What to do with social media

A person I follow on twitter has I followed everyone he follows, some 5000 people, so that he can start fresh. He’s trying to get more bang for his buck, and recognized that he was caught in the wrong feedback loop. He was more interested in getting more followers than in getting value from people he did follow. Reading some of the responses makes me feel old. I’ve been blogging since 2003, on Facebook and delicious since 2004, and tweeting since 2007. Most of the people who responded mention joining twitter in the last year or two.

I feel their pain, though. I’m constantly reevaluating what I’m doing in these networks. Who should I friend in Facebook versus Twitter? I’m constantly thinking about dumping Facebook. I blog on my own domain while most new folks join .com domains. Am I promoting myself or learning? How much time should I spend in these networks? I don’t have easy answers. The answer is 42. And the answer is yes.

I am promoting my work, but it’s not about me. I’m part of a larger cause. I’m also promoting my school–honestly. And I’m trying to educate about my field, about women in CS, etc. So there’s a little selfishness in my social media use, which makes me a little squeamish because I don’t like being artificial. I try not to be. I try to say what I think, and if people like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t.

I switched fields a couple of years ago, which has meant rebuilding. What I’m finding is that there’s a core of people who started blogging, etc. about the same time I did. If they’re still at it, we follow each other in various media. Many higher ed folks have stopped connecting with me and I with them because what I say and what they say are no longer related. While I follow a lot of k-12 people, not that many follow me, or so it seems. And CS people tend not to be on social media, which strikes me as problematic when we have an image problem.

I do find blogging valuable. I like the chats on twitter. I get a lot of information there that I find useful. I wish more of my colleagues tweeted and/or blogged. I’ve enjoyed connecting with the few who do. And I wish I could figure out what to do with Facebook. It’s a constant reassessing, I guess.

2 Replies to “What to do with social media”

  1. Nice post. I decided that I would use Twitter for professional use and FB for personal use. There is some overlap, and I think that even on Twitter it’s nice to include some personal things once in a while. But so far it’s working out.

    As for following 5000 people, I don’t know how that’s even possible. I have trimmed my Twitter follow list a few times so that it was manageable, ie: I have time in the day to read, or at least scan, tweets. I’m interested in lots of things professionally but I just couldn’t keep up with everything. So I had to be ruthless. I’m not drowning in info, but I’m getting lots of stuff that is useful every day. I’m currently following 117 people. And if I find someone is tweeting too much for me, I take them off my list. It’s nothing personal.

  2. Yep, I think I have about 200 or so that I follow. I, too, delete folks who tweet incessantly about unimportant things. I don’t think I have anyone like that in my list. The vast majority of the people I follow are people I’ve met in person at least once. I’d say about 85% or so.

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