Monday, 4 August 2014

Social media - does it get too much? My dislike of Twitter, and more ..

So much social media these days! Photo by Insofta.
Remember the day when you first looked at Friends Reunited and thought 'Wow, this is so cool!' (This probably only applies for 30s and over now). The chance to see what people you used to know were up to! It was great at the time.

Friends Reunited is, of course, pretty much history now - and was pretty pointless once Facebook became fashionable. And now, it's not just Facebook that's impacting our way of living. Things have developed soooo quickly in the world of social media.

If you're a creative person who wants to do something like write or anything arty, or if you want to set up a business, or put something 'out there' to the world, you have to be on social media. It's not really a choice, unless you are an expert in promoting your product without the use of social media, and I doubt many people are.

So what do we have now? I guess Facebook's still the first site people think of when it comes to social media, and then there's Twitter which gives people access to the quotes of famous people, as well as being a business network site. I have accounts on Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

Keeping up with all these sites is a little overwhelming - but more on that in a bit. Let's first go through what I think of all the sites and how much I use them.
Facebook - I have been in love with Facebook ever since I first joined about 7 years ago. To start with, it was a great way of keeping in touch with people down south, as I'd moved north that year - although I don't have a great deal of interaction with my southern friends now, although a few of them are still FB friends. I don't really know what it is about Facebook that appeals so much, it's like football - I love it but don't know why sometimes. I guess it's a great way to express myself through random thoughts and also post my pictures and blog posts. Also I've found people on there that I hadn't spoken to in years. Facebook is a great way of connecting with old friends and finding like minded people. The downside of Facebook is that it's not helping itself in some ways - by getting people to pay in order for their pages/products to have greater exposure for example - and I've heard people say that Twitter and Google+ are better for networking purposes now. I should probably cut down my Facebook usage a bit - I use it every day without fail, for quite a large amount of time.
Google+ - I like G+. In some ways it's similar to Facebook but it's better for networking, as people seem to use it for networking more than Facebook. The communities on G+ are great and I love the idea of Google Hangouts, although I haven't had a hangout with anyone yet. Anyone fancy hanging out? I use Google+ to connect with people I don't know - there aren't that many people I know that use it - and it's been good for that purpose. I don't use it as much as Facebook but, one day, it may become more popular than Facebook, if Facebook keeps shooting itself in the foot.
Pinterest - I think Pinterest is great, but I don't use it a great deal at the moment. Excellent concept and from what I've heard, is a very good business and networking tool.
LinkedIn - To be honest I'm not mad on LinkedIn, I have an account but rarely use it. My impression is it's more for 'professionals' ie high flyers in the corporate world, which I will never be. I don't know whether I'll keep my account or not.
Goodreads - This is one I'm starting on, for readers and writers, which I will probably be using more as time progresses. I haven't used it enough to give a balanced opinion on it, but I like what I've seen, so far.

And last but not least .. Twitter .. the second most famous of the networking sites, and the one I dislike the most. It freaks me out more than any of the other sites. The reasons why:
- It's emphasis on quantity and lack of connections - I hate the idea of having 2000 followers or following 2000 people, and only interacting with about 15 of them. I like to see things from most or all of the people that I interact with on social media, and you just can't do that on Twitter. I deliberately keep my friends list fairly low on Facebook, for example. I find Twitter a bit of a minefield and a bit overwhelming. I wonder who, if anyone, actually reads what I put on Twitter - I know two or three people do but I cannot work out how your posts are supposed to be seen.
- The short messages - I may be fairly quiet in real life, but on social media, I am quite chatty. And I don't like being limited to what I can write - Twitter makes me feel a bit constrained.
The trouble is, I've heard people say 'You need to use Twitter, it's the best site to promote your product' and so on. But Twitter all seems a bit unnatural to me. Menna van Praag, author of Men, Money and Chocolate, said something to this effect on an interview.
I am hoping I might be able to succeed without Twitter - after all, it's only one of many networking sites. Either that, or I'll work out how it's actually supposed to work. But for now, I have deactivated my Twitter account, and I have about 25 days to decide whether I want to use it again, or the account will be permanently deleted.

I am finding it a bit of a job to keep up with all the social media at the moment. Yes, I know there's Hootsuite, which I have used but mainly on Twitter, and I could do with finding out how to make it work for the other social media sites. But I know that I like to keep up to date with things when it comes to the social media world, and it can be a bit of a tough job when there's so many social media outlets out there.

This is part of the reason I deactivated my Twitter account - and, for me, it's important to do what feels right, not what the experts say. As someone who hates multitasking, sometimes it feels like there's too much social media. I probably will delete my LinkedIn account, too, having written this - sometimes social media seems like a case of keeping up with the Joneses and the Smiths.
There's so much information out there and sometimes it can feel like you've missed something if you haven't got your finger in the pulse of all your social media accounts. However, there's only a certain amount of time in a day, and you can't do everything.
And maybe I need a bit of a break from social media .. but that's not an easy thing to do :)

What's your favourite social media site and why?
How do you use Twitter to your benefit?
Is Facebook going to last forever?
And so on ...

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