What I’m reading: Stellarnet Rebel by J. L. Hilton and Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

For many years, I thought it would be so cool to have an online place where you could invite your friends and hang out and relax. Kind of like in Tad William’s Otherland. Now that these places exist (kinda), I find myself struggling with them. Here are some social networking sites and why they did or did not work for me.

Twitter. I like this because it is easy. Very little to set up. Follow a few people and they usually follow you back. It is like a stream of chat going by you, and you can participate as much or as little as you like. Works for me.

Goodreads. In my opinion, Goodreads has emerged as the best library social networking site. It is author friendly and reader friendly. I am fairly active there, in that I check it almost daily. Once a month or so I’ll update my shelves. Drawbacks: I find the groups clunky.

I have token accounts at LibraryThing and Shelfari and one other site, but I rarely visit.

Facebook Pages, Profiles and Groups. For me, Facebook is a mixed bag. I find it too cluttered with options. It is suffering from the same growing pangs that MySpace had until it imploded.

Pages have not worked for me at all. With a page, everything is one-sided. You can’t “friend” anyone; you can only pester people you already know to “Like” your page. They deliberately make it difficult to attract people or to even be visible unless you buy ads. And I am not at all sure it would be worth the money.

After months of neglecting my profile in a fruitless attempt to get the page to work for me, I have decided to use the page for major announcements only and concentrate on my profile. Yes I know, I can only have 5000 friends. I am not anywhere near that threshold. Besides, maybe those first 5000 friends can become my secret cabal of founding fans. Or something like that.

The benefit of a profile is even once I am beyond 5000 friends, I can still have subscribers. But most important, I can create groups of people who aren’t necessarily in my friend list. I am experimenting with groups now, and I think it is the most promising thing I have found about Facebook so far.

Google+. I think this is a fail on the part of Google. It seems to be a great way for people to spam me. I never look at it.

Pinterest. I joined Pinterest because I was hoping to be able to share research sites there, but I have found that it does not work anything like I expected. Apparently it is for photos only. I don’t spend a lot of time surfing photos unless I am doing a Cover Art Sheet, so my Pinterest account is neglected. I may have even deleted it.

I heard that del.ic.ious (or however they break it up) might be more suitable for my research sharing idea, but I still need to look into it.

Blogging. As you probably guessed, blogging has worked best for me. Blogs are clubby but welcoming, and anyone can come by and take a peek without signing up for anything.

You can check out all my social networking links here.

Which is your favorite social networking site? Know of any new ones the rest of us may not have heard of yet?