Hootsuite and Tweetdeck — September 6, 2013

Hootsuite and Tweetdeck

I love Twitter. But I must admit I find their site a bit cumbersome to use. For starters, I don’t like that I don’t get to see retweets and favorites. (If this confuses you, see my Twitter Basics for Writers series, linked in the sidebar.)

For another thing, if I want to keep updated on a particular conversation or set of people, there’s a lot of navigation to go through to get to there. And then when I’m there, I miss my full timeline.

Direct messages are not user-friendly on Twitter’s website.

For a long time, I used the twitter app on my tablet but then it updated and there were some awful changes to the UI and I couldn’t stand to use it. It was then that I switched to Hootsuite and I really haven’t looked back. I love Hootsuite for my phone (now I’ve upgraded to a smart phone) and my tablet.

But for my computer, I still use Tweetdeck. I have for ages now and I don’t particularly like Hootsuite’s desktop/laptop UI.

First, let’s talk Tweetdeck.

I like that Tweetdeck is customizable as far as choosing columns. You can choose various columns, including specific lists you create, and you can choose how you’re notified of new tweets in that column. You can customize what is shown in that column and you can mute people or content.

I like the interface on Tweetdeck. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Simple keyboard commands minimize the amount of mouse work necessary to it.

Now, Hootsuite is nice because it allows you to add various social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) and view updates from those in a single dash. I like that compared to Twitter’s website, new updates (if you’re using it on a laptop or desktop) show up automatically and you can set the refresh rate yourself.

That said, I don’t like it because it’s in a browser window. Tweetdeck on my laptop is a separate application that runs independently of my browser. Which means I am never at risk of accidentally closing it when I don’t intend to.

Tweetdeck has another distinct advantage over Hootsuite, in my opinion. That is the column for mentions and other interactions people might have with something you post on Twitter. In Tweetdeck, the column is labeled “Interactions.” In this column, any time someone mentions you in a tweet, favorites one of your tweets, or retweets one of your tweets, it shows up. All three interactions in one single column. In Hootsuite, you can set up a column for mentions and a column for tweets of yours that have been retweeted. But nothing to show you when one of your tweets has been favorited by someone else.

And that is one thing which makes Tweetdeck feel far less cluttered than Hootsuite.

However, I do like Hootsuite’s clean interface on both tablet and smart phone. Though I haven’t tried Tweetdeck for mobile devices so perhaps I would like it better if I did.

Do you have a preference?

If you have a question you’re dying to ask me, something you want me to address here on my site, or an interview or other similar request, send it to info(at)stephanie-mcgee(dot)com 

General email can be sent to stephanie(at)stephanie-mcgee(dot)com

When Social Media Bleed Together — September 2, 2013

When Social Media Bleed Together

Odd title for a post? Perhaps a bit. Let me explain what it means.

There are so many social media sites out there. Some are more powerful than others. Some are more nebulous as to their purpose and advantage than others. (I’m looking at you Instagram and Flickr and all those other similar sites.)

There are several heavy-hitters in the social media world:

Facebook
Twitter
Tumblr
Pinterest

Of course we can add Blogger and WordPress into that list. (I also find it interesting that Blogger’s spell checker has Tumblr as approved spelling but has yet to add Pinterest to its dictionary as acceptable.)

Of those four, I am on two– Pinterest and Twitter.

I love both equally. I’ve whiled away many an hour on Pinterest, repinning to my heart’s content as I explore the Geek board (along with Women’s Fashion, History, Food & Drink, and sometimes Humor).

I have many boards. I used to have four more than I currently do. I’d titled these boards very specifically to my interests. BBC Ruins Me (for Sherlock and other BBC programs), Fantastic Bananas (for Doctor Who), Nerd-dom (for all things geeky which didn’t fit those boards), and eventually I added Legends of Hyrule (for Legend of Zelda, obviously).

Why did I delete them?

Because they no longer fit the defining characteristic of Pinterest. I mean, isn’t the point of Pinterest that you’re visually bookmarking things to reference again later? You pin recipes with the intention of someday making them. Clothes to be able to reference them again and perhaps purchase or find a similar garment for purchasing. Historical fashion and photos can be pinned to reference later in writing research.

But the geeky stuff?

I found my Pinterest was quickly becoming a Tumblr fangirl wannabe. Most everything I ever pinned onto those four board was from Tumblr. I still don’t quite get what Tumblr’s unique purpose and contribution might be to a future writing platform. And I’m still determined to keep Pinterest largely not about a writer’s platform. But I did find that my Pinterest was becoming too much like all the fangirl accounts on Tumblr.

So I deleted them. And have determined to keep a clearer focus on the reason Pinterest was created as I move forward in my use of the website. This is the same goal I have with any of my other social media. Twitter is one giant chat room. One in which, admittedly, I get lost more often than not. Thus far, however, I have yet to see Pinterest and Twitter bleed into one another.

I think the bleeding is more likely to happen between Pinterest and Tumblr and between Facebook and Twitter. Though I do have plans for a Tumblr should I someday be blessed enough to have Heirs of the Seven Realms and all its sister books published. (Assuming Tumblr is still popular then.)

Meanwhile, don’t mind the tremors in my hands as I go through pinning withdrawals. (I kid, I kid.)

