Ahhhh, the joys of Social Networking! Finding long lost school and work friends! Meeting new people! Access to experts in every field imaginable (and some I bet you never imagined)! The great portal to finding answers and building connections!
Only, if unmanaged, this exciting new frontier will be the only frontier you have time to explore on a day-to-day basis (eh, who needs to go to work, spend time with the family or tend to our basic daily responsibilities really?). One day, if you are not careful, you will look up bleary eyed from your computer screen at 2 AM and ask yourself… how the heck did I end up here (looking at the average rainfall in December in Swaziland)?
So, my most sage advice is: Determine why you are interested in using Social Media. Once decided, give yourself a time budget that you can actually afford to allocate (without detrimentally affecting your other interests and responsibilities) to this exciting new territory. Determine which 2-4 sites are most likely to give you the most bang for your time and develop your relationships there. All sites can offer you new friends, colleagues and access to more information that you can likely humanly keep up with. Some do it in a professional environment and some more casually, but in the end, they can all get you “there” (connecting, learning, educating, working, playing, etc.) But, none of them can if you can’t focus your efforts to grow and nurture your accounts, friends, colleagues, and purpose for being there in the first place.
Like a kid in the candy store, we want to taste everything, but, in reality, we can only physically handle so much without going on “overload”. So, like your Mom said, pick a few favorites and enjoy!