Social Media – The good, the bad, the clutter…

March 10 - 2014

Entering the 21st Century kicking and screaming – ok, that was a little dramatic, lets just say I have my doubts…

Well I have been busy over the weekend, no, not riding my Harley – probably wouldn’t of gotten a headache if I had (have plans for my Harley this week J  ) 

It is something that I have resisted for a lot of years, but now it has become apparent and almost a necessity to become involved in as I quest to serve the masses my blog. 

I am of course talking about Facebook, Twitter and even Linkedin. Even as an avid Internet user I have to admit that this part of cyber world is a bit overwhelming to me. (I know that there is much more out there to ‘plug into’, but hey, you got to start somewhere  J  )

Facebook always had left a ‘bad taste’ in my mouth. Maybe because some of the people I knew who were on it used it more like a ‘gossip mill’ than to do anything really productive on it. Or some used it as their personal soap box to shout out ‘look at me’, ‘look what I am doing’ -  posting every single minute of their life, (really, your daily routine activities are not that exciting that the world needs to know - I am sure even your friends don’t care that your cat threw up a fur ball…) 

I could never quite figure out why people have been attached so much to it. Maybe it is because some people like an audience, like to be the center of attention or just want to be a part of something whether they have anything interesting to say or not – but like it or not, it is the “gathering place” in our cyber world today and it dosen’t look like it is going anywhere for awhile. I suppose many people just have that love / hate relationship with it, which explains why it has lasted this long…  (I personally think it just replaced all those ‘Chat Rooms’ that were so popular back in the 90’s)

[Here is an interesting study of “Why do people use Facebook” I found, and I think it actually answered my question – hmmm, do I really want to be on here…] 

After signing up, I think Facebook just might have changed a bit (I say that with trepidation) Businesses have certainly embraced Facebook over the years as another way to promote themselves. And Facebook has that feature where you can separate your personal from your business. Can you really separate personal from business on the Internet? I find the two have a tendency to intertwine whether you want them to or not, be it on or offline. Adding a separate page for your business on Facebook seems like a good idea, just have to wait and see how this one pans out and it dosen’t hurt that it is all free. J

[I couldn’t really tell you how new this is, probably has been around for awhile, so if you don’t know, here is what you do to create a business page on Facebook: “Create Page” (under the same little arrow that you can sign out on) You then are presented with six options; Local business or place, Company, organization, institution, Brand or product, Artist, Band or Public figure, Entertainment, Cause or community – figure out what you are answer the plethora of questions, set your layout to portray who you are and ‘tadah’ another page to flaunt yourself on! - kind of reminded me of the similar ‘Pages’ as in blogspot where you can separate your main blog with other interests. Maybe that is where Facebook got it from! – although seeing I am new to both, I don’t know who thought it up first]

I guess it is a good thing that I added my business, at least I felt it was more of a productive thing to do than just set up another page of “self indulging” blabber about me – (There is enough of that on googlePlus and the thought of putting so much personal information about myself on Facebook that it wanted me to made me nauseous) My reasoning for going with Facebook in the first place was because most of all the businesses I know are on there (can that many people be wrong?) and after all it is a very popular social gateway. Maybe it is possible to get some new business, that would certainly help me with my new venture of dabbling into the world of writing – like pay the bills! 

Flipping over to the bad side of things - It took me most of the morning to answer the endless amounts of who I was and what I like, and then it force fed me things it thought I might be interested in and just before it nudged me into signing up to ‘like’ pretty much everything in the universe it wanted me to contact everyone in my address book and announce that I had arrived and to ‘friend’ me. Suffice to say I didn’t give it too much personal information, (I will probably never really trust the Internet no matter what site I am on, says the girl who spends vast amounts of time on it) and I felt that it would be just rude if I blasted all my contacts in my address book. (Maybe it is just me, but it felt like I would be sending spam mail – I can’t tell you how many times I just deleted the invitations to FB from people over the years who had me in their address book, (just to be clear, because I didn’t want to join FB at the time – not because they sent me the invite) so I couldn’t bring myself to do it) I know, that is the whole point… J 

  Next I turned to Linkedin – this is definitely all business. It dosen’t have all the fluff that Facebook has. It makes you feel more like you need to put on your ‘suit’ when you log on rather than staying in your ‘PJ’s’. It just felt more like the serious side (Then again, I have never taken myself too seriously, am I ready for this…) – at least that is how I perceived it to be. The good thing is that the groups and interests I joined here actually seem to serve a legitimate function to provide me with specific information within my industry and gave me a more interactive roll, besides just “liking” something or at least I think so.  If you are about networking more than socializing I would suggest Linkedin as the more appropriate avenue to distribute yourself from a business point.  It did give me a more sense of “false” security that my information would be safe – but who am I kidding…The bad thing is they want you to upgrade (which of course means pay for it) They suggest that it opens up so many more opportunities if you pay them… (For who, them or you?) I guess I will be loosing some of those opportunities for now… 

Then I turned to Twitter. I figure that it would tie in nicely with Sandy Bird (tweet – bird, get it… - kind of felt like a natural progression from the nest J) It too wanted my address book and wanted me to follow the millions of other tweeters of the world. There was less layout / design options so that saved me a lot of time configuring my twitter. I allowed it to commandeer my address book, but I was selective of who I sent my announcement to. I did my first tweet about my blog and by 2 pm I had 15 following and 2 followers - Is that good??  LOL – (Followers: The people who watch YOU | Following: The people YOU are watching – all sounds very voyeuristic huh - It made me choose that many, honest!)

