Social networking online: Where to go, and where not to waste your time (Part 2: The Worst)

Networking has mattered since the dawn of business. Nobody’s going to deny that.

But never has there been such ample opportunity to network as now, with so many high-tech social networks rampant on the internet. It’s become a case of “too much of a good thing”—there’s too many social networks. For that reason, many people avoid them altogether. This is a mistake. There are many benefits to engaging in these websites: besides personal uses like finding old friends, their professional uses are plentiful. It makes it easy to stay connected to seldom-seen business acquaintances, helps develop new business relationships, and makes your presence (as either an individual or an organization) better known publicly.

Yet, any successful business knows the importance of efficiency. Wasting time is not an option for many tight-budgeted startups, and it’s definitely not the preferred route to walk even for larger firms that can experiment on trial and error.

Techvibes is in the midst of assembling four lists: The Best Social Networking Sites, The Worst Social Networking Sites, The Downright Awful Networking Sites, and Sites That Will Maximise Your Online Networking.

Here, in Part 2 of the series, we continue on with the worst.

View the list after the jump.

The Worst Social Networking Sites

These sites will either waste your time, make you look unprofessional for associating yourself with them, or both. Their cons generally outnumber their pros, and just aren’t necessary to touch when so many superior networking tools are waiting to be utilized instead.

1. MySpace. Some analysts will argue this belongs in the top list. They’re right, but only for one type of business—music. If you’re not some sort of musical artist, who wants to take advantage of MySpace’s premium music features, then you don’t belong here. The site is plagued by unsightly ads, the layout is messy, the abundance of user-based visual customization is atrocious due to lack of tastes, and the entire atmosphere of the site is unprofessional, if not internet-ghetto. Also, musicians consider: Facebook pages are coming closer and closer to handling music just as well as MySpace.

2. Bebo. Bebo boasts a big population, but its reputation is mediocre and it has very little emphasis on business. Despite some neat modules like Bebo Books, Bebo Bands, and Bebo Groups, the site can’t seem to compete with the likes of Facebook. Plus, AOL, which bought it in 2008 for a foolish $850 million, recently announced they’re trying to sell it. And if that fails, they will shut it down entirely. So registering as a user now means you risk wasting your time on a site that may vanish or change dramatically just as you establish a network on it. It’s not worth the risk and lack of professional networking focus.

3. Facebook. Wait, what? Wasn’t this just on the…

Yeah, it was on the Best Sites list. But the “dark side” of Facebook must be addressed: personal accounts. As mentioned in the list for the Best Social Networking Sites, Facebook’s pages and groups carry the stigma of marketing more heavily than networking. But you can accomplish both marketing and networking on that front, and neither with a personal account. The dangers of Facebook are abundant, and the atmosphere is catered too dramatically to social e-butterflies who want only to “creep pics” and “like” dumb groups. It’s been done by a select few people, who have a thousand or two “friends” and only post content streams, but there isn’t a point in this method: groups and pages do the very same stuff, but more easily, quickly, and professionally.