Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Different Strokes for Different Social Media Folks

This week has been a milestone for this blog, with the number of page views surpassing the 100,000 mark since its inception in March, 2009. This achievement gives me a chance to reflect on my use of social media, which seems to be different than for others. Maybe social media is just like anything else in life, with different people preferring differing aspects and uses of it.

Clearly I have enjoyed being a blogger. This blog has provided me a nice platform from which to share my thoughts and views with a worldwide audience. As I have noted before, I am not a stream of consciousness blogger, feeling compelled to post things continuously, such as every day. Rather, I prefer that my postings carefully reflect thoughts and ideas on specific topics.

Another social media activity I enjoy is Facebook. I have three main networks on Facebook, and I enjoy seeing them interact with my personal and professional life. These networks include my professional colleagues, my family and friends, and my high school classmates. Facebook is also a great medium for sharing and annotating photos and other digital artifacts.

Two social media activities I personally find less valuable to myself are Twitter and LinkedIn. I know this is at odds with some dear friends and colleagues. However, tweets just seem too short (I often have more to say than can be expressed in 140 characters!) and fleeting (it seems you either catch something in the Twitter stream or never see it again) to sustain my interest. Sometimes I try to get involved in the Twitter dialogue at conferences, but soon find it distracting to try to otherwise participate in the meeting (whose primary value is usually the direct personal interaction). I have the most fun with it when I use it to editorialize about presentations at those meetings, but I find it difficult to sustain any sort of dialogue when doing that.

As for LinkedIn, while I am sure it is highly valuable for some people, I find that my major interaction with it is to receive requests for connections and endorsements. I am happy to connect with anyone on LinkedIn, but I have yet to find value in the hundreds of connections I have made. I also do not like to make generic LinkedIn endorsements, instead preferring to serve as real references for colleagues and current or former students when they need it for specific opportunities.

I know that other people have different preferences for social media, and perhaps my own preferences will change over time. And of course, it is likely that the social media tools and sites will change over time, or that new ones will emerge. For now, however, I will keep blogging and Facebooking while still trying to determine the value of other social media.

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