Social Media Explained (Sort of)

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Writing | 52 comments

 

social networking humor

The social media news that I’ve been hearing recently is teens are leaving Facebook.

My knee jerk response: I’ll come with you.

Facebook is not my favorite way to connect online.

i love instagram

 

Instagram CollageInstagram is a way to connect via your pictures

 

According to a mediabistro article, my attraction to Instagram is due to a desire to escape from Facebook.

It’s kind of true. I mean I’ve been on FB for two years, but still I feel like the new kid walking into the high school cafeteria.

Facebook feels intimidating.

Facebook and high school

The high school cafeteria

 

My own kids (both teenagers) have their complaints about Facebook. One of them posts a status weekly, the other almost never. Both have shut it down at times.

But both agree Facebook is mostly “necessary”–kind of a virtual home base for social networking. Because in their world, Facebook has become the place where clubs, events, and school projects get updated (I get this, because the majority of my FB interaction is via writers’ groups).

Right now though, the two biggest social media sites for them are Instagram and Snapchat.

Snapchat is basically a photo messaging app. You send a photo/graphic/video to a friend, but with a time limit (your friend(s) can only see that image for 1 to 10 seconds, the sender makes that choice). After that, the image can no longer be seen.  However, the recipient can take a screenshot of your image, so in a way, there’s a chance that image will never disappear.

My son was quick to point out that he gets alerted when someone takes a screenshot AND more importantly, he said, he only sends these images to actual friends. In fact, the majority of his friends on Snapchat are people he knows in real life.

The definition of friendship can get a bit murky on social media. I think Facebook can easily get watered down with school stuff, work stuff, and acquaintances. Sometimes it reminds me of a community phone book/bulletin board, almost generic. Maybe that’s why I often find it intimidating. It’s not easy to be yourself in an environment where you don’t actually know everyone and they don’t actually know you.

One of my kids even said, My Facebook profile doesn’t feel like the real me.

I get this, especially when I receive this email from FB every week:

 

 

What's your favorite social media site

Nope, never heard of her 

 

So, yeah, like my kids, I gravitate to the sites where I find it more comfortable to make connections. I like to take pictures, so Instagram is my favorite right now, but I also like the oh so pretty, Pinterest.

According to that same mediabistro article, I’m on Pinterest because, “I want what I can’t have.”

Let me tell you, that is not true. For example, I saw The Brookie (half brownie, half cookie) on Pinterest, I pinned it, made it (gluten free!) and ate it.

Then, promptly took its picture and posted it online.

 

Things I've made on Pinterest

You can have your Brookie and eat it too

 

Because regardless of my feelings about FB, I’m still trying to connect.

I like Twitter

Getting personal on Twitter

 

I guess it’s a matter of finding the site that allows you to make the kind of connection you’re looking for. It’s great to have choices. But if I had to pick just one, right now (right now is very significant, because things change so quickly these days), I’d choose Instagram. Somehow it manages to feel cozy in the vast, digital landscape–and I kind of feel calmer there.

And calm is good.

Because you can’t always have a Brookie (or a donut).

What’s your favorite social media site? Do you see Facebook as a social media base?

Happy Monday!

Coleen Patrick

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52 Comments

  1. So, do you know that chick Coleen Patrick? She’s kinda hot looking. Maybe I’ll stalk, er, friend her on Facebook.

    I still think for blogging purposes sites like Facebook, Triberr, Stumble Upon, and even Twitter are more effective that Instagram where everyone is just posting up pictures. I am on it but hardly use it.

    I guess it does depend on how comfortable a person is with each different social networking too. Damn, I forgot to take a pic of that donut I ate this morning!
    Phil recently posted..Has it been one year blogging already? I’ll drink to that!My Profile

    • Thanks, Phil! Yeah, I think you’re right about FB for blogging. It’s like a hub, but then I guess eventually people tend to congregate in whatever their niche happens to be–even if that means a FB group. And as for that donut pic, tomorrow’s another day…

  2. I am lost on Instagram and Pinterest, because I’m simply not visual. I’m also not good with photography. I feel like I SHOULD be there, but I just don’t seem to know how to interact in that world.

