The Value of Social Media (for Me)

I’ve experimented with various social media over the last eighteen months. By nature I am not a social person. I like my alone time. Figuring out how to use the right social media, and what value it has for me, has been a lengthy exploration. There’s a lot of advice offered on this topic and I have no helpful suggestions about who to follow, what to try, or if any of it matters. Mostly, I’ve figured out what I can tolerate. There’s value in knowing limits. I don’t believe the hours of my day should be squandered on meaningless effort.

Twitter is an information-sharing bonanza. Should I find myself in the mood to read something witty, there’s an endless smorgasboard of links flitting through my feed. Because I’m not a chatty person, I send Tweets out into the tweet-o-sphere and like dust motes, they float around getting caught in the gust of wind generated by the passing mob.

Well-known to Twitterites is Triberr, the volumizing and atomic-sharing engine of friends-spamming-friends with tweet announcements. I actually like Triberr but in my experience it mostly generates a white buzz of background noise that folks simply ignore. I know I do. Hundreds of twittery notes spin through my daily pipeline and I ignore every last one of them. I’ve also learned that few tribemates participate, or they do so in such a selective manner, promoting only the rare post of others that they might as well not bother. With a potential reach of two hundred thousand in my audience, I’ve seen zero impact on my website, but it’s fun to say almost a quarter million people might see my blogpost, so I keep playing the game.

Facebook is the platform especially designed for stalkers. The perfect place to hang out with friends, track family escapades, spy on colleagues, and re-connect with all those folks from high school that you avoided keeping in touch with since graduation, er…? Yeah. I love the fun of Facebook. The posting and sharing of entertaining pictures, memes, and jokes is like a big giant water cooler around which we can all gather. I dislike when people use Facebook to promote their political positions, proselytize their religious beliefs, or bombard me with pleas to buy their book or their kid’s Girl Scout cookies. There’s a downside to everything, right?

Blogs are the best, and the worst offenders, in my opinion. I’ve followed hundreds of blogs, many of which shutter and go dark within months of birth. Abandoned and burned out, these forgotten sites linger in the twilight of the internet, waiting to be rediscovered and revived. I’ve read awesome blogs with wonderful content and some that just fill up the emptiness with chatter (those can also be fun, no harsh indictments here). I’ve tried various schedules for blogging and have realized I’m a more seasonal kind of social media participant.

As the months have passed and I watch the stats on my blog, I realize there are certain posts which bring a constant stream of visitors even months after publication. This confirms my suspicion that the content I write is interesting primarily to people researching niche topics. As a result, I’m embracing slow blogging and converting my energy into other areas of writing – which means one post a week from me.

Have you discovered the right combination of social media avenues for you? What kind of blogging schedule do you follow? How often do you mix things around?

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  1. #1 by finazzo380 on November 8, 2012 - 5:08 am

    Great read! I’m a big fan of Twitter & Facebook also. Easy ways to stay connected. I like the comfort of easy.

    I’ve found much the same thing you have from Triberr. Granted there are days that I mindlessly pass along the latest posts, but I try to take atleast once or twice a week to read through them. Never know what I might be missing out on.

    • #2 by Leslie Berry/ @LesannBerry on November 9, 2012 - 8:09 am

      Thanks for commenting, Mike. I like Triberr because it provides easy access to all the posts in my stream that are from people whose work I enjoy reading, but for me that’s been the primary benefit. The idea is great but I haven’t seen it really work in my case and that may have more to do with what I offer up than anything else. It is easy to pass along in that mindless zombie fashion but I’ve also learned that occasionally someone writes content that I’m just not comfortable representing, even if it is in such an innocuous manner, so now I at least skim all posts. Which eats into writing time, etc. The big vicious circle of social media…

  2. #3 by patriciasands on November 8, 2012 - 6:16 am

    Good analysis. It seems many of us are reaching the same conclusions about the various venues of s/m. I try to post on twitter sporadically, mostly supporting fellow authors and other messages of interest, value or amusement when I spot them. I know I miss a lot! I dumped Triberr quickly!
    I like F/B to see what everyone is doing and hope that some folks find my posts of interest.I don’t post personal stuff.
    My blog brings me the greatest satisfaction … not many comments but between 50 to 200 hits a day so I’m hoping those people are going there because they enjoy it. I really write what I care about and say very little about the writing process (unless I interview an author or reblog something far more important than what I had to say). There are so many people who know so much more about it and I have much to learn from them.
    I try to follow all of our Wana group because of the fellowship and the talented bunch they are. Bottom line though, most important is the time we have to focus on our writing goals … oh yeah, and then there is the real world! Balance …

    • #4 by Leslie Berry/ @LesannBerry on November 9, 2012 - 8:20 am

      I think social media has a lot to offer, it’s just a matter of figuring out which routes work best to get each of us to our destination. I like Twitter in small bursts, especially when there’s a group of people to chat with about a specific event, but otherwise it feels more like an electronic salesboard. One thing I really liked about Triberr when everyone in our group was using it, was the easy access to everyone’s posts. For the folks who didn’t post as often, I never missed a new blog. Now that I’m back to visiting each one independently, I don’t make the rounds as often as I’d like. Election rhetoric really turned me off Facebook this year – I appreciate people have opinions and want to share them but the constant stream of arguing made me avoid the platform altogether. Balance seems hard to achieve and I think the pundit-commentary about how often, how much, and where to post/participate is definitely not a one-size-fits-all prescription. I’ve tried the recommended dosage, now I’m trying the home remedy and we’ll find out which produces better results. 😉

  3. #5 by Angela Dean on November 11, 2012 - 2:32 pm

    I loved this post. It really spoke to me. Like you, I am not a social person. Venturing out into the social media world has definitely been an exploration and learning experience, and I’m still trying to find my blogging “mojo”.

    Speaking of blogs, I was tagged in a blog as a writer’s promo, and now I’m tagging you. It’s a writers’ promo – hope you’re interested in continuing the tag. It was definitely a challenge to venture into the social media world. Thanks for your post, and check out my blog for details of the tag. Thanks!

    • #6 by Leslie Berry/ @LesannBerry on November 12, 2012 - 7:25 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Angela – and taking the time to comment. I think finding the right combination of posts and topics is a really individual thing. We just don’t all have awesome experiences that speak to others but I do believe we all have something to offer – some of us just have smaller audiences. That’s not a bad thing either.

      Thanks for tagging me in this new meme. I’ll drop by for a longer visit and figure out the details. =)

  4. #7 by Martina on March 22, 2013 - 4:41 pm

    Hi Lesann!

    Thanks for such a brief overview of social networking without the “captain obvious” -ness, since we’re all socialites anyway 🙂 I think you’re exactly spot on, social networking is definitely about the exchange of information, and like face to face communication, finding what works for you and what doesn’t, meeting new people and staying connected. I hope you’ll take a quick peak at my site and drop a line. Would love to add you to my web 🙂

    • #8 by Leslie Berry/ @LesannBerry on March 23, 2013 - 6:05 pm

      Hi Martina! Social media is an interesting phenomena. I’ve seen some people burn up the internet using their networking skills, but I don’t think it’s a one-size-fits-all. I like to hear how other people succeed with it though, so I’ll come visiting and see how it’s going in your part of the web. 🙂

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