January 21, 2010

Why do you use it? asks the social media loser.

Last night a friend/co-worker and I met with a former colleague of ours for coffee. The goal: Pick his brain for information about social media.

In the last year or so, this former colleague has become something of an expert in using social media to promote business and personal goals, boost sales, gain awareness, etc. Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, blogs... All of it. He's written articles and even been asked to give lectures at local universities and civic organizations about the topic.

So we asked him last night: How does one become an expert in this stuff?

His answer: "Uh, I'm not really sure. You just kind of have to get in there and do it."

I'll be the first to admit that I've been overwhelmingly late to jump on the social media bandwagon. (I didn't start a blog OR join Facebook until 2009, and I have yet to be convinced about the relative merits of Twitter.) I can point to several reasons for this reluctance to join the crowd:

I'm usually reluctant to join the crowd. Mostly I just hate people telling me what I SHOULD be doing. The surest way to get me to AVOID doing something is to tell me that everyone else is and I should be, too. Most of the time, this reaction has little or no logic behind it. I'm just stubborn for no good reason. This also kept me from trying to be a vegan in college which (no offense to my wonderful vegan and vegetarian friends) I'm actually happy about.

It's just ONE MORE THING for me to do. I always assume that, whatever it is, it's going to take waaaaaaay too much of my time. Since moving from a job where I had absolutely no life outside of work to a job that actually affords me some balance in life, I tend to guard my personal time very jealously--clearly, sometimes to the detriment of pursuing new opportunities and/or plain old fun.

The actual "social" aspect of things. I have a wonderful group of friends, and am always open to making new ones. However, there are some folks I'd rather not reconnect with, y'know? I know that sounds terrible, but it's true. And I know, I know -- it takes less than a second to click "Ignore" if someone tries to "friend" me and I want to run away screaming when I see his/her name. I didn't say these reasons were rational.

But now I'm faced with certain facts that make it pretty much impossible to maintain my stonewalling of all things social media:

  • I want to stay in touch with family and friends, and Facebook is the easiest, quickest way to do that.
  • I want to be able to write outside of my "real" job, and a blog seemed like the most logical way to do that.
  • I want to research and, eventually, promote the children's books I'm writing, so I need to join children's author discussion groups and figure out how to (eventually) create a fan page and a website for my books.
  • Social media is becoming an increasingly hot topic at work, so I have to make sure I understand the various elements so I can maintain that competitive edge. :)
In other words, life has dragged me, kicking and screaming, into the present. Or, at least, 2006.

So, in the interest of my continued research (and because I value your opinions)...

What do you think?

1. Do you use social media ?

2. If so, which elements do you currently use?

3. Why do you use them?

4. Which ones do you think work the best for what you're trying to accomplish (whether that's staying in touch with family, making new friends, promoting your business, etc.)?

5. Have you abandoned any along the way (e.g., is anyone still using MySpace)?

7 backtalk:

Iris Took said...

I like this post -
It could strike up a very complex discussion.

I think that everyone is OBSESSED with facebook (and I mean that in the true meaning of the word). Instead of calling me, I often have friends send me a facebook mesage and wonder why I didn't get back to them. What? Use the phone!

Then, I know other facebook junkies that will not read my blog. That kind of annoys me. Not to the point that I will de-friend them on facebook (GASP!) but you know, it takes a little more effort to read a blog than to look at facebook.

So, to make my point, I think social media is what you make of it. It is not mandatory. The beauty of it is you can pick and choose what you want to be involved in and what you want to leave out of your life. You can have facebook and not twitter. It won't kill you.

AthenaBee said...

Well, as you know I'm mad at the blog right now.

I love stalking people on Facebook. It would be listed under my top 5 hobbies. I'm also a charity nutcase, and Facebook helps me keep up with them all and help.

Twitter is great for me because I am the queen of vocalizing errant thoughts. I also follow my charities on there too.

Amber said...

At the beginning, I hated Twitter because it was the 'it' thing to do and I hate to join crazes. Then I joined and LOVED it! Lately, though, it's been kinda blah for me. In fact, I've tried to quit several times, but I want to save all my tweets first. (I think they'll be fun to read 20 years from now.)