    Twitter is all about words, but FB combines words and pics. So those are my go-to places. I could see myself migrating at some point, but not to a picture-heavy format. I still need my WORDS!

    • Something I see A LOT on Instagram is an image with a quote (or something you make up)–and you don’t have to have a fancy background either. Times New Roman on a white background works too. :)I think I rely heavily on my photos because sometimes social media gets me tongue tied. I wonder if that’s an introvert/extrovert thing too?

  3. Agree! I have had awkward moments on Facegroup. Going forward I’ll mostly use the groups.
    I love Pinterest I want to paint everything on there.
    My lovely teenage neighbour was the result of an instagram prank recently. She was devastated. I don’t like how easy it is to be very bad and viral.

    • That’s the very scary thing about growing up in this time. My daughter keeps her Instagram account private, but sometimes I wonder how well she knows the people she approves. It’s so easy to prank people–and so hard to step away from it all.
      Thanks, Catherine!

  4. Snapchat? Nooo … not another new way to connect via social media.
    And 10 seconds to do it in?

    Nooooo …

    Sigh.

    Social media. When I’m discussing this beast with a new writer, I always tell them: You’ll feel like you can’t keep up. And you’re right.

    • Snapchat scares me. Just listening to my son explain it, got my mind churning with possibilities (all not good). Of course all the while, he’s just happily making funny faces and sending them to his friends. But you never know what someone might decide to do in an instant… sigh
      You are SO right about social media, it’s impossible to keep up. THanks, Beth

  5. I’ve heard some very scary things about Snapchat. I’m not on Instagram, yet feel like I should be. There are just things that hold me back. I know that and tumblr are where the YA market is hanging out these days. I adore Pinterest. I completely agree with your kid – I don’t feel like myself have the time on Facebook and I often refrain from posting outside of my groups simply because stepping up to the plate and talking isn’t who I am. I am the quiet one. Therefore, any chatter from me is usually forced.

    Ugh. It’s a beastie. We’ll eventually figure it out…or not. We’re probably in the same boat, writing to the same audience. Ultimately, I think we each need to do what we feel most comfortable with because that’s what we will do best at.

    • Even though we don’t have a solution, it’s nice to know someone else feels the same as I do. It’s completely overwhelming. You are so right about doing what we do best–all I really have time for(in terms of social media)s doing something I can maintain an interest in–which is taking pictures. And blogging, of course. Thanks, Debra!

  6. I’m still playing catch up. I have not tried Instagram or Pinterest yet and this is the first I’m hearing about Snapchat. I didn’t like Facebook much when I started, but I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with it. I’m new to Twitter, but my favorite way to connect is still blogging.
    Ruth Schiffmann recently posted..Homeschool Co-ops 101 by Karen Lange, Book Tour & $25 Amazon GC GiveawayMy Profile

    • I really like blogging too. I saw a funny graphic about Twitter that said, I’m tweeting to tell you I blogged. :) Some days that’s all I can manage!! Thanks, Ruth.

  7. Love the donut analogy. I can handle FB and Pinterest but I feel twitter- and Instagram-challenged. On my list of things to figure out.

    • I’m glad you like the donut analogy. I realized afterwards I blogged 2 weeks in a row about donuts. Was worrying someone might suggest an intervention. Thanks, Allison!

  8. Haven’t tried Instagram and Snapchat. Learned more from you today. FB overwhelms me. I get so many messages and I don’t spend a lot of time on FB. I peek at it. Can’t keep up. But, it is a place where there are groups I belong to — and I don’t get involved much anyway. Would be sitting infront of the computer all day. So for now, I’ll stay with FB, Twitter and Linked In.

    Have a great week!

