Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Posts tagged “social media

Social Media for the Common Man – So, you’ve joined a social network

I was going to title this post “Don’t Be and Asshat”, but decided to be a little more upbeat with it. If you’re looking for something on not being an asshat on your social media platforms, especially if you’re a writer, I send you here. Chuck Wendig’s a little in your face, but he makes valid points and he makes them well.

So, you’ve joined a social network.https://i1.wp.com/www.yourcomputer.com/portals/0/images/QuestionKey.jpg

What do you put on there?

Well, here’s the good thing and the bad thing:

It’s really up to you.

Here are some things to get your posting started:

1. Find people who share your interests.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Social media is all about being social. You’re making connections and building relationships. You aren’t standing on a soapbox with a loudspeaker; you’re in the party working the crowd. First, you’re going to need to find some people who share your interests. And, don’t give me that crap about not knowing what your interests are. What are you looking for from people on Twitter? Book recommendations? Movie reviews? Humorous anecdotes about deep sea fishing?

There is someone out there broadcasting just that kind of information. Start following them, add them to your feed, read their blog.

2. Decide who you want to be.

This is a strange, philosophical order, but you need to pick your online persona. Not even I can be everything all the time. The most important thing is for you to be you. Being yourself in 140 characters in a daunting thought, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. It’s okay to hesitate over a post. It’s okay to hit the delete button. It’s okay to leave something in the draft box. You can take some time to decide which parts of your personality shine through on the web. Sarcasm…not always understood. Irony…not always apparent. Remember that on Twitter and your blog, most of what you post will be viewable by the public. If you’re comfortable hanging your crusty underwear out there, go for it.

Personally, I wouldn’t want too much of my life on the web, but I did post pictures of my room on my blog. I’m comfortable sharing that.

Streaming video of me sleeping? Not really me.

3. Find the line between engaging and stalking and DON’T CROSS IT.

There are celebrities on Twitter. But, guys, they’re on Twitter. They came to the party. They can’t have the expectation that people aren’t going to try to talk to them. And, if you’re interested in them or their work, I would encourage you to follow them. On the flip side, be aware that everyone wants to talk to them. Did you tweet an alarmingly clever reply to something Lady GaGa said? Don’t be offended if she doesn’t answer. People are responding all the time. On the other hand, you don’t want to be that creepy nutbag who replies, @LadyGaga LOL!!! after everything she posts. While that won’t necessarily get you negative attention, it certainly won’t stick out when you say something charming and witty and worthy of response.

Choose your responses and choose them wisely. You don’t know how someone will react to your (sorta)unsolicited attention. Don’t say, “@joshgroban I want to wear your face.”Something like, “@joshgroban I enjoy your music” is a little less creepy. For smaller-time celebrities, just be aware that the first time might surprise them. When someone you don’t know starts talking to you by referencing something you just said, it’s surprising, but we humans are getting more used to it.

4. When in doubt, Golden Rule it

Imagine you had the worst week in the world and you tweet, “Just had a really bad week.” What kind of response are you looking for?

You don’t have to be looking for a response. You can simply be mentioning your bad day because it helps you relax. But, suppose someone sees it and responds with “@your_name LOL!! I haz a bad week, 2!!1!!!” That probably doesn’t make you feel any better. That person is being an asshat. DON’T BE AN ASSHAT!

It’s not that hard. Put yourself in someone else’s position. That’s actually a primary evolutionary trait we’ve acquired to deal with the need to socialize. How would you want someone to respond? You can add a personal touch and begin to work up a rapport, but just be aware of your own feelings to help guide you in your responses. You won’t always be correct; different people have different thresholds. It’s about relationships. Those don’t always start off with a bang.

Social media can be really fun. Don’t let anything deter you from trying it out. If you aren’t having a good time, stop doing it. I won’t judge you for it.

Remember, finding your voice takes time. Connecting with people takes time. Social media isn’t magic.

I will bring you some more content creation tips in…three days? I promise three days.

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Notes on Social Media or I’m not from the government but I’ll help anyway

As you would have known from my previous post, I am true neutral.

But, in honor of my favorite Avenger, Agent Phillip Coulson, I am going to offer you some help in an attempt to put some rampant Internet rumors to rest.

There is no need to fear social media.

What are my qualifications?

Well, I’ll start with my baffling Klout score. I have kept my Klout score above 40 fairly consistently since I joined about a year ago. Is this because I want free stuff? No. Well, a little. But, really, a big part of maintaining my Klout score is by not actively attempting to maintain it. If you don’t know what Klout is, it’s an analytical tool (that is not perfect) that can be used to understand how influential you are and what you are influential about on several different social media sites.

