Overwhelmed by Social Media Choices

My Twitter feed is whining a lot lately. Some days it sits there, neglected and lonely, glaring at me as if I’ve locked it in the closet and forgotten to feed it all day. Which, some days, I have.

Feeling even more guilt for my indefensible level of negligence, I finally closed down my LinkedIn account last year. I’d like to say I wept a tear of regret, but honestly I did it with a sigh of relief. I do feel bad when I get requests from people wanting to add me to their network on LinkedIn, but would it really be fair to say I’m connecting there when you’re more likely to find me in the party aisle of Wal-Mart at 5:00 a.m.?

I have Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat accounts — which will greet me like a long-lost cousin at the family reunion the next time I show up. “Where you have you been? We haven’t seen you in forever!”

I never bit the bullet and joined Google +. I was afraid I’d distort the circles, what with my tendency to step outside the lines too often. (Plus, it seemed to be arranged with visual people in mind, which I am decidedly not.)

And now there’s tsū, a free social platform that believes in “quality content, real ownership, and the value of one’s own network.” Translation: They’re trying to compete with Facebook, especially in the wake of FB users disgruntled with constant changes to policies and accounts. Word on the street is you should join.

As you can see, I’m overwhelmed by social media choices. This short list doesn’t even include sites like Goodreads, Wattpad, Tumbler, Pinterest, and more. And if you write for teens, as I do, potential readers can migrate from one social media platform to another, as one site becomes less trendy and another becomes The Place to Be.

So where does this leave me? Besides huddled up on the corner of my closet eating through the rest of the Christmas candy and re-reading my wrinkled copy of A Wrinkle in Time.

Well, I’m hoping for social media clarity in 2015. Actually, praying for it. I’d even be willing to do a hokey rain dance complete with chanting, if that would help.

I’m too aware of the saying “jack of all trades, master of none” to try to take on everything. Indeed, I defend my decision to shut myself out of LinkedIn (where, believe me, teens are not) to dedicate myself to being an actual presence on those sites that I enjoy the most and that will allow me to connect best. (Just as soon as I’m positive which ones those are…)

So that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? Where should we invest our social media time?

And the answer will be different for different individuals, depending on goals. For myself, I’m well-connected to the writer community on Facebook, where I plan to remain — at least for the time being. I’d like to revive my Twitter account (so stop whining, feed!). And I want to make a more concerted effort to engage on Goodreads, Instagram, and YouTube.

My list could change, but I think it’s advisable to choose a few social media platforms and engage consistently there. That’s my plan for this year.

At least, until someone fiiinally perfects the cloning process. Anyone? Anyone?

On which networks do you engage? Do you have favorites or neglected accounts? How do you feel about the plethora of social media choices?

A Round of Words in 80 Days: Honestly, I’m still trying to decide whether to participate in ROW80 this time. I just haven’t figured out the order of my goals, so I may be waiting for a bit and joining up mid-round or Round 2.

Tutor Me on These Sites…Please

I recently posted the following tweet:

A couple of author friends chimed in that they would like to see such a post as well. But I haven’t found a good resource. Yes, I’m sure I could find a tutorial. However, I have noticed that my blogger friends often do a great job of summarizing all of the information I need in a single post (check out Techie Tuesdays with Jenny Hansen for great examples), thus saving me from a few awkward hours of clicking through things I do and don’t need.

So for an unusual Deep-Fried Friday, I am not even battering anything up. I need YOUR help to figure out what the heck I’m doing. Here are social media tools for which I have accounts but have barely scratched the surface in using them well.

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a business-related social networking site. It is aimed at connecting people through their professions and boasts over 135 million users across 200+ countries. I know that you can build a network and then recommend people to others, but I don’t know how this best works and how to navigate the site well. I also wonder if this is a good resource for an author, or if it caters to a specific population. (Update: Just too good not to share! Jenny Hansen did posts on LinkedIn back in May & June which I didn’t know about when I drafted this post. Here’s THE LINK.)

Goodreads. Goodreads seems to me like a spider-webbed book club. Members can go on and log what they are reading, post reviews, and get recommendations from others. When I logged on, I invited everyone I knew from Twitter to be my Goodreads friends. Now I have about a gazillion friends whose status updates keep popping up. I have no idea how to organize information and use this tool best. Moreover, I would like to know about rating and reviewing books. Is this is a good idea for an upcoming author to do? Could I possibly anger the wrong person by giving some book 2 out of 5 stars when I might need their help in the publishing world later? (I know that’s a long shot, but my mind tends to imagine all of the possibilities.)

Klout. Klout is a way of measuring the impact you have on the social media world. By tracking your interactions on other sites (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and more), your influence and ability to drive action is ranked between 1 and 100 to show how IT you are. It’s helpful to see where and how you are influencing and to think about actions you can take to increase your reach. I also know that you can give others a K+ in certain categories. But I don’t know how this overall thing works. Should I be K+ing people? Should I thank them for K+ing me? Should I tweet those notices? How often should I check my Klout score? Are there are other features I’ve missed here?

By the way, a couple of social media notes.

Facebook users will be moved over to the new Timeline look soon. I don’t believe a specific date has been announced, although I have seen rumors of the 29th or 30th of this month. At some point, however, you will get a message at the top of your page essentially saying, Here we go! Whether you love it, hate it, or are indifferent, there’s no point fighting it. Get used to it. I’m enjoying the new look, although it is taking a little extra time to find things on the page as I adjust. USA Today had some good tips on using Timeline.

Triberr is a networking site for bloggers to increase their reach. It is invitation only. I am on Triberr and recommend it. I love the bloggers in my group and am happy to recommend others go to their sites. Also, knowing that they will be tweeting my posts keeps me on my toes to put out decent content. Jenny Hansen did a fabulous post on using Triberr. I can’t add anything to it, so go see what she said.

Now what expertise can you share about LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Klout? What other social media sites do you want more information on using? Do you have favorite ones and why?

Wednesday Words: My Fabulous Friequaintances

Ever wanted to invent a word?  Have you contemplated an object, concept, or process that doesn’t have an exact word to describe it?

With a teen and tween in my family, we have some rules about social media.  Since what they post is personal stuff, it is a rule in my home that you can only “friend” people who are already your real life friends.  In other words, you have to know them in some way face-to-face before you start telling them where you are, what you’re doing, and what your other friend told you about so-and-so and such-and-such.  Not to mention, posting pictures. 

And that’s pretty much my own rule for my personal Facebook account – which I use to maintain connections with family, friends, high school and college buddies, etc.  But of course, that goes completely out the window when I’m befriending people through Twitter and my author Facebook account. 

So my sons and I were talking about this and how the word “friend” isn’t exact enough because I haven’t met so many of these people.  “Acquaintance” isn’t right either because I really do chat with them and feel some level of friendship.  So we thought we should coin a new word to express a person you don’t actually know but that you friend on a social media account and feel a connection with:  Frieqaintance.  That something in between a friend and an acquaintance, right?  How do you like it?  Too hard to spell, isn’t it? 

I know that for Twitter, the word “tweeps” works well.  But then maybe the Facebook equivalent would be “feeps”?  But then, what about the people I chat with on both, would they be “tfeeps” or “fweeps”?  This is getting way too confusing. 

But I sooooo want to invent a new word! 

So tell me what you think they should be called?  And do you have any words you’ve invented?  Or things, ideas, etc. that need a word to describe them?  Maybe we can help!  After all, I have lots of frequaintances, fweeps, friends, and family!  I wonder what new vocabulary we can think up!