Despite videos, seminars, tutorials, and a couple of years under my belt, I still don’t get this whole Social Medial thing. (I take comfort in telling myself the “not getting it” is more a matter of needing an anchor for the concept versus my intelligence [or apparent lack thereof].)
FOOD, SHMOOZING, AND GET-TOGETHERS
A clarifying question FINALLY came to me. “What if I related social media to food, shmoozing, and get-togethers?” With that in mind, I came up with the following.
TWITTER ~ Appetizer. Finger food. Little nibbles, noshes, and snacks. While often not the healthiest things you eat during the day, the amounts are generally small. (It helps to rationalize the snacks keep your energy up.)
When attending a cocktail party or hanging around the water cooler you expect lighthearted conversation. “Small talk.” A place for telling jokes or a quick, “Hey I’m going to be here doing this & that later, why don’t’cha swing by?”
With Twitter’s 140-character limit, it’s best you avoid “meaningful and profound” conversations, since you’ll quickly burn out. (While you’d think this would be obvious with Twitter’s 140-character-limit, some — *ahem who shall remain nameless* — miss the obvious.)
BLOGS ~ Suppertime. You gather your friends, kinsfolk, guests (“tribe” in the cyber vernacular) to your table. You feed them. Real food. You supply fuel, energy and substance. In preparing the meals, you may find yourself experimenting with different recipes and types of cuisine. Still, you will probably become known for something in particular: Desserts. Salads. Main courses. Appetizers. Table settings.
The most successful cooks, restaurants, and blogs are those which specialize. The best thing you can do is find your strength — your niche — and develop it. Get strong in it. Get known for it. Ultimately you want to be branded and known for having developed a strong niche. You offer a something (mealtimes are food, blog time is entertainment, knowledge, information, opinion, humor) others want, so they’ll stop by, join you, and invite their friends.
GOOGLE PLUS ~ After dinner shmooze and dessert. You’re sated. You’re full. You’ve slowed down. You linger at the table. You’re hanging with friends. Family. Having tea (or coffee) and dessert. Conversations meander. Pictures are shared. You might spend an evening telling jokes. Another time you might wonder down memory lane, discuss politics, wedding plans, potty training, photographic technique. There is no limit to where after dinner conversations meander. This is the part that lasts the longest. You nibble on the cake. Have another cuppa.
Often, friends who couldn’t make the meal will join you for dessert.
FACEBOOK ~ College frat party. Too much of everything. Music’s too loud. Booze flows too freely. People are trying too hard to have a good time.
LINKEDIN ~ Formal, sit-down, multi-course meal (Or visiting Aunt Bertha.) The serious stuff. You want to make a good impression. You put on your best clothes. Are on your best behavior. Remember your manners and rules of etiquette.
FLICKR and INSTAGRAM. Not sure about the differences between these two photographic sharing sites. Each has strong advocates and detractors. I recently joined Flickr and am still finding my way. Flickr does seem to make it easy to organize photographs, chat about them, join groups of like-minded photographers, or those who appreciate a certain branch of photography. Some groups have active discussions and fresh photographs, others less of both.
Perhaps Flickr/Instragram can be equated to Trail Mix (generally a combo of nuts, dried fruit, and small candies). If you hike or backpack, you’re going to be very specific about what you pack since you have to carry it. You will probably be specific about your photographs, perhaps only black & white, digitally enhanced, Polaroids, portraits, cloud-scapes, or etc.
PINTEREST is a virtual, interactive scrapbook/bulletin board/Coffee Klatch. Rather than the sit-down-dining-room meal of Blogs or Linkedin, you’re more relaxed. This is the join-us-in-the-kitchen gathering. Your friends and neighbors stop by. Grab themselves a mug. Pour a cup of coffee (or tea). Help themselves to the coffee cakes and cookies. You swap D-I-Y ideas for science projects, recipes, or patterns. You talk books, fashion, and hair styles. You offer inspiration in the way of great quotes, cool books, life-style changes.
TUMBLR, REDDIT, ETC. Have not a clue. If you do, please enlighten!
For a healthy body, you need to eat a variety of foods. For a healthy cyberspace presence, you need to partake of a variety of social media. The trick, however, is to use them wisely.
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