While I glance at every little social system I happen across, very few get a second look. Are they easy to post to? How are other people’s posts going to be shown to me? Do I have to work in a limited interface that requires me multiple clicks and taps to get to ‘more information’? Is there anyone else using the service that I’m interested in seeing posts from. And, is it enough different from what I’m already using to require me to take on another place to stop by and keep track of.
As I have mentioned here before, I use social networks to keep up on things around the world. I only follow or friend or circle a quantity of people which that particular system will allow me to actually see what is being posted by others. When Twitter was new, I had few friends on the system so I was in the public feed a lot… it’s impossible to get much more than a disconnected snippet about anything unless it’s a global issue that everyone is talking about. I prefer groups in the 300 range that has few enough to actually make it through the last few hours of posts but enough that there is always something new. Too few and you go through blanks in time.
With that self imposed limitation, it means that I use each social network to fill a different personal need. For Facebook, it’s all about co-worker friends from my years at Thomson Reuters and friends from the 80’s that have re-connected. The 80’s friends only have a few things to say where local happenings are the bulk of those posts. The co-worker ‘friends’ are a great group to throw ideas at, share fun finds, joke with and chuckle at a common evil. It will be ‘interesting’ when Timeline goes public so we can see if we can make any sense of the string of posts from the last 5 or 6 years.
Twitter is all about the Business side of Gary. Very few personal posts, since the group I follow are more towards the entrepreneurial mind set. I post up links to articles I found that others of like similar motivations might enjoy as well links to the many posts I have made across assorted blogs. The idea is to have a finger on the creative Business folks around the world to put together posts from several people and make decisions from trends and mind set. You don’t have to be a government spy office these days to put together comments from a variety of key individuals on Twitter to see changes coming.
Instagram, the photo sharing social network, has amongst the smallest group of people I follow. The photos are from people in different areas, it amazes me the wonders of areas I had no idea existed. I also follow people that have like and polar opposite photo styles as mine. I see the photos sweep by and it opens my eyes to new possibilities for photo opportunities all around me. I stay away from the ‘major’ players and the politically motivated image posts. Major players these days are posting from their collection so nothing is from today or yesterday and they post non-stop. I would rather see a grainy image of a man on a bike in China from this morning commute than a perfectly balanced image of a famous church reflecting off a fountain’s lower water. I do have an appreciation for the effort to make that beautiful image, that doesn’t happen to be why I’m on Instagram. I share out images that I have taken with my iPhone and tinkered with to bring out the message while staying true to it being a snapshot in time.
There are a few less popular social offerings that I joined and posted to. They are not key industry players like the chosen few I work with daily, but still get my attention. For example PicPlz… another photo sharing network. ‘Another’ as in one of many options outside of the Instagram giant. Not quite sure why I still post there, the images being posted by others are dropping in quality of subject and heading more towards individuals presenting a half dozen snaps of their faces and then nothing more. It doesn’t help having the folks that created it say they don’t know what to do with the service going forward… do you risk committing your time to a service that has a near potential of just being turned off as has been the case with many other social attempts.
Now comes Google+, what to do there? Such an overwhelming force, tied into so many other Google ‘tools’ I use on an occasion, it is nearly impossible to ignore. My first toe in the water was to join up with photographers. The idea being that the images would be more robust than the snapshot world of my other photo sharing options. But, the feeds very quickly filled up with professionals posting up multiple images an hour from their portfolio. Are they just bragging or looking for people to hire them for their photography abilities? Then, I shifted a bit towards adding circles of people I enjoy on Twitters. They were great on Twitter for bits of information, on Google+ their posts go long enough to come across as a sales pitch.
Friends from Facebook on Google+ never post anything as the system has more of a ‘public’ feeling. There are a few speakers and authors that are proving to be interesting. Their posts are generally about an event they are at and their personal feelings on what was being presented. On the surface, thus far, no agenda has jumped out of their posts. With that in mind, I went back to my photographer circle and cut it down to people that are doing things like ‘city photo walks’ as well more ‘people on the street’.
The question I have for myself has been what do I post on Google+? Looking at what I enjoy on the service and the provided features, I’m leaning towards one to two paragraph ‘mini’ blog posts. Not really ‘blog’ posts, I’m using that term to say they are opinions posts that go on longer than a flash sentence but don’t drag on like this bit did. The challenge will be to stay true to what I have to say. The words on the page can be viewed by the masses, including future employers and customers. How will they react to Gary Being Gary, in a paragraph. Will I soften my apple box standing bark if I’m faced with the text appearing years from now from a potential client search on me? I’ll give it a try… it isn’t like Google will keep my typed words forever…