I am the producer for Everything Internet Radio, a show dedicated to bringing small business owners and entrepreneurs everything they need to know about keeping their business uploaded and updated. We have a podcast, too, if that’s of interest. Anyway, I have to keep my finger on the pulse of not only the Internet, but the social media realm. We have two guests per show and at least one social media/marketing firm represented per show. I’ve been listening.

I was the Social Media Manager for the DFW Writers’ Conference, running their Twitter and Facebook accounts. A volunteer position that I could regrettably only give a few hours a week to.

Lastly, I’m under 30.

Still not convinced I’m qualified to give you advice on social media?

Thanks for listening. I’ll see you next week when I post about something else. For those of you who care to stick around, here it goes.

A few things on social media.

1. Stop calling it your “platform”, “fan base”, etc…

What are you selling? Is it yourself? Because that reminds me of a different profession that has little to do with social media. When I stepped into my role with @DFWCon, they were working off bad advice. They had downloaded a program that automatically followed people with a particular hashtag, with the hope that these people would follow back out of some sort of honor based system of “Followback”. They had the same tweet going out once a day, just so there would be activity on the feed. I felt as though I were some captain coming out of hypersleep to find my spaceship drifting lazily through the void with a dull-witted automatic pilot, slipping my hands into the steering yoke to set everything back on course.

Why was this the wrong approach? Sheer numbers is not what social media is about. Social media is about building relationships. It’s about communication. What needed to change? We shouldn’t have targeted people in general, we should have tried to reach people interested in attending our conference. How? By interacting with our guest agents. James Rollins, our keynote speaker, was interacting with us on Twitter, talking about how he was excited to attend the conference.

Guess who follows James Rollins? People who like James Rollins.

Guess who should be attending our conference? People who want to hear James Rollins give a class/keynote address.

Is there going to be overlap?

Yes. A lot of it.

2. Patience.

Do you know how, in real life, when you meet someone, it takes time to build a rapport with that person? The same is true of social media. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’re not going to start reaching everyone immediately, even if you want to. You know what also takes time? Learning the rules and shortcuts of the social network you’re using. Where does that @reply belong if you want everyone to see it? Not at the beginning of your tweet. When should I #hashtag? Depends. I like to do it when I’m being #ironic. What happens when I type the @ symbol in my Facebook status update? Well, try it and see. #evilgrin

My point is: Don’t get flustered. Look at it as a bright and shiny new tool, a new iPad, say. Here is this thing with potential. How you make it work for you is up to you. Relax. If there’s something you don’t understand, ask your followers. If that doesn’t work, or you have too few followers to get an answer, type your question into Google.

I could go on with tons of hints, but I’m going to stop after this next one. If you want to hear (read) more, let me know in the comments. Or not. I might do another one of these if I get frustrated at the fear-mongering again.

3. If you don’t want to do it, don’t.

Not sure if you want to blog? Try it out. Don’t expect a lot of comments. If you don’t like it, go ahead and delete the blog. No one’s going to get mad at you. No one’s going to call you a failure. It’s not that big of a deal. Remember that age-old joke, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” Stop doing it.

Anyone who tells you that you “have to” do something is lying to you. If you don’t get any enjoyment out of tweeting or reading other people’s tweets, you can get off Twitter. Those people who say, “You’re not on Facebook? What’s wrong with you?”…there actually might be something wrong with them. I’m not against trying new things. Many things deserve to be tried. But, if you feel very reluctant about doing something online, don’t. We’re all friends here. We don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.

Don’t confuse the addicts with people who think you’re funny, sincere, genuine. Sometimes, people want to hear what you have to say and when they ask, “Are you on Twitter?” be honest. They’ll understand. Maybe not right away, but point them toward this post.

Social media is not something to be feared.

It’s something that promotes communication and relationships. It helps people stay in touch. It celebrates the human condition.

Enjoy it.


We have entered the timeline

I’ve started a new job. For those of you at home keeping score, that’s three I am currently working. Every Monday is about a 16 hour day (10am-2am), as I have a conference call for job #1, web maintenance for job #1, social media updating for job #1, organizational compilation for job #3, coffee slinging for job #2, and continued research for job #3.

Did I mention I have a hard time sleeping? I figure I might as well be doing something.

