This morning I was reading a blog about social media on my new friend, Jennifer Chandler’s, Esteem Rising blog and it got me thinking about how much other people are just as overwhelmed by all of the different social media networking sites as I am, and I work with them on a regular basis.
There are a ton of sites out there and each one professes to be the best possible one you could sign up with to achieve your social networking goals, when in reality, they’re created and run by people who want to make the big bucks like the creators of MySpace and Facebook do. Bebo is also extremely popular, but it currently ranks third after Facebook and MySpace and you have to decide how many sites you have time for. Everyone has a different opinion but for a 2010 Social Networking Websites Review, click here and here.
I started my social media experience with MySpace over 5 years ago because I’m a huge music fan. I often discover new, unsigned, indie talent on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and I can almost always go to MySpace and find out more about the musician or band and hear more of their music. I had a lot of fun there discovering new music that I have come to love. It’s also fun to sometimes be able to actually correspond with the artist behind the profile. I used to write CD reviews quite prolifically for PartyinKingston.com (I still do, but they are infrequent now due to time constraints.) and being on MySpace was a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know new artists that I wanted to write about. I am still on MySpace, but don’t spend as much time there anymore, again, due to a lack of time.
A writer friend of mine who is also a singer just wrote a blog on MySpace (where she has a devout group of followers) about the fact that she went kicking and screaming back to Facebook and re-joined, but she doesn’t like it. So this is what I wrote to her:
“As someone who loves Facebook, I’m sorry to hear you say you’re there but would rather not be. I have made the acquaintance of some really great people there and for some reason it just seems easier to leave a comment on someone’s wall or comment on something they’ve posted there, than it is here. I don’t get involved with the applications for the most part and I don’t have to spend time looking for pretty pictures to post on people’s comments and cut and paste codes; all I have to do is type. It’s also a great place to share photos, even better than MySpace in my humble opinion, and the page loading time is way faster than it is here. The more things you embed into your profile here on MySpace, the longer it takes for the page to load and in this day and age when everyone’s busy and trying to network as quickly as possible, MySpace is a little antiquated. You can read the News Feed faster on FB than you can go through everyone’s bulletins or blogs here (and you can’t even see bulletins here anymore if you have over 2000 friends). You can also post links really easily, without having to get HTML code from somewhere else first. You just type in the URL or cut and paste it in, and voila! I think it’s just a more efficient and user friendly social networking platform and the creators are constantly updating it to try to make it better. They also have a very strict anti-spam policy there so you’re almost never bombarded with unwelcome email.
MySpace is great for many things, don’t get me wrong, but you should give Facebook a fair chance. That’s kind of synchronistic that FB suggested your ex-husband as a friend. It’s probably because he’s linked to someone you’re friends with there. It’s just as easy to set your privacy settings tightly and block people who bug you there as it is here, but I have only ever blocked two people in the last 3 1/2 years that I’ve been on it and I haven’t had any of the unwelcome lecherous dating type comments or emails from men who can’t even type or spell one sentence correctly who are constantly emailing me here and asking me to chat with them on IM. No matter how many times I’ve posted that I’m not on MySpace for dating, no one seems to read it. I have found the men on Facebook whom I’ve connected with as friends to be far more respectful and I have many, many real life friends who are on it that I want to stay in touch with and almost none of them are on MySpace. So for those reasons and more, I prefer it there. But I come back here to read your blogs!”
That’s why I prefer Facebook to MySpace, but I have also recently become much more aware of the merits of LinkedIn which I wrote about in a recent blog. I also use Twitter, but not as much, and you can link your accounts on all these sites so that when you update your status on one of them, it is immediately included on all of your sites. A real time-saver! I truly believe that the most popular social media sites, which are Facebook, MySpace and Twitter (closely followed by LinkedIn) are the important ones for authors and musicians to be on if they are trying to promote their work. They are also useful for many other types of businesses and they really can help you to expand your client/fan base.
Authors should also join one of the major book appreciator sites like Shelfari, Good Reads, Library Thing, Book Blogs, Amazon or Chapters.Indigo.ca (which is my personal favourite). You don’t have to be on all of them. Spreading yourself too thin doesn’t really accomplish anything. Believe me, I’ve learned that and am still in the process of making changes to pare down and pay more attention to the people I really enjoy! You can’t be effective when you don’t have the time to get to know the people you’re connected with on all of those social media sites. You have to choose the ones that you like the most or that are specifically geared towards your career (MySpace is excellent for musicians; LinkedIn is excellent for career professionals; Facebook is great for everyone!) and stick with them. And remember that more is not necessarily better. It’s much more effective to have a smaller base of contacts with people you have things in common with and actually correspond with and who show an interest in what you have to say, than a whole bunch of people who are there but you never communicate with.
I have had to join many different social media sites in order to learn about them and work with them for my clients, but in all honesty, the ones I spend the most time on lately are Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Twitter is fun for a while. It’s like being a fly on the wall and listening in on snippets of people’s conversations. You have 140 characters to express what you want to say in one post and most people use it to post links to other sites and things that they want you to see. It’s fun to follow some celebrities who have interesting things to talk about (and some of them don’t!) and it certainly is a way to get news quickly by checking out which topics are trending at any given time, but as a means of positive and effective two way communication, you still can’t beat a meeting in-person or with someone over the telephone.
The truth about social media is that it is as effective as you have time to make it be effective. It’s ever evolving and often quite interesting. It’s all about establishing relationships with people you have things in common with and whom you respect and admire and once that relationship is formed, you have the opportunity to tell them about what you do (and like) and about what others do and they just might listen and take your advice. I am constantly learning new things about what to do and what not to do every single day. So as a person who works with social media, I am an ever evolving work-in-progress too.