Retaking My Social Media — April 5, 2013

Retaking My Social Media

I’m taking back my social media as of today. This blog will still talk about writing, but I reserve the right to blog about whatever I like. I was going to put a caveat on that, but I don’t think I will.

You see, I’m not published yet. I don’t have an agent. I don’t need a blog to be all about writerly stuff. I should be able to blog about the nerdy things that appeal to me. So you might start seeing nerdy theorizing or rambling on here from time to time. I’ll definitely start talking about books more. (I full intend to start reading on pre-writing levels again one of these days. Soon as I get over my aversion to library books.)

So, start expecting to see stuff from me that doesn’t directly (if at all) relate to writing. This blog is titled Chronicles of a Novice Writer. I set out for this blog to be about my writing journey. That includes all the non-writing stuff that inspires me, takes my time when I go on writing hiatus, and about the stuff that does inspire my writing. Because, as is the case with Heirs of the Seven Realms, that non-writing stuff can shape the current and future course of my writing.

Social Media, the Internet, and the Writer — March 8, 2012

Social Media, the Internet, and the Writer

Pinterest.  Google+.  Facebook.  Klout.  Twitter.  Tumblr.  WordPress.  Blogger.  YouTube.

Sigh.

I’m sure I’m not even scratching the surface here on this topic.  But lately it seems everyone is talking about social media and the internet and such.  And, frankly, it’s overwhelming.  There’s a new semi-coherent or semi-logical social network every month it seems.  I don’t have much to contribute to the conversation, but I do have something to say.

To be honest, it’s ridiculous.  It can sometimes start to feel as though you’re expected to be on every single social network and internet phenomenon out there to try to connect with readers.  Connecting with readers and potential readers is a valid and valuable thing.  But we have to be smart about it.

I dropped Facebook months ago over concerns about privacy.  No matter what I did, it seemed, I couldn’t prevent random strangers from seeing things I’d posted simply because someone liked a photo, a post, or commented on something in my Facebook feed.  I unsubscribed to everything but my friends’ unique status updates and one other thing, ignoring games and apps and all the noise.  And still I saw photos of random strangers’ families because my friends had liked or commented on those.

Google+, well, I had an account and then something strange happened.  I never visited.  Ever.  Well, hardly ever.  This may have been a symptom of being in it during early stages of adoption, but it wasn’t part of my usual awareness.  I also got tired of people I didn’t know being able to add me to their circles and see the things I posted.  The privacy and security issue seemed worse there than on Facebook.  Perhaps it’s just Google’s grabby hands over all of our internet activity.

Here on Blogger, I’ve really painted myself into a corner by focusing this blog on writing-related topics.  I’m feeling a bit of blogger fatigue as a result, I think.  (Hence the reason I have been very spotty in my blogging of late.)  I think a blog can be valuable, but I definitely would have done things differently with this blog if I’d known better when I started.  I’ve gained invaluable friendships through my blog that I wouldn’t trade for the world.  But I definitely feel trapped in a corner surrounded by wet paint.

YouTube I’ve never understood and rarely used.  In fact, all the videos I posted have been pulled.  Klout?  Um, someone explain that to me?  Is it really even a social network?  WordPress is just another blogging platform, right?

Twitter.  Ah, Twitter.  See, Twitter is one I actually enjoy.  I talk about writing stuff, but I also talk about basically anything and everything there.  I feel like I’m freer on Twitter than I can be on my blog or other places.  I like Twitter.  What I like best about Twitter is I can run it in the background while I focus on other things.  It really only takes 10 seconds of attention at a time to be effective, I think.  And that works great for me.

Recently I started a Tumblr blog.  And I quite like it.  Over there, I’ve given myself the freedom to post anything that sparks my imagination.  Which gives me quite a lot of freedom, if you think about it.  The only downside to Tumblr is finding people to follow.  I still haven’t figured out the nuances of the site and of finding people to follow over there.

And then there’s Pinterest.  For me, I’m using it as a giant organization tool.  I collect recipes, things that I find pretty, things that warm my little nerd heart, and all sorts of interests.  What’s nice is that on Pinterest you can organize everything in vastly different ways.  I have a board there for photos inspired by and which inspire my current WiP and the trilogy it’s part of, which is the extent of my writerly use of Pinterest.  Over there, while it can be a good way of marketing if you’re already published or you’re an agent/editor/publishing house wanting to share what you represent or enjoy, it feels more like a giant conversation.

I’ve had to pick and choose because it has gotten to be too much.  The pressure to be everywhere all the time is overwhelming.  The pressure to come up with original, new, fresh content after years of doing what I’ve been doing is too much to bear sometimes.  Especially on outlets where I’ve clearly laid out what the focus of my contribution there should be.  I have run out of things to say, be they clever or otherwise.  (I’m rarely clever, I fear.)  Some days I just want to scream, pull the covers over my head, and pray the internet dies a speedy death in some regards.

What about you?  Do you love how many social networks and such there are?  Do you thrive on the thrill of joining every one and try to be the expert user of them all?  Or are you like me and run screaming at the introduction of a new internet tool/social network?

Also, self-promote away in the comments.  Link to your own social network profiles: your FB page, your Twitter profile, your Tumblr/Blogger/WordPress blogs, your Pinterest and YouTube accounts.

And someone please explain the purpose and utility of Klout to me.