Anyway, to prove to boss #3 that blogging is not nearly as hard as most people like to pretend it is, I’ve decided to make another push on my blog and keep it updated. No more hypocrisy!

As research for job #3, I’ve been reading people’s blogs. This is usually limited to the people I know. I’ve started to notice a weird trend that is a little bit haunting.

I can see the moment I entered their life.

But, that’s not all.

I can see when I started having an influence on them. I can see when our conversations went from meandering coffee talk to brain worm. I can see where inside joke shifted to social media moment. I can see the moment I went from “that quiet girl” to “she’s super smrat”.

Facebook introduced the Friendship Pages back in 2010 where you could track your interactions with all your friends. I remember when I made friends before Facebook. It was a dark and fuzzy time, much like Kansas before Oz, but I digress. Some people have challenged the Friendship Page as another level of stalking, and yes, I suppose, if one is chaotic evil, that might be something they would employ, but is there something to be gained by pulling up the (Internet) history of every friendship? Can we measure the impact we have on people?

It’s scary. Can a blog post from four years ago incite an emotional reaction, even retroactively? Are we putting too much of ourselves online?

Go with me on this one: there’s a robot uprising.

While the whole world was confusing Cleverbot into becoming the lowest common denominator on the intelligence scale, the great robot overlord is out there compiling data (in this scenario, I might actually be the robot overlord). We tell Pandora what kind of music we like; we tell Amazon what books we like; Pinterest is the best way to discover someone’s true interests. Before you take this the wrong way, I’m not saying we should abandon sharing and the Interwebz before the robots begin the uprising by distracting us with cat videos. I’m more interested in the idea of social evolution.

Based on what people post on social media sites, I have the ability to know someone on a level that sometimes only a therapist will see. I can watch a lifetime unfold in a series of once a month book reviews. For someone who spends time deep in the philosophical mire of modern day society, I can’t help but wonder: as we make more of ourselves available to other people, do we become more selfish?

I admit I started this blog with the hope that my friends and family would have the opportunity to stay up to date with my wanderings and musings. After college, when you can’t just head down the hall to Heidi’s room or walk over to Banana Bread Cottage, there’s a sudden void that you want to fill. So, I started this blog with the cynical and acidic tone that my friends would be familiar with. Then, as I tried to pursue my writing career, I was told that I needed to write a blog that agents and editors would find appealing. That approach didn’t really work for me. I went back to the friends and family meanderings. Then, I get a comment from someone I don’t know.

I was shocked.

I mean, not that I’ve ever written anything that I wouldn’t want other people reading (that stuff ends up in the draft box). It started to change me. Suddenly, I was hyperaware of everything I put on the Internet. Who was my Internet self? Do people like the truncated Internet version of who I am? What could I say that everyone would want to hear in order to get more traffic in order to-what? What am I even doing? Who cares about how much traffic I get?

But the selfish thoughts were there. I’m slowly getting over them; slowly getting back to my attempts to just write what’s on my mind and be human, not a persona or a product.

I’m not Kate 2.0. I’m Kate .4.2.1. I’m still in beta testing.


Society’s Existential Crisis

What a bright and beautiful Tuesday morning. Time for some philosophical ramblings on the state of the world.

It seems that everyone wants to ask “what’s wrong with the world today?”. The fact of the matter: nothing.

As I was listening to the insanely giddy bubblegum pop of the late 90’s and early 00’s (I like to bounce around to Nsync {take that, Justin Bieber}), there seems to be a great division between the world before 9/11 and after. The terrorist attack that rocked the nation has shaken us into a societal existential crisis.

For generations, America defined itself by its enemy. Communism (Russia, Cuba, Vietnam), Korea, Nazis. Before the string of wars that dominated the past century, America defined itself by isolationism, expansion, as well as a myriad of other ideals. Now, we are no longer defined by our enemy. Terrorism is a nebulous concept, too nebulous to help America establish an identity. We can fall back on the original tenets of freedom, equality, the American dream, but those are all nebulous, as well. We lean on philosophers and founding fathers in an attempt to get a firmer grasp on what these ideals mean specifically in order to live up to them. The fact remains that these terms are loose and open to interpretation.

For those who think there is a revolution coming, you’re a little late. The revolution is already happening. We are in a state of flux. Four of five societal tenets are changing. Socially, we are more connected than ever before. Your world is only as private as you make it, and even then, anyone with smartphone can broadcast your business to the interwebz. Economically, we are on rocky ground. Politically, bipartisanship is prevalent.

