My what-what guide to using social media

In blogs, branding, commentary, Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, journalism, reporting, social media, technology, Tumblr, Twitter on August 1, 2011 at 9:00 am

Lately I’ve really attempted to try everything I can get my fingertips on the keyboard for regarding social media.

And I’m overwhelmed.

In other words, my status update for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ would be, “I have so many ways 2 share my thoughts that they’re rendering me speechless. Approaching social media overload. Brain is exploding. (X_X).”

Just under 140 characters of course.

I really had this feeling when I was starting a Tumblr account the other night. I kept wondering what the heck am I going to use this for. I get that Tumblr posts are longer than tweets and shorter than Facebook updates but … still.

Believe it or not, I really don’t have that much to say.

So to help me figure out what to do with each — if anything — and so that friends who are following me on several of these sites don’t get bombarded with the same photos, updates and links several different ways, I’m coming up with some guidelines, sort of use-what-for-what instructions — or a “what-what” guide.

I’m still finding my way through this whole social media landscape, and I fully admit I haven’t tried everything. I’m just one user logging in and giving things a go.

You might know a better way to divvy up duties among these tools. I’d love input. Use whatever medium you most prefer to share your thoughts.

Facebook: This will continue to be the main site I use for keeping up with friends and family. Most of my friends are on Facebook, and I don’t see that changing. I have used this for work in the past — I have a separate work account — and anticipate continuing to do so considering my potential sources and readers are likely on Facebook more than any other site. But I only share the best links on Facebook, whether they are my own stories or other things I find on the web. It’s much more obtrusive to list several links on Facebook than on Twitter.

Google+: As I’ve discussed in a previous blog post, I like a lot of Google+’s improvements over Facebook, but they’re not enough to make Google+ my main vehicle for talking with family and friends — or at least not until more family and friends are also using it. I would like to use Google+ as part of my reporting. The “hangout” video function would be great for talking with sources and readers. I love how you can tailor posts to specific audiences. But, again, more readers need to use Google+ for it to be worth the work. In the meantime, I’m going to keep my Google+ profile and check it from time to time.

Twitter: While I have and will continue to have a beat-related Twitter profile, I am more excited to use Twitter as a tool to network with other journalists, considering the industry has largely embraced this. I learn more about what’s happening in journalism through Twitter than on any other online medium. Twitter also encourages people to follow others who they do not know, as opposed to just following friends and acquaintances. I also share more links on Twitter than on other sites.

LinkedIn: This helps me stay connected with current and past co-workers. It also helps me keep my resume out there, though I haven’t gotten any job leads via LinkedIn.

YouTube: I have a YouTube channel where I’ve posted some of the videos I’ve made. And I’ll continue to use this page, if for nothing more than a link I can point potential employers to to find some of my work.

Delicious: I recently started a Delicious page, and I like its capability to catalogue links so that I can keep track of them long-term. I used to use Instapaper and anticipate using this in the same way.

Storify: I like how this can be used as a storytelling tool. While the issues that I cover may rarely lend themselves to this, I’ll keep it handy.

Quora: This could also be a great tool to accompany my stories. When I’ve had beat blogs, I’ve posted questions and have encouraged people to answer — much like I have on this blog. But maybe having a question-specific site would encourage more people to participate and would be a great resource in terms of having all the questions together.

I’m still not sure how to fit these in.

Tumblr: As I’ve mentioned above, this stumps me. Suggestions welcome.

Foursquare: The few times that I specify my location, I usually do this on Facebook or Twitter.

Did I miss any important ones? Let me know.

And another question to ponder: Is it better to post the same things on several different sites — in order to reach more readers, sources, family, friends, colleagues — or to tailor posts to different sites? Does the cross-posting turn people off more than it helps?

  1. I’m currently really enjoying your blog! I created my own WordPress account once I realised that I wanted to study Journalism and I use it to offer advice/comment on my own journo experiences so far.
    It is crazy how many different social media networks there are and it is does seem very difficult to keep up! I personally hate Facebook at the moment and am waiting for it’s decline, keep everyone incessantly updated with my dull life on Twitter and use Tumblr as a sort of online scrapbook which I love – favourite quotes, favourite photos etc! So I hope you could use it like that 🙂
    Do feel free to get in contact on Twitter, I will definitely be following your blog 🙂
    Sophie. x

  2. Sophie, thank you for such a sweet comment! You made my day!

    And I like your idea of using Tumblr as a scrapbook. I think I might try that approach. I would much rather find a good use for a social media tool than abandon it all together.

    And I found you on Twitter and look forward to your tweets! 🙂

  3. […] Considering MMJ is from Louisville, I have a special place in my heart for them — a warm and fuzzy feeling that even beats out my own doubts about Google+ (which you can read about here and here). […]

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