Following an interesting series of blog posts on how people like political bloggers Malcolm Farnsworth, Kim (Kimbo) Rampling and Dragonista use Twitter, I thought it would be a good idea for me to blog about my own experiences given that I use social media in both a semi-professional and personal manner.
I have 2 main accounts, my personal account (@iDarryl) and my political idiotcy account (@FakePaulKeating).
I would say with my personal account, I made an early mistake of following everyone who follows me. I quickly found that I lost information and content I wanted to follow because of the sheer mass of tweets. If I was to suggest 1 thing, is be ruthless in your following list. Focus your following onto core topics or people you want. You can expand later, but in the short to medium term, the value of tweets is that many are of real time value, and the larger the following list, the easier for this value to be hidden by the the signal to noise ratio (where important signals get overwhelm by the background noise).
Secondly, your value to others as a membor of Twitter is important. If you see an interesting comment or article on the web, and you want me to see it, I would love to see your view or opinion as part of the post. This to me is the best thing about Twitter. By adding opinion, you are allowing people to use your reputation as part of their filter. I am more likely to read an article when someone says “I don’t totally agree with this” than someone blindly retweeting or saying “this is great!”. This is a great way of getting a Twitter “brand”. It is easy to blindly retweet. It takes effort to editorialise or offer opinion, and the rewards on Twitter is higher.
I do use Twitter to promote my content. However, I do not have a way to see if this is useful. The only visible feedback you get is replies and retweets. Something like Thinkup by Gina Trapani may be useful, but I do not want to set up a server on either my computer or using Amazon EC2 cloud server.
In my @fakepaulkeating persona, I only follow political commentators, reporters, pollies and political wonks (political fanboys if you will). However, this account is part performance art, part honouring a person I admire, partly commentary on the current and past political scene, and part one long fart joke. Often let down with poor spell checking, I still use it seriously if I find interesting political or economic articles online. However, you have to be careful with an account like this, as it is easy to get bogged down in flame wars.
As I have a tight range of following here, I find the content is quite good, and the ability to discover new information is a lot better here than on my personal account. And I do add some non wonks like @amandapalmer, @rosemcgowan and @ditavonteese to add some colour to the content.
Sidenote: Flamewars. If you get in an argument with someone on Twitter or any social medium, look at the language used. If the person is using humour (even if you can not see it at the time) or coherant phrases, these people may still be worth following. I have noticed that the stupider the reply is, the more likely the person will keep on flaming you. If you like wacking stupid people with a stick, you will find that the stupider they are, the more your effort is wasted. Just ban them, it is not worth the effort to make them look stupid to the rest of the world, they are too stupid to realise this.
In terms of following people, there a lot of suprises. Like finding Laurie Oakes and Samantha Maiden have wicked sense of humour, and Latika Bourke is one of the most active people in the Canberra press gallery. Watching the ALP and Liberal party leadership spills in 2009 was part riveting and part low brow comedy, and shows how if you control the info stream, you can maximise the rewards.
I hate Facebook. I find that the screen is cluttered with stuff that has the sole aim of drawing your attention away from the content you want. It is still the best platform for people who hate or are uncomfortable with computers, so you will need to at least have an account.
However, if you have content, the advertising and statistic tools available in FB is second to none. As an experiment, We at iTechreport bought a short cheap ad campaign, and the results where worthwhile. So if you are a content creator, not just a consumer, FB may be the best platform for you to improve your visibility on the internet.
For my personal account, I just use FriendFeed to feed my social media feeds into Facebook, but FF may not be around much longer. There are other aggrigators out there, and Twitter / Facebook integration has improved since I use FF for the aggregation function. That topic however is another article
3. Google Plus
I find Google Plus to be my version of Facebook. I prefer it to FB as it has strong tools to allow you to focus on either small group (or groups) or the wider user base. With inbuilt video conferencing and great photo tools, it scratches my itch as a platform. I am more likely to promote my content here, and I found that being a Google fanboy means that there is a lot of Googlers on the platform.
4. Current usage
I find for professional use, I use Google Plus, and for fun I use my @fakepaulkeating account on Twitter. I would love for Fake Paul to be on Google Plus, but the real name policy (similar to what is on Facebook) prevent this part of my life migrating. Tools like Seesmic and Tweetdeck are invaluable, as I can set them up to follow both FB and Twitter and have multiple accounts on Twitter as well. Currently I use Seesmic on Android (both Tablet and phone) and Tweetdeck on Mac OS X and Windows 7. In terms of tools, there is a plethora online and locally stored, it really comes down to personal likes and dislikes.
I hope this adds something to the current discussion on how people use Social Media. Feel free to heap abuse onto @fakepaulkeating, or contact me on FB (Darryl Adams) G+(+Darryl Adams) or Twitter (@iDarryl).