Intellectually, that’s a big one. Arguments and lawsuits over intellectual property, self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, media piracy; how can one define what an idea is worth?

There is a generation gap. I’m not talking about ‘I’m young, you’re old’, I’m suggesting there is a fundamental difference in how Gen-X and Gen-Y think. Why learn anything when all you have to do is look it up on Google? We have forgotten the importance of knowledge.

Without knowledge, there can be no wisdom. There can’t be any wisdom without dignity, either, but that’s a topic for another day.

We need wisdom to break through the societal existential crisis. We need to reflect upon the past in order to create a future instead of running headlong at a light at the end of the tunnel, hoping it’s paradise and not the oncoming train. America is a nation less than 300 years old. Growing pains, paradigm shifts, reorganization; all these things need to take place.

Who are we? What do we value? What will our legacy be?

When the people one hundred years in the future look back on the 2010’s, what will the legacy be?


Everyone’s an Expert

I hate the word ‘expert’.

It didn’t always used to be this way. Now, everyone’s throwing around this term, and, like most overused words, it has lost it’s meaning.

These days, everyone’s an expert on something. Social media, writing, television. In fact, I do know some people who qualify to call themselves experts, but they are few and far between.

An expert is defined as a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority.

Look at yourself. Do you really qualify as an expert? My dad studies WWII as a hobby. He knows more about the European theater than anyone I have ever met. He can identify tanks by their tread marks (okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration). The point is: if you asked him, he would deny any expertise. Here’s where we come to the weird thing about those who attain knowledge.

They (we?) realize that the more you learn, the less you know.

I work in social media. I read Mashable, Read Write Web, Web Pro News everyday. While I have learned a lot from these people, this knowledge does not make me an expert. Being the one writing for them might.

With something like social media, the field is constantly changing. Unless you are on top of it everyday, developing strategy and implementing it, you can’t rightfully call yourself an expert.

It’s hard to be an expert. This isn’t something that should be taken so lightly. The true experts of the world need to take back that word.

Better yet, invent a word that means the same thing that hasn’t been ruined.

Everyone’s a norpluck.


Aside

The Daily Stalk

Like everyone who gets a new technological toy, I posted about my (yet unnamed) iPad 2. It sleeps next to my bed, curled up in its smart cover. I’ve started using eye drops because I stare at it for long periods of time.

Melodramatic!

Yesterday morning, while sitting at work, I picked up my iPad and thought: “Time for the daily stalk.”

Finger paused on power button. What prompted such a negative connotation to the innocent thing I was about to do?

So, I subscribe to blogs. What’s the big deal?

By “subscribe”, I, of course, mean “am addicted to”. In my gushing “All Hail Apple” post, I mentioned a few of the feeds I subscribe to:

Kristen Lamb

Chuck Wendig

A. Lee Martinez

But, that was just the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve got Jenny Martin. Occasionally, I dig into this thing like a mole-inspired┬ásuper villain, mining it for YA lit suggestions.

Rosemary Clement-Moore, who can make me simultaneously weep and laugh.

Pamela Skjolsvik. She’s got the cajones to write about death. I’m sucked in. How dare you make me think?

And even that’s just a smattering. I’m up to 14 subscriptions (and that’s not including Tumblr).

So, why “the daily stalk”?

Blogging is personal. It’s that thing that’s been bugging the writer, that little piece of irritant that’s stuck in the brain. Something that needs to be worked out. And, because I follow people with creative minds, it’s like seeing an aspect about them, learning something that they don’t have to explain, or describe, or tell you.

And, I feel a little guilty.

Everyone who reads this blog knows something about me. Without ever meeting me, you can form an opinion based on the content. What kind of music I like, what sort of books I enjoy, my personality type.

But, really, we don’t know anyone. Reading a blog is not spending time with someone. Getting to know someone through social media is sort of bogus. I mean, if I really wanted to know, I could just find out where you live, buy a pair of binoculars, and park across the street (well, hello, officer; what do you mean by ‘restraining order’?).

I’d rather sit down with you, face-to-face, and have a cup of coffee. Even if all we talk about is the weather.

Hi. I’m Kate Cornell. I’m a media consumer, obsessed with technology, and addicted to social media. When I sneeze, I always sneeze twice. I sometimes feel bad when I go to the coffee shop because I change my order every time, and I know the baristas try to make an effort to remember my drink. I love angry chick rock. I play the guitar…poorly, but passionately.

So, now you know.

I’m going to read one more post. Just one. I promise.