also some duplication that I want to eliminate.

To achieve my aims, I think that I first need to analyze my sharing habits and who sees what I share. This might take several posts to untangle.

**Google Reader**
Let’s start with my primary sharing platform which is Google Reader (GReader).

Typically, I’ll read an article that I like and I’ll hit the “share” or the “share with comment” button. Items that I mark this way are immediately available in [Chris’s Shared Item](http://www.google.co.uk/reader/shared/12981735514196780717?hl=en) page. They also automatically go to my 27 followers (most of whom I do not know!) and, I believe, to my Buzz network. In Buzz, I am following the same people I follow in GReader so I think that Buzz followers must automatically be people you follow in GReader. As I have only 7 followers in Buzz, but they appear in the list of my 27 GReader followers I assume that Buzz followers are a proper subset of my GReader followers.

In my feeds, I also get a group of articles from blogs that I follow using the Blogger FriendConnect widget. These folks seem to be in a completely separate social network and would have to follow this blog to see my posts. Unless they actually take the trouble to visit my [public Google profile](http://www.google.com/profiles/114765763466148616187?hl=en) and follow my public [GReader Atom sharing](http://www.google.com/reader/public/atom/user%2F12981735514196780717%2Fstate%2Fcom.google%2Fbroadcast) link, they are probably unaware that they’re part of my network and won’t see any promotion of their stuff that I might share via GReader.

(In fact it’s an interesting question, why, if Google wants to have a social network like Facebook, they have so many seemingly disconnected silos.)

From this analysis, it would seem that sharing via GReader is not particularly effective: I have 17 followers, 5 of whom I know and follow back.

That said, one presumes that people follow me on GReader because they want to read what I share. I’ve certainly picked up things earlier from my small GReader network than I would from Twitter. For example, this week’s Google Wave story broke from one of the people I’m following in GReader earlier than it did from the “official” media.

**Widening My Reach with FriendFeed**

Let’s say that sharing this way reaches the people, the inner circle perhaps, who I definitely would want to reach. What about the wider circle? Well, my GReader shared items get posted to [FriendFeed](http://friendfeed.com/cpjobling) where I have 47 subscribers and 19 subscribees. (Friendfeed is one of my primary aggregators, so I will need to come back to it in a later post.) Assuming, without any detailed analysis, that my GReader followers and my Friendfeed subscribers are mutually exclusive, my primary sharing strategy reaches 64 people.
Can I change my sharing strategy to do better?

**Doing Better with Send To**

Short of leaving GReader itself, the only other sharing options I have are the “send to” destinations that GReader provides. In my case these are:

– Send to Friendfeed
– Send to Blog
– Send to Twitter
– Send to Facebook
– Send to Posterous
– Send to Delicious.

*Send to Friendfeed* is essentially redundant, as items that I share in GReader go to Friendfeed anyway and items shared exclusively with Friendfeed would not be shared with my GReader readers. With this insight, I should probably remove this option.
The others I will explore in later posts.
**To summarize this post**:
Sharing in GReader allows me to follow 23 key GReader and Buzz sharers, around 25 FriendConnect blogs, and of course the hundreds of RSS feeds that come into GReader every day. My sharing from this medium reaches 64 of my followers in both GReader and Friendfeed.
In the next post in this series, I’ll reflect on the *send to* options provided by GReader.
In the meantime dear reader, if you want to comment on your optimum sharing strategy, please use the comments.

Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University