How do you network socially?

Yikes — been a while since I wrote in here. I’ve been busy playing with all the various apps for my new iPhone, keeping up with the kids (always a losing battle), trying to spend a few minutes with Elizabeth before running off to the next soccer game, work, or other activity. Oy. It never ends.

The good news is I went jogging yesterday for the first time in a couple months, and it felt great. I was jazzed all day after that, and I slept like a log. More jogging tomorrow, that’s the plan (I, ah, slept in today…).

Oh, and I’m still plugging away on the baseball novel. Almost done with Act One. Speaking of the plan, I wanted to be done with Act Two (of Three) by this time of the year, but what canΒ  you do? It’s a slow process. I almost wonder if I’d be better just chucking what I’ve got and re-drafting the whole book. No. That way is insane… I’m getting there, just need to get on a schedule.

And get focused. I noticed that I waste a lot of time plinking around on sites like Facebook and Twitter. As far as social networking goes, I think they’re great — if you’re willing to put in the time. You get out of those sites exactly what you put into them. If you leave comments, add your own links and status updates and photos, it’s pretty rewarding. But it gets to be a time suck, for me at least. Seems like you see a lot of people talking about their Facebook addiction, though it tends to be short-lived. Then you’re ready to move on.

And then there’s Twitter. Short little status updates, just like those in Facebook, but you can check out all the statuses (“tweets”) of your friends via apps like TwitterFox where you can quickly respond to ’em. It’s like instant messaging with lots of people, without being in a chat at the same time, waiting for a response. It’s another one of those new Internet-only habits that people are still discovering purposes for. I kinda find it annoying after a while, especially when I don’t have anything to share or “tweet” about.

So here’s my question. As a technical writer for the past dozen of years, I’m always interested in how people use software (we call it “usability” in the biz). So how do you use Facebook? Which page or link do you go to most on the site? (Or do you use it on your cell phone, which is what I did for a while, until I got annoyed with it?).

I tend to go the the Home link at the top first, next to the Profile link on Facebook. I like reading everyone’s status updates and their linked stories and news (I wish people would use the linking features more). If people just post their results to their latest Facebook quiz or talk about how crappy they feel today or other minutiae of their day, I tend to use the Hide feature. Hey, what can I say? I somehow ended up with like 247 friends. Me — antisocial me.

I sometimes comment on people’s status updates and other things, but that’s about all I use Facebook for — a quick scan of what’s going on with folks. And if I remember, I’ll try to add some smart-alecky status for myself, or link to a cool website or blog entry.

How about you?

And if you use Twitter, same goes. How do you use it? Do you go to the slow-as-molasses site, or do you use a plug-in or separate app? How many Twitter friends do you follow? I have about 20, and that feels like plenty. I’m kind of tired of Twitter again, actually, so I’m laying off it for a while. Tell me what I’m missing.

So yeah, I’m going a bit Luddite lately and pulling out the ol’ Moleskine again for my journaling thoughts. I also have the Stanza app on my iPhone, with my draft of my baseball novel on it, in case I get bored. I’d rather read and think about that than do the Facebook/Twitter scan thing.

I have to have a cup and book photo here, in honor of ol’ Greg van E:

Old Moleskine and big mug

Call me old school, I don’t care.

8 thoughts on “How do you network socially?

  1. I dunno. I’m no longer on Facebook, and Twitter just doesn’t appeal. I have the blog and the lj, and that, to me, is enough, considering I need to write, research, and have a day job.

    So, I focus on building my readership with the things I have subscribed to, and try to get my writing out.

    BTW, LOVED The Wannoshay Cycle, and will be lending it around. Honestly, I’m not an SF person, but it was exceptional.

    Feel good about that one, Michael.



  2. I have Facebook only because some relatives pestered me and acted all hurt if I didn’t subscribe, but I never look at it–ever. LiveJournal uses way too much time. And I have zero interest in twitter, with its lack of depth and all those numbers that make my dyslexia act up.


  3. I login to approve friends on facebook once a week or so, but otherwise have no idea how to use it.

    I do twitter on the phone is great for having impromtu conversations with people when I have downtime. Much less a timesink than going through everybody’s journals, which I do less often these days.

    Speaking of which, just sent a request thing from @alexotica


  4. Alex — yes, I find myself less interested in online journals, and I kinda miss that. I blame Twitter and its instant-gratification ways. Got your request, and you are approved! πŸ™‚

    Sherwood — thanks for dropping by! I dropped LiveJournal and just follow maybe 20 blogs on Google Reader. I still have my old LJ, but don’t use it anymore. And I’m getting annoyed w/ Twitter, as I’ve said a number of times. You’re right, it’s very shallow and a bit silly…

    Catherine — thanks for your input. I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who’s feeling put off by social networking. You do a great job with your website and journal. I’m hoping to do more writing on my journal here and less time bopping around on Facebook and Twitter.

    And glad you liked the Wannoshay book! Thanks for posting your thoughts to Amazon, too! You made my day — I was hoping to write an SF novel for people who didn’t like SF. So it worked!


  5. FYI, in a timely fashion, here’s what Neil Gaiman says to a young reader today.

    My words of wisdom: don’t blog because it could “get you out there”. Blog because you want to blog. There are too many people blogging out there already and too few with anything to say. If you have something you want to say then do it, otherwise go and write books instead. Ditto Twitter: do it if you enjoy it, not because it’s a professional thing. Honestly, there’s no point otherwise. (I use Blogger, and have done for eight years, and it’s pretty reliable.)


  6. How do I network socially? At the risk of sounding way out of date, I do it F2F. Is that bad?

    I much prefer people in person. Email and online journals come in second. Twitter and so forth a far distant third.


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