Saturday, September 12, 2015

Social Media Making

I've decided to start a new, on-going, series of posts to this blog. I've been toying with this idea for a long time (*cough*6 years*cough*), but I was never really certain if I should quite go ahead with it. Partly that is because this might very well be the area of work I get into (one day), and having most of my expert knowledge posted free and publicly rather defeats the purpose of being paid for a living. And partly it is because I'm never really certain how many people read blogs, or how many people who do find this useful would actually read this one (bets are few).

However, I've decided to bite the bullet. I know plenty of bloggers who post things that they don't feel are useful, and yet readers gobble it up. So maybe there is a chance. And if I only help one person, that's still worth the effort, I think.  Maybe that person will help another person and so on.

But first, a little bit of history to begin with.

I first got into social media in 2009. Except that's a bold faced lie. I first got into social media in 1997 when I discovered chat rooms, but I was *cough*young*cough* and we don't talk about that. But then, social media in the 1990s was not yet a 'thing'. A thing talked about, at least. Our concept of social media comes mainly from the last 10 or so years, particularly since Facebook took off. It has existed since the Internet began, but social media is mostly a construct of our new networked society where the Web is accessible and open for most people (rather than just the early adopters or the geeks - I was both).

But it wasn't until 2007 that I discovered Facebook, as did most people. And it wasn't until 2009 that I had a Twitter account. Though my first blog dates to 2002 and I've had a Photobucket account as long as Photobucket has existed. And then there were all those chat room personas...that we don't talk about.

In other words I, like most people, came to social media over a period of time. It started with one site and then, as the Internet spread, I got involved in more and more things. Now, like most people, I maintain a presence (that might not be strictly 'me') on nearly a dozen social media platforms, and half a dozen others that I have lost log-ins to or that have mainly gone the way of the dodo bird, as has most of the Web. And sometimes, having that many sites to keep track of means I neglect one or two for longer than intended (like this blog), and spend hours of the day on others (Twitter - no Pinterest).

However, over the years I've come to know most social media sites, at least in what we could call the mainstream ones. There are others I've purposefully stayed clear from (Tumblr) and a few I delayed getting involved in (Pinterest), but for the most part, I've used the vast majority of them, and made an effort to understand what they are for and where they can fit into my life (and where they don't). But that is a lot of work, as anyone who is social media savvy will know. And often it's more work than people on the outside are willing to expend, without understanding what the pros and cons are (or only seeing the cons). I understand it can be daunting, particularly if you've stayed on the fringes of social media all these years (and if you have, congrats, I sometimes miss being disconnected).

Perhaps there are enough of you out there that are not quite social media savvy, or have a specific social media platform you'd like to know more about (before you start using it), or would like to know how to use (now that you do use it). And perhaps I can help a few of you. It's worth a shot, at least.

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