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one who “peeks” on FB. My husband really enjoys FB. I always chalk it up to him being more extroverted. I don’t know if that’s correct though! Thanks, Patricia.

  9. I have read exactly what you are saying about teens and their activity several times. I do like FB as a means to connect with other writers and friends across the globe. I do not think it has much value at all with regards connecting with teen readers. I would consider instagram except I feel if you don’t have a smart phone to take and post pics, you’re at a distinct disadvantage. The only reason I might go on snapchat would be to see what teens are up to and some of the dangers they face.

    • Yeah. The smart phone makes it easier. My son doesn’t have one, but he uses his ipod. Interestingly, some of the young people that follow me on Instagram have private accounts, so in order for me to follow them back they’d have to approve it. I think some readers like to know what the author is up to, but want to keep their stuff private. Thanks, Joanna!

  10. There are so many reasons to love this post! I particularly like your “Social Media Explained” post-it… and this “…I’ve been on FB for two years, but still I feel like the new kid walking into the high school cafeteria. Facebook feels intimidating.” (By the way, this doesn’t come across at all…so you’re doing alright!). Me – I feel completely lost on Facebook. I thought I would get more comfortable with it, but I find myself signing in, looking around, and running away again! I’m much more at ease with Twitter, because it is more casual, easier to get lost in the crowd, and word based. Still, it has it’s down side, too… I’m laying low for now until I get myself a new strategy. Sigh. I love the connections I have made, so why isn’t this easier, I wonder?

    • I have no idea!! :) I always heard that online interacting was supposed to be easier for introverts. Although I did read something lately that said that the pressure part is what backfires for those who tend toward the introverted. So maybe it’s the pressure??

  11. I am primarily using my blog, Facebook, and twitter. I don’t use a smartphone so instagram probably would be more trouble than it is worth for me.

    • Yeah, it’s more of a phone thing. Besides blogging alone is a big responsibility. Once you start adding on, it can easily become a juggling game! Thanks, Kathryn.

  12. I think Facebook is actually asking you a profound metaphysical question — do you really know Coleen Patrick? Do you understand your true nature? Or maybe it’s just a strange glitch or the result of setting up multiple accounts. But that interpretation isn’t as fun.

    • Chris, I do wonder that. Maybe FB knows I don’t know how to be me on FB, based on some algorithms? :)

  13. My kids are pressuring me to join Instagram Coleen. But it’s mostly pictures. I’ve never been that into pics before. Ack, social media. lol. But, if not for SM I would never have met you! And a lot of other fab folks. So, I will hang, ride the tide and see where it takes me since things change so quickly these days. You, on the other hand, have a real flare for taken fabulous pictures. So keep sharing them! Have a great week Coleen! :)

    • I agree. The best part is connecting with super cool people. I’m happy to be getting to know you, Karen! If you like Instagram, find me on it. :)

  14. Ugh, the school cafeteria =P I used to eat lunch in my car because I found the cafeteria to be so intimidating. Facebook is actually the only social media I use aside from my blog’s Twitter. I do feel like it’s a base. The problem with a lot of these newer things is that they are all iPhone dependent.

    • The high school cafeteria was so intimidating. Ugh. I will never forget the semester only one of my friends shared my lunch–and she happened to be absent a lot. We were not allowed to leave the lunch room, it was so awkward sitting alone.
      Btw, i have a smart phone (but not iPhone) and it works for instagram. I think it’s better than the iphone because everyone i know who has one is always complaining about the lack of battery life! Thanks, Amanda. :)

  15. Oh social media – how I love/hate you. I don’t have nearly enough time in the day to devote to all of those social media sites out there. Everyone has their own opinion about what’s the best site. I signed up for a couple of sites that I’ve never used and never taken the time to figure out (Google + for example). I like twitter, but find it absolutely useless because within 5-6 seconds everything is gone. I’m not sure how to make lists and find stuff again so I rarely go back there after I’ve posted something. I’m linked to my FB so I can usually find stuff again there, but it’s a jumbled mess in my opinion.

