Top Ten Observations About Social Media

Warning: Today's post might be a bit controversial. I'm just writing what is on my heart and what has been swirling in my head for a few months.

After yesterday's post about Making Good Use of Pinterest, one of the comments got me to thinking.... about self promotion and social media.

It's something that has been on my mind for quite some time. There are some things I just need to put out there and see if others in the blogosphere feel the same way!

I've also been wanting to join Top Ten Tuesday at its new home, Many Little Blessings.
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

When I put a little blurb out on Facebook about my writing this post, I received just the comment I was looking for. It was exactly why I wanted to write this post:

It seems like the only way to build a blog or website is to be immersed in social media. Then I have to stop and ask myself if building those things is really my first priority.

I DO NOT CLAIM TO BE A SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT. I am still learning - learning how to effectively use social media and how to not spend a lot of time doing so.

I AM ALSO FAR FROM PERFECT. I've noticed some things, however, about social media personalities on Twitter and Pinterest that disturb me. These things have almost made me want to throw in the towel on several occasions and give up on social media altogether.

What I've come to realize after three short years of blogging is that all of these tools are put out there for our use, and like anything else they can be used well or they can be ABUSED.

In this post, when I talk about "social media", I'm just referring to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Top Ten Observations About Social Media {for the Homeschool Mom, specifically}:

1. Decide if you want to even be involved with social media in the first place. Will it meet a specific need for your blog? For me, it is a good way to build community and grow readership for my blog. Some participating is necessary for reviews I write.

My blog is a tool for homeschooling my children. It brings me free products, valuable friendships with great ideas, and numerous other opportunities. I know several great bloggers who do not participate in social media and I respect their decision to do so. Everyone is different.

In fact, most of the wonderful bloggers who share their best ideas with me (usually via Collage Friday) DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL MEDIA! I think that's interesting.

2. Social media can be automatic - by that I mean you don't have to do a lot of extra work to participate. When I publish a blog post it immediately gets shared on Google+. From there I share it on Facebook - which automatically links to my Twitter profile. When I share a photo on Instagram, I can automatically have that photo tweeted at the same time. Same goes for Pinterest - if I love a pin, I'll have it tweeted. I RARELY ACTUALLY LOG INTO TWITTER AND POST TWEETS. If I read a post I love I will tweet it using Buffer (I LOVE BUFFER!).

3. If you don't monitor your time, social media will SUCK YOU INTO A VORTEX OF WASTED TIME! Enough said... you are smart and can manage your time well.

4. If you are using social media to ONLY PROMOTE YOURSELF people WILL NOTICE. I consistently see those who only tweet about their own posts or the various events of their day. Occasionally this is acceptable, but I liken it to the person who, in a social setting, monopolizes the conversation and then no one wants to be around them! I think I used to be like this to a certain degree. Now, I try very hard to lift others up and in doing so, we ALL WIN. Other faithful bloggers in your community will lift you up on occasion - it's just a nice way to behave. DON'T TALK ABOUT YOURSELF ALL THE TIME!

5. Quality, not Quantity! A little bit of GOOD information goes a long way. I do not barrage my Facebook page with links all day long. I try to upload a few Instagram photos each day. The same applies with Pinterest and I've already talked about Twitter.

Also, don't collect friends, followers, or whatever people call them, just to have them. AND.... please don't SUCK UP to people via social media. That's just not pretty. Do you have a genuine interest in those you follow, and is it worth your time to be following those people or are they just NOISE?

6. You are not nearly as important as you think you are. Think about all the images and articles and blog posts that bombard you when you get online. Don't think that everyone out there in cyberspace is waiting for your latest tweet or Pin - they're not. Don't waste a better portion of your life trying to please your "audience".

7. Never put social media ahead of your most important daily job: training your children. If you wake up first thing each morning and should be reading your Bible, or folding laundry, or whatever is needed to prepare your home for the day - and are instead tweeting with your online friends, something is wrong. I know, because I used to do this. Some people are very disciplined and can schedule this time into their day and then put it out of their mind when the allotted time is over. My personality doesn't work that way! I do not go to the computer unless I am ready to start our day and have extra time (which isn't very often!).

8. A word about Pinterest: Please don't just repin what others are pinning. Pin what is relevant to you and pin from the original source. Sometimes when I scroll through my Pinterest stream I see multiple pins that are all the same! This shows me people are just repinning like crazy.

Also... (and I've never actually read this anywhere, so I could be wrong) I think it's poor etiquette to Pin a lot of your own posts. If you have a great post, chances are someone else will pin it. It all goes back to not being nearly as important as you think you are.

9. Be careful with what you say. Being snarky or sarcastic on Twitter (or any other social media site for that matter) isn't nice. Here again I'm going to emphasize that I am not perfect, but IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMETHING NICE, DON'T SAY IT AT ALL.

10. BE YOURSELF! Don't try to imitate the style of another blogger just to gain friends... write and share about what you know and what is on your heart. Since the start of 2012 I have been doing this... just blogging about HOMESCHOOL methods and ideas, and guess what? I have been blessed beyond measure with friendships, ideas, and new readers.

What are your thoughts about social media? Do you use it? Why, or why not?