Friday, December 7, 2012

Social media wish list

On my rambles through the social networks, I've developed the following wish list. I call it a wish list rather than a list of do's and don't's because I'm no guru, and ultimately, people can run their social media presences any way they want. On this list, I've stayed away from more general suggestions that have already been posted many other places around the internet (such as: Don't spam people; don't use social media to bombard people with hard-sell tactics; etc.) I've stuck to things that have become preferences after years of blog-reading, Twitter-following, and Google+-dabbling.

Remember that not everyone is on Facebook. Many people use Facebook as their primary, or only, way to relate to the online world. That's understandable, because Facebook is so prevalent. But even though it's prevalent, it's not all-inclusive. There are still people who have never joined Facebook, or who have left it. So if Facebook is your main or only online home, make sure that the information you want public is public. More than once, I have clicked on a link to see some promised information about an author appearance, a book, or some exciting news in a person's life, only to be confronted by a Facebook login page. Sometimes I'm allowed to see the page without logging in; many times, I'm not. At which point, I click away. I suppose this tip could be generalized to say that any information you're trying to get out to the whole world shouldn't be posted only on a closed network.

Remember that not everyone is everywhere. If you announce something exciting on Tumblr, the people who are following you on your blog and Pinterest won't realize it. If you post something on Twitter, even the people who are following you there may not see it because the Twitter stream moves so fast. If something big happens, like you have a baby or sell a book or get selected for a Mars mission, you may want to announce it multiple places or include links to the big announcement on all your media. Yes, there will be some redundancy if your social media audiences overlap, but  this is for big news only.

We all hate trolls and spammers, but if at all possible, turn off your word verifications. The "word tests" have become extremely difficult to read, with photos of numbers hidden in shadows, and strings of letters distorted beyond recognition. Many's the time I have been able to identify the number and almost all of the letters, but ... is that a w or two v's smushed together? I click for another combo, only to find the number box is a blob of darkness. Click again, and the letters are overlapping to the point of illegibility. At this point, I start to question how important it is to me to leave this comment ...

There's no need to blog about vows to be a better blogger. Especially after a hiatus or slowdown, people often post grand plans for schedules or topics that they can't keep to, which only leads to their feeling worse, avoiding their blogs more, and posting more apologies. Nobody is acting as the blog police, forcing you to blog on a certain schedule or on certain topics. You're not accountable to your readers in that way (except if you open a contest, you should select the winner(s) and award the prize). Blogging is supposed to be fun, not another guilt-ridden chore. If you want to try out some new features, go ahead, but they don't have to be set in stone.

If you switch platforms, provide your "old" readers a way to follow you. If you can mirror your blog posts, or set up an RSS feed, that will help you stay in touch with the people who've stuck with you on one platform. Plenty of my LiveJournal friends have done this, and it's nice to know I can still find them!

Any items you would add to the wishlist?

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