    That said, I do it because I’m told it’s necessary. So there. I need people to “know” me and “find” me so when I have something to sell (like a book) people might be inclined to buy it and support me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt
    Patricia recently posted..The Journey To Awesome!My Profile

    • I hear you Patricia. There are definite perks to blogging and social media, the biggest imo is connecting with awesome people– like you! But the whole reason I got into any of it was that whole platform thing. Otherwise I imagine I’d be completely unplugged. Well…maybe I’d be on Instagram. :)

  16. My problem with photo media sites is that it takes me way too long to post pictures. I am kind of OCD about photos and I look at all the details to make sure that particular picture is what I want circulating the world, forever. Even my recent post about the Halloween party — most of the time I spent on that post was with those darn pictures! I was obsessing over whether they were good enough in every way. Finally, I just published the thing because I knew I was never going to be totally happy.

    I’m not a FB kind of girl, either. Most of my posts have to do with updates from the one charity I support (Defenders of Wildlife), updates about writing, and updates from people I really, truly, actually know in real, true, actual life. :)

    I still consider my blog my favorite place to connect with people that I know in real life as well as people with whom I share the common interest of writing.
    4amWriter recently posted..Halloween Party—NOT Martha Stewart StyleMy Profile

    • I agree, my blog is kind of my hub too. And I have a similar issue with pictures. Sometimes I just want to do a post heavy on the photos and light on the words, but those posts can take just as long with the choosing, cropping, sizing, and putting my name on them! You
      Your Halloween party sounded and looked pretty amazing!

  17. I’m not a photographer, so not on instagram at all. I have to admit I really don’t like any social media except blogs. Facebook is too much time suck, and I just don’t get Twitter. My 18yo daughter and her friends are all about tumblr. Maybe one of these days I’ll find one that works for me.
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..Baby Steps Get the Job Done, and NaNoWriMo/ROW80My Profile

    • One of my kids has a tumblr blog. I’ve considered it, but I wouldn’t be able to do both blogs, I’d have to stop using this one, which would completely change all the interaction I have right now. So not sure…
      Too much to think about!
      THanks, Jennette. :)

  18. I like Facebook and the relative ease of connecting with other people through photos and comments, especially on the closed writer’s groups I belong to. Twitter is a challenge for me, mostly because it takes me FOREVER to whittle my tweet down to 140 characters. I am curious about Tumblr, but have absolutely no idea how to use it.

    • Oh I know the tweet whittling, changing you to u, and your to ur…:) It becomes comical. I like the idea of Tumblr, because it seems all I’d need to do is post a graphic–which I like to do, but then what? So not up for learning something new right now! Thanks, Tami!

  19. You know, I’m glad you mention Instagram cuz I don’t know anything about it! I opened an account on my phone and have yet to take a single photo, and oddly, I think I even have a follower or two! Haha! Though they’ve surely abandoned me by now! So do you just start taking photos and people follow if they want? Like with twitter? And likewise, you browse others and follow theirs if you want?
    Please enlighten me, I’d love to know what it’s about. Thx!

    • Yes, you take pictures, although there are a lot of users that make graphics (like with quotes). Hashtags are big on Instagram. You can search for a hashtag to get an idea of what gets used a lot, or use it to find peeps who have profiles that you want to follow. Some people are all about food, or nature, or their kids, or yes, taking selfie shots. :) Depends on who you’re interested in following or connecting with. As with a lot of social media sites, some people are only interested in having lots of followers, so if they have thousands of followers but are following ten people then, well, you get the idea. Overall it just depends on what you’re interested in using it for. Photo challenges are also big. That can be an easy place to start because each day there is a prompt, like “color” or “tradition” and you post a photo or graphic that expresses that word according to you (and you add the challenge hashtag and prompt hashtag). A lot of times you will start connecting with people in the challenges, especially if you check out their photos, which can be fun. And there’s no pressure to post for every single prompt, just when you want. A couple of my favorite challenges are under #bllphotoaday (be love live photo a day done by lizlens) and #gratitude30 (put together by happilyeverafternow). Plus there’s an Instagrammer called fat mum slim and her photo a day challenges have A LOT of peeps.
      Most of all, have fun!
      Thanks, Beth. :)

  20. Hi, Coleen,
    For the past few months, I’ve wondered what’s wrong with my anti-social (media) self. It’s nice to know I’m not alone after all.