I also ran from Facebook until I got sick of people pressuring me to join (some friends actually created a 'Get Amber to join Facebook' group). I still kind of regret caving. I hate it. Really. Not the application so much as the way people use it. I hate that people I've tried to keep in contact with via e-mail, phone, etc. now are accessible and eager to chat. Like I.T., I hate that people message me through Facebook instead of e-mail, phone or even text. I also hate that people who spend all day on Facebook and bug me to know what I'm up to won't read my blog. I now only get on Facebook when I'm bored, although I did start an alumni group for my high school class, which has turned out to be kind of fun. (Don't tell anyone I admitted that.)

I was on MySpace for about two minutes a year or so ago.

I'm also involved with social media for work - blogs, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. There's a lot of potential there that I wish I had more time to explore.

Metacognitive Musings said...

1. Some, but I'm a slow learner. For instance, I still don't know the difference between LiveFeed and NewsFeed on facebook.

2. My blog, facebook, and does e-mail count? :)

3. The blog - every once in a while I like to write. It's become my journal - that apparently I'm completely comfortable sharing with the world. No secrets here. :) As to Facebook - I was curious about what I was missing.

4. I like blogging (and reading blogs) better, although facebook tends to be faster.

5. No, but there's still time.

wrestling kitties said...

I too love this post!

I currently have facebook, the blog and twitter however I have not posted anything on twitter in a few months but keep forgetting to get rid of it. I thought I would like Twitter, but I do not. I am a bit of a wordy person and have a hard time fitting my thoughts into 140 characters or less. I also got highly annoyed at the overuse of twitter. It seemed like every few minutes certain people were twittering about something. I don’t need 20 twitters about your dinner.

I LOVE my blog, though over the past year the direction of it seems to be changing and I am not sure exactly what it is changing too. I just love to be able to express myself and keep in touch with people. However, the only thing I do not like about blogs is that I feel like you can not always say what is on your mind as it is very easy to offend people, especially when in some cases they are people you do not know that well. I try to keep my blog light, but sometimes I have something to say….and I don’t think people necessarily want to read the "not so light stuff".

I have facebook but mainly use it for stalking purposes. I enjoy looking at pictures of people who I only kind of know but who wanted to be my friend. I feel like I am doing something I shouldn’t but it is ok because I was given permission. So yes, I am creepy. Every once in awhile I will update my status, and I do enjoy seeing what is going on with my friends but I am not on facebook everyday and do not like to use it in place of emails, writing letters or talking with my friends.

Ky (Two Pretzels) said...

Oh this IS a fun post.

1. Yes, I use social media.

2. I currently have a blog, (twopretzels.com) and a facebook account. I had a twitter account but I never use it. It's too much. And, I feel that some people twitter FAR TOO OFTEN about self-indulgent crap. I don't want to read that you pulled 82 hairs out of your hairbrush. Weirdo. I'm also a "LinkedIn" member, but rarely visit that site. (Like three times a year.)

I'm proud to say that I NEVER, EVER had a myspace account. Ever. I thought they were pervy.

3. I've been blogging since 2006 and I just LOVE it. It's part of who I am. I really enjoy facebook for the sole purpose of catching up on friends' lives via photos, status updates, etc. It's another way to "catch up", I suppose.

However, I can't stand reading about people's health crises as status updates. If you need to get your spleen removed, PLEASE don't tell EVERYONE you know.


Iris brings up an interesting point about people refusing to read the blog... I agree, reading a blog is an investment. And, maybe in this, "right now!" world we don't have time to really truly invest in our friends. We just have time to read their status updates?


We're letting Facebook redefine what a friend is. (Think I'm going to blog about that.)

the grumbles said...

1. yes, i definetly do. i'm totally one of those internet junkies.

2. my blog, twitter, facebook

3. i love writing on my blog and meeting new people. i started doing twitter to boost the blog and actually found out i like it more than i expected. you can tweet little things at famous people, and they respond! it seems like it brings everyone down to the same level. networking, networking, networking. plus months later you can go back and read it and it's like a little personal diary. facebook i only use to keep up with family and show pictures of the babe to my parents, jon's parents, etc.

4. hm, i think i accidentally answered that one above

5. things i no longer belong to: myspace, livejournal
things i still belong to and never ever use: blogher, nablopomo, linkedin, kol, rottweiler discussion forums, and probably some other ones i forgot about

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