How To Effectively Use Social Media

March 22, 2012

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Talking TO my generation

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

I realize I’m in my early 30’s so some may see me on the cusp of the generation I speak of, but I have to make my voice heard. Social media makes it easy to speak, and while I’m a big defender of the first amendment, I believe social media has allowed speaking one’s mind to become way too easy.

I meet so many people who meet with me after I address a crowd, whether it be a GOP event, a rally or even a school board meeting, and they say they “could never speak in public” because it’s their biggest fear. And then they tweet.

Isn’t that exactly what twitter is? Public speaking without the face to face crowd? Think about it. Say you have 500 followers. Every time you tweet something, up to 500 people could be reading it. If it gets a re-tweet? Your words, your statement, just went to all of your followers, followers.

Facebook is the same thing. Say you have 500 friends. Everytime you post an update, up to 500 people could be reading it.

So why is that different than public speaking? Is it because you’re not physically in front of all 500? Your words carry just as much weight (if not more) on social media because, with the restriction of characters, it really can’t be taken out of context like a public speech can be. With your words already put into text, it makes it a lot easier to copy/paste.

If you want to be taken seriously, use correct spelling. If you write like a moron, I will think you’re a moron, it’s as simple as that. You could be writing the most brilliant, thoughtful tweet or facebook update ever…but if u rite it liek thes…I won’t read it. And if it was important enough for you to take time to write it, you must want others to read it, correct? Then take the time to make it readable.

Unless you’re yelling something, DO NOT USE ALL CAPS. I READ IT AS IF YOU’RE YELLING AT ME, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. And you just read that as if I were yelling at you, didn’t you?

I’m tired of the arguement “It’s MY Facebook/Twitter wall…” because, well, that’s just a false statement. Do you pay for Facebook or twitter? No. And if you are, you’re getting hosed. Therefore, you don’t own “your” wall. If Facebook or Twitter wanted to suspend your account, they can. And they will. And then you’ll realize while you’ve been held accountable for your words, you no longer have the medium you seemed to think was “yours”.

Come on, guys. We’ve got a great tool in our hands. Social media IS a tool. Think before you tweet/post/update “Is this something that I’d actually SAY in front of 500 people?” If your answer is “no”, please hit delete. 

If you think I’m overreacting, I’m not. Anything you tweet is being archived in the Library of Congress. No, really.  Think of it this way, in 300 years, my great-great-great-great grandchild might want to do a history report on me. Do I really want them to see that on March 22, 2012 I tweeted the size/shape/color of a bowel movement? No. And no one in the present day wants to know either.

Don’t let this tool make a tool out of you. Stop and think. Is this something I would approach a podium and announce?

That being said, feel free to follow me on twitter @bowmama.

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How This Thirty-Something Uses Facebook

March 17, 2010

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Generally, I’m fairly up-to-speed on technology.  I’m not in the first batch of early adopters, but I’m generally not too far behind.  I really missed the boat on social media, though, dismissing it as irrelevant for years.  Eventually, I jumped headfirst into blogging.  I’m still not much of a Twitterer – my tweets are mostly notifications of new blog posts.  I’d love to tweet more, but Twitter seems to lose out in the time crunch.

I’m also a Facebook user.  A couple of years ago, I received an invitation from a longtime friend of mine (thanks for dragging me into Facebook, Amy …)  I’m not really a hardcore user, but I do spend time on Facebook when I get the chance.  How do I spend my Facebook time?

Mostly, I look for women who are interested in playing Scrabble®.  Why just women?  Am I using Facebook as some sort of dating service?  No, of course not.  That behavior would be really unacceptable for a married father of two.  However, a significant portion of male players on Facebook are indeed just looking for dirty talk in their Scrabble® games.  This seems quite odd to me – why not simply use the actual singles areas of Facebook?   In any case, this means that I often end up playing games against women.

Technically, I don’t play Scrabble®, but play Wordscraper instead.  Wordscraper is very similar – so similar that Hasbro sued the makers of Wordscraper.  Happily, an out of court settlement was reached, and Wordscraper remains alive.  There’s also an official Scrabble® game on Facebook, but I like Wordscraper better – the screens seems to render and refresh much more quickly.

How good am I?  Sadly, not particularly good.  I’d like to think that I know quite a lot of words, but my strategy doesn’t seem to be very good.  Part of this is probably the fact that I always try to open the board more, and part is just a deficiency of skill.  Who are the good players?  I’ve played a lot of games against Johnny Goodman, and he’s quite dominant.  Gabe Tyndal is really good too.  I haven’t played enough games against Gabe to determine is he’s at Johnny’s level or not.  My chiropractor, Doc Schroeder, is also really good – but a notch below Johnny (who, I repeat, is REALLY good).

Catching up with high school friends.  About half my high school class is on Facebook now.  That allows me to keep up on things that would otherwise elude me.  I’m also the creator of a Facebook group for my classmates.  I enjoy making people “officers” in the group and assigning them interesting roles.  Archduke (that’s me), Countess, Bloodletter, Stable Lad, Arrow Catcher, Ponzologist, we have them all.  I currently need to think up roles for a few more people.

Catching up on my favorite TV shows.  I am notoriously bad at keeping up with TV shows – TV just doesn’t rank as that high of a priority.  However, by becoming a Facebook “fan” of a show, I’m able to get alerts about the show.  Oh, hey, I should probably become a fan of NCIS 🙂

Ignoring people. Facebook has a built in chat feature.  Although I’m not as popular as some people, with 170 friends on Facebook, it was pretty common to have a half dozen people chatting with me at once.  That could be a real trick to juggle, especially as I was trying to do other things on Facebook.  I hated telling friends that I didn’t have time for them (seemed a bit rude), so I stay in “offline” mode 99% of the time.  (Hey, if you’re a Facebook friend of mine, send me a “message” – I do read the messages in my inbox and reply.)