    Like Jennette, I enjoy reading blogs. By the way, the image of the Fuji-strewn path from your post last week is with me still.

    • Aw, thanks, Pat. You are definitely not alone. I imagine someday there will be lots of psychological studies on friendship and online connection/interaction. But for now, I guess we have to wing it and go with our guts. :)

  21. I heard this too and it makes me want to cheer! I’m not a FB fan. Despise it actually. I think it brings out the worst in people. It’s like staring in people’s windows to see what they’re doing and then comparing their life to your own. Not my thing. But Twitter is okay. Some people take it to the FB zone, but for the most part, it’s a professional venue for me that I still enjoy from time to time.

    • It’s the comparing part that I get sucked into–it’s so hard not to–so I limit my time there. Twitter feels a little more open, like more of random mingling. Some people seem to love FB, so I guess it’s maybe a matter of personality? I’m not sure. :) Thanks, Emily!

  22. I’ve never heard of Snapchat or Brookies, but then I just joined Twitter so that shows you how out of it I am! I’m salivating over that brookie now. It usually takes me forever to join these things. I like FB for seeing photos of friends and for some funny updates but I don’t go into it enough because there isn’t enough time. Twitter can be really funny. I really like Goodreads too for book discussions and finding good books to read. So far though, blogging has been the best way to connect with other writers and readers.

    • The Brookie is so easy and so yum. The one problem with Pinterest is maybe gaining weight?? :) Thanks, Sheila!

  23. I totally want that broke! Fun post, Coleen. :) I like Facebook most, but Instagram is also fun and Twitter has helped me connect with some awesome folks.

    • Thanks, August! If we lived closer, I’d definitely make you a batch of brookies–and I’d find a way to use some whole grain flour too. :)

  24. Brookie. Wish you hadn’t put that idea in my head. From Halloween to Easter it’s one long temptation.

    I’m always this close to shutting down Facebook. It’s so SNEAKY. Second guessing what I like, and publicizing it, and trying to tell people what games I’m addicted to or songs I’m listening to. Geez. Then again it is nice to get all those Happy Birthdays…

    Funny post!

    • You’re right. The birthday wishes are fun! But sneaky, is definitely a word I’d use to describe it. So I guess I will keep my guard up, at least a bit. :) Thanks, Julia.

  25. Honestly I find the whole social media thing overwhelming at times! I like FB… but I spend virtually no time there except on the rioting groups I belong to. I’m trying to get better at Twitter, but I don’t really get it. I’ve never tried instagram or snapchat. I’m on google plus but don’t use it. I love blogging but have a hard time finding time to keep up with all the blogs I want to read… witness the cat that I’m reading and commenting on this post a month after everyone else! :) Much as I love social media on one hand, there are many days when I’d like to go back to pre-internet days and just WRITE! :)

    • I’m guessing “rioting” groups is a an auto correct, right?? If not, I’m VERY curious what it is you all do.. I mean other than riot. :)
      Hey, if I find access to a time machine, I will let you know. There are many days I pine for the writing days I had before the internet. I was chatting on the phone with my mom last week, listening to all her technology/computer woes (she had to buy a new computer and was completely lost)and we both kind of wondered, When will this newfangled internet thing be over? LOL
      Thanks, Susanna. :)

  26. Perfect summary of social media via donut analysis!!! love it.

    • Thanks, Lauri. Sadly, I understand donuts far more than social media. :)

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