I've been playing around with various social media sites lately, trying to integrate them so my wealth of assorted knowledge gets to as many of the various places as possible. My Twitter feed now updates my Facebook and Linkedin statuses; Last.fm scrobbled tracks appear here in the sidebar and on Facebook; Flickr photos appear here as well as on Facebook.
This got me to thinking about the types of people I connect to on each of these social media networking sites. In my eyes this blog serves a different purpose and has a separate target audience to my Linkedin or Facebook profiles.
In light of this I'm giving a rundown of the groups and categories of people I connect to via each of these sites and their envisioned usage in my eyes.
The hub of this particular Chris Miller on the web. It's where you'll be able to find out about who I am and what I'm up to. From here you can branch out onto each of the social media sites I'm to be found on where more information in each of their specific focuses can be found.
Although technically not a social site it does mark the start of a web of profiles on various other sites as well as providing a blogroll (which is terminally out of date) of other people and sites I follow on the web.
- My blog is for: me to post random nonsense and technical articles to.
- My blog connects me to: other sites I syndicate.
I'm terrible at using Delicious for bookmarking as well as bookmarking things locally. I tend to read an article that's relevant to the thoughts running around my head at a particular moment then move on, forever forgetting said article (much trolling of web history ensues at a later date).
Although this site allows connections to other people I've shunned away from doing so. Feeds from the likes of Reddit and the BBC combined with Twitter tends to keep me up to date with any relevant articles flying around.
- Delicious is for: posting links to interesting/relevant/funny articles and categorising/tagging them.
- Delicious connects me to: nobody at the moment.
Facebook is the only site in this list that I'd truly describe as a social media site. By this I mean that it serves no other purpose than to be a platform to connect and keep-in-touch with people I know socially. All the other sites in this list are quite focused in their purpose.
In light of this, Facebook is where most of the connecting comes into play for me. I have friends on Facebook from various facets of my life: school, university, work and other social situations. The one thing that sets Facebook apart from most of these other sites is that anyone I am friends with I have actually met, interacted with and have subsequently added as a friend.
The site itself is easy to use, little or no expertise is required to set up an account and start connecting with friends. There are various 'applications' to be added, groups to be joined, photos to be looked at... essentially it's a procrastinators wet dream. This of course means it has no real focus or goal for me other than being stayintouchwithpeople.com.
- Facebook is for: everyone! Staying in contact with people I know socially.
- Facebook connects me to: pretty much everyone I know personally.
Flickr, certainly for me, started out as a tool for online photo storage and organisation. I jumped on Flickr not long after it started up, before those pesky Yahoo! logins, and a tool was certainly what I was using it solely for.
Over time as the site developed and the whole social media thing took off Flickr added some nice functionality for discovering other people and building a photography community.
Connections I have via Flickr tend to be people I know with a smattering of people who have some interesting photos up. For the most part I find Flickr a useful tool for distributing photos onto other social media sites and it serves as an online repository of all my photos. That said however, it does make it very easy to keep up-to-date with photos of peers and colleagues who have a ton more photography skill than I (particularly Chris Hannah, Jim Moore, Steve Strowes and Dean Wright being of note).
- Flickr is for: hosting, organising and sharing my photos online.
- Flickr connects me to: people I know and other Flickr users with interesting posts.
I think I initially signed up to Last.fm just to see what it was, what it offered and to see if it'd be useful. Since then I've been off and on using the service to capture the tracks I've been listening to with iTunes. That is until recently with the switch for most of my music listening to Spotify which offers integrated Last.fm scrobbling.
The stats over time from tracks you've listened to are interesting and the music recommendations can be good especially if, like me, you generally don't listen to music that's very recent. I tend to view this more like I did Flickr initially, as a tool to draw information into other social media sites. That being said, I do have friends added on the site. The friends I have added tend to be actual friends I know and have somewhat similar music tastes to.
- Last.fm is for: collecting information about my music listening trends and sharing them on other sites.
- Last.fm connects me to: friends I know with similar music tastes.
By far the most professionally oriented of any of the sites listed here and again on my part initially used as a tool rather than a networking site. Linkedin for me initially was a convenient way of creating an online, plain and simple CV which could be easily updated and seed any full written CVs I'd need to write.
The focus of this site has shifted quite dramatically for me over time, I view this site as more of a networking site than I did previously. Now it provides a forum for me to stay contacted with people I've worked and studied with, without as many social faux pas such like drunken photographs or questionable music tastes. Ok they're not hard to find, but the site does provide a professional front for me.
As I've said above, the people I connect with on Linkedin are those I've previously worked and studied with, aside from a few recruitment agencies who try and cram job offers down your throat (can't hurt can it?).
- Linkedin is for: providing a professional front.
- Linkedin connects me to: those people who have had the privilege of working or studying with me.
Twitter in my eyes is by far the most loosely defined group of people I follow. I view Twitter as a pick-it-up put-it-down source of random pieces of information, friend status updates and broadcasts from various companies.
My follow list generally reflects this. I follow people I know as a means of staying up-to-date with them; companies whose services I use as well as updates on various pieces of software I utilise on a daily basis; and pretty much anyone who posts something interesting or funny. So the list of Twitter updates I see in my client varies between lunch orders, company/software bulletins, 160 character quips and interesting links.
Twitter is by far the social media service that I read and post to most often, though I tend to skim over a lot of tweets to find those that are relevant or interesting to me.
- Twitter is for: quickly posting interesting links, thoughts, lazy discussions, product updates... disseminating information.
- Twitter connects me to: absolutely anyone, friends are a given but other than that, anything that interests me.
So that's my rundown of the social media sites you'll see me on and my usage of and connectivity on them. I'd assume most people use each of these sites in a similar manner (barring Twitter which has various marketing and advertising uses that I'm not really clued up on). Any other uses or different perspectives are welcomed.