The New York Times’ Stephanie Rosenbloom (@stephronyt) in a widely shared piece this weekend wonders if there’s too many social networks for people to keep up with.

The relentless pressure to partake of the newest networks was underscored in June with the debut of Google+, Google’s social networking site. According to Nielsen, social networking is now the most popular online activity, ahead of sending e-mails, searching the Internet and playing games.

Put another way: one in every four-and-a-half minutes spent on the Web is spent on a social networking site or blog. And last year the average visitor spent 66 percent more time on such sites than in 2009, when early adopters were already feeling digitally fatigued.

Look at Jessica Lawrence, who left her job in California to pursue a new life in New York City, who was quoted at length by Rosenbloom. Lawrence barely uses her LinkedIn and Facebook accounts anymore. Then came Google+ and the need she felt to experiment with it.

I’m on tech overload. I already feel like I’m experiencing slow death by e-mail. I’m having a really hard time justifying adding yet another social tool to my tool `kit.’

Lawrence is doing what I see a lot of lawyers doing. Developing a love for one social network and using this singular network rather than spreading themselves a mile wide and inch thick across a half-dozen networks.

Marketing professional and author, Brian Solis, also quoted by Rosenbloom, has it right about each social network having its own feel.

Every networking site has its own culture. But each culture is not right for each and every person.

Value is in the eye of the beholder. A small percentage of readers of [my] networking sites said they were suffering from social network fatigue. Then again, they usually get a second wind.

My advise to you as a lawyer is to experiment with social networks. You cannot stick your head in the sand and say I’m too old for them, my clients don’t use them, they’re just for kids, not for lawyers, or I don’t have the time.

The train is leaving the station. If you don’t use some social networks to accelerate relationships and your word of mouth reputation, the principal way you get work as a good lawyer, you are losing ground on your competition.

But you don’t have to use all the social networks. Find one or two that work for you. Ones that add value to your life – professionally and personally.

Don’t get sucked into the automated feed game. Using a tool that automates your posts across multiple social networks at once is a game for fools.

Be present in the social network you’re using. It’s the same as being present in real life. People know when you’re present for them. People know when you care.

Don’t worry about your Klout score (service that measures your influence by your activity across social networks). No matter how much of an ego you have, do not feel compelled to use all the social networks to achieve and maintain a high Klout score.

Your goal as a lawyer in using social networks is to build relationships and to enhance your reputation as a trusted and reliable authority in a niche area of the law or locale. Your goal is not to have a high Klout score so advertisers will pay you to influence a segmented audience.

Graham Hill, founder of TreeHugger.com and VP Interactive at Discovery’s Planet Green, is right in telling Rosenbloom that people need to focus on the ‘real world,’ in addition to their social networks.

I like to spend the time with someone in a restaurant than spend the time on Foursquare telling people I’m in the restaurant.

The in-between times are important, like standing in line at the bank or taking a taxi. Times when you should be checking in with yourself instead of trying to be somewhere you’re not.

Don’t always follow me as a role model in your use of social networks.

I’m playing in the the social networking tools’ sandbox trying to find out what’s real and what’s not real. I’m trying to find out out how these things work. You’re practicing law, and likely raising a family at the same time.

As someone who practiced law for almost twenty years and who’s been involved in various business enterprises over my lifetime, my goal is to share with you what I am seeing and feeling when it comes to all these social networks. I want to be your ‘friend in the business’ offering a little guidance, counsel, and inspiration.

Then you as a practicing lawyer can try a few of these social networks and see which ones bring value to your life. You don’t need to do ’em all.

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