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.)

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.

Reciprocity and Scaling Back — February 16, 2012

Reciprocity and Scaling Back

This June will mark 3 years since I began blogging regularly.  It’s been a great ride.  Without this blog I would not be where I am today in my writing.  Nor would I have the friends I have.

But, I have to be honest with myself.  I pinned myself into a hole with making this solely about writing and related topics.  And, I’ve been sitting here watching my follower count and comments count falling steadily.

I look at these blogs and see people who have 80 comments in less than 5 minutes within posting.  They have hundreds and even thousands of followers.  Their blogs are wildly popular, the A-list blogs, the ones whose authors every blogger wants to be.

I’ve never been that person, that wildly popular person, the one everyone wanted to be.  Nor was I the one who always wanted to be that person.  Sure there were times, there still are, when I did or do.  It hurts.  You put your heart and soul into each post, trying to come up with topics and posts people will find interesting and relevant, that they’ll relate to.

And then you get 1 comment.  Or none.  It starts to feel as though no amount of commenting on other blogs will drive traffic to yours.  You question the worth and value of it all.  You wonder whether anyone would notice if you just vanished from the internet.  You even try to vanish but you can’t.

Is this right?  Absolutely.  Everything in blogging is reciprocal.  Is it the way it should be?  I don’t believe so.  It’s a process, getting to that point where you’re comfortable in your own skin, where no matter how many or few comments or hits you get, you’re okay.  That it doesn’t impact your feelings of self-worth, feelings that what you have to say is valuable and worth the pixels.

I’m blogging here.  I probably will continue to do so.  But recently I discovered Tumblr.  I love Tumblr.  I don’t feel like there’s the pressure for reciprocity there.  If someone likes or reblogs one of your posts, great.  But there’s no expectation for the back and forth.  Maybe I’m wrong in that and I’ll see it the longer I’m there.  But for now, there is so much less pressure.  I don’t have to think about whether the posts will speak to someone, whether it will spark something in someone, etcetera.

I love Tumblr.  I ❤ it.  I don't so much feel that way about Blogger and this blog.  So I'm not sure what's going to happen with this blog.