The Social Medium

I don’t like what you post on FaceBook. Or the way that Twitter is used. I’m annoyed why photo sharing sites are ignored and think that most LinkedIn comments are preposterous. But don’t worry, all is fine.

I suspect you feel the same about my use of social media. And probably the way your other contacts do all this as well. It’s because there are no rules here so we make up our own.

The reason that I dislike all this is that you don’t use these social networks as they should be used. Which is to say that you don’t use them in the way that I interpret they should be used. I’ll give you an example.

I don’t use FaceBook to store and distribute my digital photograph collections. For a start I would think it presumptuous to assume you’d like to see them all and I do like to keep some of my life to myself. Plus if I wanted to share shed-loads of pretty pictures I’d use a proper photo-sharing site, like Flickr. It’s the way it was first devised and shall always remain so.

Some selective photos of mine are published on FB which may be of interest to the few friends and family I save this site for. And every one of them is in focus I might add.

Ephemeral photos that I take are much more suited to the casual nature of Tweeting so you only get to see these if you follow me there.

Which brings me neatly onto the issue of followers and contacts. And a specific question. Why do you have so many? Yes, on the face of it it seems flattering that so many others want to be in your gang but there is a limit to these things and too many lessen the impact. It is a privilege to be considered a friend but not if everyone is. And I think it impossible to follow the posts of more than fifty or so active others, across all sites. So how do you manage your seventy, seven hundred or several thousand?

So this is how you should use Social Media.

At present FaceBook is the worst of the lot. It has become a dumping ground for everything that is good or bad in social media and tries to emulate and steal the ideas from every other format. It wants your posts, your pictures, your locations, your timeline, your soul. By all means use this as a one stop shop if you know no better but as you are are reading this I guess you do know better so don’t!

If FB must be used, use it only for close friends and family. Restrict posts to interesting things about what you are getting up to. If you need to arrange a meeting use the phone or text.

Only share photo collections on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr. And group them by activity, event or date. With all miscellaneous content clearly labelled so. And just delete the duplications and the ones with your damn thumb in the corner.

Don’t however treat Instagram as a photo sharing site. Use this to create interesting, vivid content not as a place to dump every photo of parties, pies and peers.

Respect your Twitter stream by properly following just a handful of people who genuinely interest you, whether they be friends, famous or followable.

Your friends and relations do like to see where you are and what you are doing there so use a site designed for this purpose such as FourSquare. Or If you are watching something try sharing with GetGlue.

Keep LinkedIn professional. Only post relevant notes about your career and work related issues. And no avatar photos of you on a beach or the piste, unless that is your workplace.

If you can’t think of anything amusing, pertinent or interesting to say post nothing. And when a thought enters your mind carefully choose the appropriate medium.

Only selectively re-quote or link to other peoples content. Stop constantly referencing other people’s stuff. If I had an interest in their diatribe I’d find it myself. Save the plagiarism for satirists.

Ignore Google + because that upsets geeks, was far too late for the party and Google should stick to searching.

Only please don’t do any of the above. Because you are you not me.

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