Social media can be overwhelming. If you read Mashable or TechCrunch you could go insane trying to keep up with all of the different social networks and start-ups. It is tempting to join every new network, but unrealistic and definitely not effective.
When joining a new social network ask yourself three things:
1. How much time can I commit to this site?
Don't join a new site unless you can invest time into it. And not just time in creating a profile, I'm referring to active time on the site. It is never useful to join a site just for the sake of joining. It is kind of like having a gym membership, but never actually going. You feel good, but you haven't accomplished anything.
2. Why am I joining this site?
You should have a set objective. Every new network you join should provide some benefit for you. Know what your objective is before you join. I use Facebook for fun, Twitter for learning, and Linkedin for networking. You can have totally different objectives, but it is important to know why you are joining a site.
3. What can I offer?
Do you have ideas or information worth sharing? Or are you joining to just push your website or blog? Self promotion is fine in small doses, but you should be able to offer up something to the community you are joining. Social networks are not about you, they are about the community.