I’m mostly writing this entry for my own benefit. So I can pin down my thoughts on how I use social media right now and can track how that changes in the future. Just thought it might be helpful to see how the inside of my brain works on this topic for some people. If it isn’t, no worries. There is no right way to do such things.
Social media is most important to me for connecting and communicating with people. I live pretty far off the beaten path and only really see friends and colleagues every few months. However, I talk to them online almost every day and that’s drastically important to me personally and professionally. I use Twitter almost exclusively supplemented with blog entries here and leaving the occasional blog comment. I have a Goodreads and Amazon Author page but I’m still learning how I want to use them. I really should get around to adding books I’ve read on Goodreads for example rather than just the default # the sign up required of me (which were NOT books I would have picked).
Tumblr eludes me as a social media program. The way it threads conversations and attributes posts absolutely breaks my brain. I like that it is a public platform (you can see posts if you don’t have an account) and do read posts that people link elsewhere, and I think it is amazing for visual posts, but I haven’t felt the need to adopt it myself. Maybe I will in the future. Maybe I won’t. Don’t have an opinion either way, just haven’t done it.
I don’t use Facebook because I really dislike the User Interface, and have some concerns with privacy issues. I do have a Facebook account simply so that family and long-lost friends have a way to contact me if they don’t currently have email for me. I don’t keep my Facebook account logged in due to privacy concerns and I don’t remember the password because of this, so when I DO need to log into it I have to reset the password which makes it rather annoying to use. If people use a facebook link to an image or post that requires you to be logged in to see, I simply do not see it. It isn’t personal, It just would take me 15 min of dinking around to see it, and I’m pretty sure the picture isn’t THAT cute or if the information is really important there will be another source to look at for it. I totally get why other people love it. It just isn’t for me.
I like Twitter. It allows me to read and have public conversations about everything. I can jot down little funny thoughts and share my day to day in a way that’s conducive to conversation. Twitter is my main form of social engagement. I was a teenager in the era of local Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) so it feels very natural to connect to people in this way. Here’s some of the “rules” I keep in mind for myself when I use Twitter.
Minerva’s Rules for Minerva (& no one else) on Twitter
- Only follow and interact with real people being people or link aggregators that are consistently interesting. If a stream is nothing but promotion you’re basically subscribing to a constant commercial and that’s lame.
- Life is too short to follow people or publications that constantly bring you down or make you feel terrible. Do not apologize for taking care of your own well-being.
- You do not have an obligation to read every tweet on your feed. If you fall behind and declare Twitter Bankruptcy, it’s fine. If you only check in on the stream every so often and never “catch up” that’s fine too.
- If in doubt about tweeting about something– don’t.
- Do not endanger your own safety or the safety of others through anything you tweet.
- Turn off “unfollow” notifications. No point in worrying about it. Be yourself and let others do as they wish.
- Do not expect reciprocity or deal with those who expect reciprocity on follows/retweets etc. Treat Twitter as a party where people wander from conversation to conversation and everyone is free to engage or not, as they wish.
- Typos happen. Don’t beat yourself up or anyone else over them.
- Treat swearing the way you do at work. Generally avoidable but occasionally appropriate (more in personal conversations than directly to public). ((I swear about 200% more in person than I do on Twitter, and do not avoid it in my fiction))
- Use your small platform to boost people you like up, not tear down those you dislike.
- Try to be kind.
- They’re your rules (you can break them if you need to) only you enforce them.
How do you use social media? Do you have any rules for yourself?