Pinterest. Google+. Facebook. Klout. Twitter. Tumblr. Wordpress. Blogger. YouTube.
I'm sure I'm not even scratching the surface here on this topic. But lately it seems everyone is talking about social media and the internet and such. And, frankly, it's overwhelming. There's a new semi-coherent or semi-logical social network every month it seems. I don't have much to contribute to the conversation, but I do have something to say.
To be honest, it's ridiculous. It can sometimes start to feel as though you're expected to be on every single social network and internet phenomenon out there to try to connect with readers. Connecting with readers and potential readers is a valid and valuable thing. But we have to be smart about it.
I dropped Facebook months ago over concerns about privacy. No matter what I did, it seemed, I couldn't prevent random strangers from seeing things I'd posted simply because someone liked a photo, a post, or commented on something in my Facebook feed. I unsubscribed to everything but my friends' unique status updates and one other thing, ignoring games and apps and all the noise. And still I saw photos of random strangers' families because my friends had liked or commented on those.
Google+, well, I had an account and then something strange happened. I never visited. Ever. Well, hardly ever. This may have been a symptom of being in it during early stages of adoption, but it wasn't part of my usual awareness. I also got tired of people I didn't know being able to add me to their circles and see the things I posted. The privacy and security issue seemed worse there than on Facebook. Perhaps it's just Google's grabby hands over all of our internet activity.
Here on Blogger, I've really painted myself into a corner by focusing this blog on writing-related topics. I'm feeling a bit of blogger fatigue as a result, I think. (Hence the reason I have been very spotty in my blogging of late.) I think a blog can be valuable, but I definitely would have done things differently with this blog if I'd known better when I started. I've gained invaluable friendships through my blog that I wouldn't trade for the world. But I definitely feel trapped in a corner surrounded by wet paint.
YouTube I've never understood and rarely used. In fact, all the videos I posted have been pulled. Klout? Um, someone explain that to me? Is it really even a social network? WordPress is just another blogging platform, right?
Twitter. Ah, Twitter. See, Twitter is one I actually enjoy. I talk about writing stuff, but I also talk about basically anything and everything there. I feel like I'm freer on Twitter than I can be on my blog or other places. I like Twitter. What I like best about Twitter is I can run it in the background while I focus on other things. It really only takes 10 seconds of attention at a time to be effective, I think. And that works great for me.
Recently I started a Tumblr blog. And I quite like it. Over there, I've given myself the freedom to post anything that sparks my imagination. Which gives me quite a lot of freedom, if you think about it. The only downside to Tumblr is finding people to follow. I still haven't figured out the nuances of the site and of finding people to follow over there.
And then there's Pinterest. For me, I'm using it as a giant organization tool. I collect recipes, things that I find pretty, things that warm my little nerd heart, and all sorts of interests. What's nice is that on Pinterest you can organize everything in vastly different ways. I have a board there for photos inspired by and which inspire my current WiP and the trilogy it's part of, which is the extent of my writerly use of Pinterest. Over there, while it can be a good way of marketing if you're already published or you're an agent/editor/publishing house wanting to share what you represent or enjoy, it feels more like a giant conversation.
I've had to pick and choose because it has gotten to be too much. The pressure to be everywhere all the time is overwhelming. The pressure to come up with original, new, fresh content after years of doing what I've been doing is too much to bear sometimes. Especially on outlets where I've clearly laid out what the focus of my contribution there should be. I have run out of things to say, be they clever or otherwise. (I'm rarely clever, I fear.) Some days I just want to scream, pull the covers over my head, and pray the internet dies a speedy death in some regards.
What about you? Do you love how many social networks and such there are? Do you thrive on the thrill of joining every one and try to be the expert user of them all? Or are you like me and run screaming at the introduction of a new internet tool/social network?
Also, self-promote away in the comments. Link to your own social network profiles: your FB page, your Twitter profile, your Tumblr/Blogger/WordPress blogs, your Pinterest and YouTube accounts.
And someone please explain the purpose and utility of Klout to me.