I did a kind of radical experiment a couple of weeks ago: I de-friended almost all of my nptech and client Facebook friends (cutting my friend count by more than 60%). I had a few reasons for this, and over the past couple of weeks that I've been living this experiment, it's made me quite happy. Of course, everyone is still on Twitter, and Linked in, etc., so I still feel connected. Even though I tend not to blog anywhere near as much as most of my colleagues about social networks (because it's really not my passion,) I've been a fairly early adopter, in the broad sense (of course, if I compare myself to Beth Kanter, I'm a laggard.) I have an account on all of the major social networks (and some of the obscure ones, too,) listen often, and update fairly regularly. A while ago, I realized that I would keep hearing the same nonprofit technology related stuff, over and over again, and I realized I was contributing to that by using Ping.fm to send the same status notices everywhere, or connecting my twitter account to my facebook and linked in accounts, etc. (actually, I think it might even be possible to create an infinite loop doing that stuff.) I stopped doing that a while back. Now of course it used to be that all of my Facebook "friends" were other nptech early adopters. But around two years ago, a steady stream of my real friends started to come on, and then about 40% of my Facebook friends were non-nptech related. I noticed two important things: first, a status notice that a real friend was having a hard time would get buried in the cacophany of new reports, new campaigns, new blog posts, etc. Not a good thing. Also, I noticed that I censored myself on Facebook - I wouldn't say things to friends, or play games, or take silly quizzes because I felt the need to be "professional." So all of that lead me to make Facebook a "work-free" space. I left work-related groups, disconnected this blog from Facebook, etc. And doing that led me to think a little bit about how we nonprofit technology leaders use these social networks, and how we work with our clients to use these services. I do think that still, the majority of nonprofit organizations aren't all that connected to social networks. I'm not entirely utterly convinced yet that all of them should. And I do wonder about the echo effect - if you are an early adopter, and you are on multiple networks, you are going to hear the same stuff over and over. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? Should we be suggesting that organizations tailor much more specifically their messages, rather than using the services that allow them (and us) to send the same updates everywhere at once? The technology behind social network strategy and implementation is way more my bad than communications strategy, but this experiment has opened my eyes to some of the things we may be doing wrong. And, of course, there is an entirely interesting conversation to be had about the issues of work and personal life, but I'll save that for my other blog.