How Do You Use Social Media?

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This post leads on from the recent Blogger Hangout discussion.  We talked about which social media platform are best (or a time-suck) for bloggers, I have been thinking about the way in which social media is developing and becoming all-encompassing.  There are a number of social media platforms that I feel enhance my time online to network with bloggers and non-bloggers.

I am often asked how I manage each platform and which ones I recommend.  This is by no means a definitive list or method so it would be great if you could share your social media secrets too.  Get ready for a whirlwind tour of my life via social media.

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Facebook.  Facebook is split into three sections for me: my personal profile, my Facebook page and the groups (social media X-Factor, anyone?).  I am quite choosy who I accept as a 'friend' on Facebook as I share pictures of my family and some personal (and occasionally ranty) status updates.  My Facebook page is centered around my blog updates and is also connected to my Twitter account.  On my page I try to keep it 'professional' (i.e. blog and social media related) and encourage 'likes'.  Groups are theme-specific and I am a member of a few that interest me and educate me.

Twitter.  My first, my last, my everything.  I've joined Twitter in 2008 and loved it immediately.  The way in which Twitter performs has changed over the years and people use it for many different reasons.  I use Tweetdeck to flatten out twitter so that I can watch my @mentions column at the same time as my Home stream, Direct Messages and some lists.  This feels more interactive to me although it can take some getting used to.  Other similar applications are Seesmic and Hootsuite.  I also take advantage of scheduling facilities on Tweetdeck so that I can push out updates (usually to my blog) when I know I am going to be away from my online life.

Google Plus.  I have been interested in G+ since the beginning, especially after seeing a few of Google's products fail (Google Buzz, anyone?).  But sometimes you have to find out what doesn't work to be able to produce a better functioning application.  I have found that a G+ Page doesn't work for me and my blog(s) and I remain active on my personal profile.  I have no reason to be anonymous and would like people to know me as the blogger rather than hide behind a pseudonym.  As G+ are putting a lot of work into their underlying SEO (search engine optimisation) I feel that this is an important platform to work on.

StumbleUpon.  Working on two levels (fully explained in my What Is StumbleUpon? tutorial), this platform is a great way to find new content and to drive traffic to your own content.  I occasionally share a link from my own blog via the StumbleUpon (SU) toolbar; the more hits on this link push up the popularity of the article and give it more weight for other users of SU.  When I am using SU to find new content I will give webpages I love a 'thumbs up' and then share using Bolt for a couple of reasons.

Tumblr.  A blogging platform that works for me for updates that are too long for twitter and too short for a blog post.  I often share my Bolts (found on StumbleUpon) to Tumblr as they create great interaction from an new audience.  Many of the Tumblr blogs I follow (and those that follow me) have no idea who I am on my blog, Facebook or Twitter.  My Tumblr is connected to my Twitter account and my Facebook so if I want to expose a Bolt then I push to Tumblr which auto-pushes to the other two platforms.

Instagram.  A glorious way to share snapshots from my mobile phone.  I tend to upload on the go and I rarely use hashtags. I have the option to share to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr so choose the best combination (as above) depending on the theme of the photo.  If I want to share a picture taken on my "proper" camera, I upload the image to Dropbox and share to Instagram from there.  I occasionally use my Instagram pictures on my blog.

Pinterest.  This can drive traffic to my blog so I selfishly "pin" some of my posts over on my two boards - "Flogging the Blogging" (solely blog posts - mine and other people's) and "Unique Geek Speak" (a community board for all things blogging and geek).

Foursquare.  I have a love/hate relationship with Foursquare.  I understand the business promotion side of the platform but not the 'badges' or the 'points'.  I struggle with the balance between promoting good business and services and your followers knowing where you are all the time (I have the same issue with the 'location' facility on Facebook).  I am currently not using this platform but occasionally log in when I am at a conference or blogging event.

YouTube.  This takes some hammering on a weekend evening and my 'favourites' list is a tad eclectic.  I share the occasional tune to the incorporated social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, G+) but I am really enjoying the integration with Google Plus and the Hangouts.  There have been some majorly ingenious uses for Google Hangouts with their "On Air" facility and one that I have been using for weekly Blogger Chats.

Flickr.  Whilst I don't use Flickr to host my photographs any more, I do use their advanced search facility to find images with a creative commons licence that I can use on my blogs.  I always thank the photographer and leave a link to the post that I used it on by way of good manners.  You never know, you may gain a new reader in the process.


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What is your social media activity like?  Do you use a platform that I haven't mentioned?  Do you use one completely differently to the way I do?  What would you recommend that people use and that people steer clear of.  Let me know in the comments.  I also thought you would enjoy this video - The Social Media Revolution 2012.


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