I recently changed my WordPress theme again (do we like?) mainly because I didn’t like the narrow design of Skeptical and I wanted something more minimal and clean looking, with a better font pack. I’m now using Able, with custom colors. I like the newly opened space on my blog. It looks clean and organized, but it’s also colorful and fun in a way that it wasn’t before. As I was re-organizing my sidebar content for the new theme it occurred to me, “Goodness gracious I have a ton of social networking sites. This seems rather unnecessary.” So I got rid of some of them. Which ones did I deem worth keeping, you ask?
That’s it. That’s all. Now, here’s my reasoning behind the apps I kept.
Twitter is great for short bursts of information; little shout outs as it were. I also keep a feed of my 5 most recent Tweets in my sidebar because they’re short, completely text-based, and don’t add any unnecessary clutter. If I want to make a quick update about something, but don’t necessarily want to publish a whole blog post about it, I can just throw it up on Twitter. This way, people can still see it directly on my blog even if they don’t use Twitter. At the same time, I’m not spamming all my WP followers’ reader feeds with little updates multiple times a day.
Google+ still hasn’t really caught on in a lot of circles, but I love it and here’s why. Like Twitter and Facebook, you get a news feed. But unlike Twitter, it’s a great medium for sharing articles and media with photos and video. Many Plus users have begun using it as a primary blog, because it’s so visually pleasing and easy to maintain. I also love the Hangouts feature and have used it for on the fly writer’s chats with my critique group. If you’re promoting a new book or want to host an online chat for your fans, Google Hangouts is a great option for something like that. And how much the better if you already have a following there via your Plus page?
Instagram is my go to for photo sharing. With the new “view from the web” feature, there’s no reason to rely on an outdated clunky site like Flickr for image sharing anymore. No offense to Flickr, but I never cared for it very much even in its heyday, and nowadays it’s more outdated than ever. I love the clean interface of Instagram, and the profile feature that lets you see all of a user’s photos in one easy to view page. The mobile app is great for grabbing pics on the go and sharing them with your friends either through the app, or online.
You will no doubt notice one giant gaping whole here. I don’t use Facebook. Well, I use Facebook, but I use it only for private correspondence and personal friends. I will certainly create a Facebook account to promote my writing at some point in the future… say… if and when I get published. But until then it seems sort of pretentious and just unnecessary to promote… nothing really? I mean, I don’t have a book yet. I’m not selling anything. I had fan pages in the past for visually creative work I did, and for businesses I ran, but I’m not sure what I would have to contribute to a FB page for my writing. I’ll get back to you on that after I publish my first book. 😉 That being said, if you are a published author, you should absolutely use a Facebook fan page as a promotional tool.
Social networking has grown and changed so much over the last several years, and will obviously continue to do so. Myspace** has gone the way of the dinosaur, and so too will others. I think it’s fascinating to watch and analyze how we share information and how that sharing changes over time. Lol, probably why I’m a librarian. Information technology, yo. It’s good stuff. ;D
** The new and improved Myspace notwithstanding. We’ll see how that goes when it finally debuts sometime next year.