Saturday, May 23, 2009

Advising a New Twit

A homeschooling friend on Facebook (who called himself a "New Twit") asked me the other day:

Jim Bob, YOU seem to be somebody who actually knows how to use all this social networking stuff. Any tips for me?

Always happy to assist friends who are new to social media, I answered and began the following conversation:

I'd love to give you some tips. ;) There's a lot you can do. Conversely, there's a great potential for what Clay Clarkson calls, "Social NOTworking."

First thing to do is set limits on how much you're on.

On Facebook, the only applications I installed are Causes and NetworkBlogs. Everything else is a HUGE waste of time. Only check in at regularly schedule times so you can batch what you're doing on FB. I'm check it when I get home from work around 3PM, and that's it, pretty much.

More later... And I'm happy to answer any question you have.

I've seen (and like) Causes... don't know about NetworkBlogs. Will go figure it out...

My goal is to revive a lot of my old contacts and develop a fairly steady presence on Twitter/FB/Plaxo and a blog. I have a LOT to do, but much of it is maintenance and/or marketing, so I think I may be able to afford the time it takes to build an "online presence" by turning little snippets of information into "news you can use."

Having said that... Twitter looks like a potential black hole for "free time." I just got a note from Rob Schearer (Greenleaf) who says, "Twitter is the internet service for people who wish they had a stalker."

On the other hand... it's been a blessing to be able to forward info on Jessica Hulcy's progress or Israel Wayne's speaking tour in Japan. There's room for SOMEBODY to winnow this chaff to share the grain with people who want to keep up on things but actually have a life...

The great thing about NetworkBlogs is that you can add your blog. And when you post something to it, all of your FB friends will know about it and can go read it.

Twitter can be tied to FB and Plaxo, as well, updating your status on both whenever you Tweet. Which is a great feature when you have folks following you on Twitter so you use TwitterFeed to post a tweet about new blog entries so your status on FB and Plaxo is automatically updated.

You should be able to revive your contacts that way, though I wouldn't recommend spending too much time on Plaxo. Sign up and accept connections, but I find it's less a part of my regular social connecting that FB and Twitter.

Look at each of these for whom they connect you to:

FB, you typically want to connect to actual friends. It's easier to post real transparent updates that way. If you're going to use it for "friends" of your business / ministry, then set up a fan page so you can communicate with clients that way.

Twitter is for collecting anyone and everyone who might share an interest (any interest, so it CAN be a little less targeted). But, it's also a way to 'eavesdrop' on a public conversation and make new 'friends' that you might not have met otherwise.

Plaxo is good for maintaining contact information with colleagues and friends, but FB does quite a bit of that as well. It's a little less invasive to connect on Plaxo and therefore a little safer (relationally speaking). It can let you connect a little easier with folks that might be on the fringe of your acquaintance.

LinkedIn is also a great resource for communicating with colleagues and learning what folks are doing professionally. There's limited connectivity to Twitter, but its better benefit is to present a "living" resume of work you're doing or looking for.

Many folks I'm connected to, I'm connected on all four. My blog readership is nowhere near what my Twitter/FB/LinkedIn connections are, but that's my fault for not posting enough. ;)

And yes, Twitter is a great way to keep up with information about situations like Jessica's and Israel's. The best way I've found (so far) to winnow Twitter is using TweetDeck. It can be a bit of a memory hog, but it is great for creating searches and groups to help you narrow down what actually gets your attention. You can also use TweetLater to send you tweets that match a certain search criteria. It has some other cool functionality which can help with "batching" your social media activities for maximum effectiveness.

The thing to think about regarding Twitter is learning how "others" use it. Some aggregate, some only follow select people; some post only business updates and alerts, others post the most mundane things about life; some use TweetDeck and other tools to see what folks are saying; others use widgets to post Twitter streams on their blogs. Figure out how the folks YOU are trying to reach use it, and then participate that way.

Hope all that helps.

How do you use social media?
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