Seeing this is foreign territory for me I thought I better read up on what Twitter is about and found that there is a Etiquette to Tweeting - Actually it is very reminiscent of how you would (or should) conduct yourself in the ‘real’ world… The posts here are very short sentences of 140 characters or less – it makes you really focus on what is the best way to convey your message, which is a good thing, however on a bad note, some of the short posts completely got me stumped – it reminded me of my ‘chat’ days way back when… great, one more “language” to figure out. I think I am going to like Twitter the best out of all of the social media I joined, at least that is how I feel now (it could change…)

I then proceeded to spend the entire day familiarizing myself with Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter – Making my Facebook look pretty by adding a ‘cover’ adding a few pictures just to give it that lived in feeling, however I never did send it to anyone in my address book - lol  I at least put the ‘like buttons’ on my websites and now I can wait to see if anyone ‘likes’ me back. Then I joined two groups that interested me in Linkedin – I even put my “two cents” in on one of the postings. I did send out a few emails to “connect” with others that were in my address book, and amazingly they added me.

Geesh, remembering all this terminology is like taking up another language…. html was easier to learn…

So as another day slipped by, I browsed through the many links, pictures and posts from all the social media sites that I just joined and I came to the conclusion that some things were just outright bizarre. I can’t even begin to explain some of the stuff I seen posted, so I won’t. Besides, that could be a whole other story to tell another time. J  

Who would of thought that this whole area of the Internet produced so much, well to put it nicely, clutter. A person could get lost in there!

I know, I guess I too am adding to the clutter now J (One person’s garbage is another person’s treasure…) I guess you just have to sift through it and sort what is more important. You type in your keyword and then you have to decide from the millions of links that appear in front of you which is really relevant. (Sometimes a frustrating and long process, especially if you don’t figure out the right keyword to use…)

Facebook, perplexed me the most. I suppose I am just not that into it. Try as I might, it still has that same stigma for me that I felt when it first came on the scene back in 2004. I just don’t have that “needing to belong” feeling that bad. Now I understand why it had bombarded me with all the questions of who my favourite artist is, what books I like, TV shows, sports and on and on it went. I am not a music, celebrity or movie and TV fanatic where I need the latest info about it on a daily basis. Maybe the more I explore it I will find useful information instead of ‘Entertainment Tonight’ Oh sure I love music, but I don’t need to know the activities of the band I like – I just like some of their songs and I never got into worshiping celebrities and never had the urge to follow their every move. I love watching movies too, but again, I don’t need to see ads plastered all over my computer screen – I have TV for that. To be fair to Facebook I will give it a chance though, and I guess I would also need to get some friends on Facebook in order to gain the “in touch” experience using it, or so it keeps telling me. - (hmmm, that could be difficult, I don’t have any LOL)   I am still skeptical about this one…

Linkedin, well what can I say, it is business. I put my suit on and go to work…. Takes a bit of the fun out of it, but we all need to earn a living sometime J

Twitter takes some getting used to, I have to admit, I really didn’t get some of the tweets - Is it just me? I know I can be ‘thick’ at times but some of it just makes no sense to me at all, where do the conversations start and end! I have never felt so “out of touch” as I do now. On a positive note, as I am writing this I just got another follower! Woohoo! I am a somebody! I guess I feel all important now that I have finally been noticed – Twitter gave me that “instant gratification” as compared to the other social media sites I joined. I finally have reached the being “Followed” status here! Hmm, do I need to get a cell phone now?

All in all, it was a pretty painless experience, as long as you have plenty of spare time to do it! however I did get a headache from staring at my computer screen all those hours...  But I am not so sure about the upkeep, now I need to find more time in my already 14 hour day to post to my Blog, then head over to Google+ to post a tidbid of my latest image or thought, then onto Facebook to see what is going on there (see if I got friended) , then over and do a Tweet or two and read the tweets that I have chose to follow, then a check in with Linkedin to read more and then before you know it the day is gone…I think I might need to quit my day job now!

Would I say I wasted my time? Well, I suppose if it produces even a little bit of interest then it was worth it – if nothing happens, well I have wasted my time on worse things…

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