I have found the easiest way to get a handle on all the various and ubiquitous social media platforms is to think of them as parties. Parties you need to attend, parties you want to attend and parties of which you’ve lost the address.
Facebook is the hang out, it’s lunch in the cafeteria or the break room. It’s about showing off photos of the grandchildren, yours of anyone else’s Facebook is as casual and sometimes as inscrutable as any random social gathering.
Twitter is that big ass cocktail party – or for a younger version, it’s that big ass party at your second best friend’s house when the parents are out of the country.
At this party you look around for those people you heard would be here and they are, here at the same party as you! And like any party, you can stalk them. Hang around the edge of the group and listen in and this time when someone suddenly turns to you and asks a question, in the twitter world, you have time to think of an answer.
Linked In is the business networking party you’ve always meant to attend but something more important has always taken priority, like dusting the filing cabinets because you haven’t used them in three years.
I just joined Google Plus at the behest of my podcast partner. It’s like hanging out in the band room during lunch.
And just in case you thought I forgot – You Tube is essentially Spring Break. Where do you think all that material for Girls Gone Wild originates?
Parties take time and energy, you must dress, you must drive, you must placate your spouse and assure them they will enjoy the drive the drinks and the company. So before I launch myself at a party invitation, I consider what my goals are. The Food? Open Bar? Is it held in an interesting venue? And the most important – who else will be there? Ask these same questions of any Social Media outlet: who is there?
Facebook – the Family Reunion
Just as like you attend a family reunion to chat up family members, or attend a high school reunion to determine that the guy you had a crush on in high school is actually really boring . . . Sorry, you’ll find everyone on Facebook. It’s not fully accurate, people not only exaggerate, they also only post the good news, so do be aware, the accuracy of Facebook information is of the same rigorous level as a holiday newsletter. But Facebook is interesting and fun and in my case, it’s the only way I know my children have moved.
Linked-In: Ultimate networking with no free wine
If you are not in the work world, and you aren’t interested in consulting or staying in touch in your field, they don’t bother with Linked-In. If you are in the work field, this is it, the ultimate networking party where people of actual influence troll for talent. If you are in business – you need to dress up and attend this soirée. And just as you dress for a business networking event, it’s important to look good on Linked -In. So keep your profile as current as possible with projects and accolades.
Google-Plus – the tiny hotel suite on the sixth floor – room 6057, or was it 6158?
The advantage of Google plus is the smaller population. If you are looking to build a tribe, this venue could be easier – it’s like a cocktail party that fits in a hotel suite.
Twitter – Mad party with little to no adult supervision
Twitter – this is the monster, and just through your own twitter account there are ways to manage it: just as people cluster according to common interests, you can organize the flow of tweets according to what YOU are interested in. But just as you won’t speak to everyone in a big 150 plus dinner party, you will not conquer Twitter very quickly. It’s best to just belly up to the bar and order a martini – talk with the guy next to you. Ask if he knows anyone.