Your Media Face

I have been thinking a lot about on-line representation recently. Not that I am looking for an Internet lawyer, but rather, how we present ourselves to the public via our new media tools: Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, MySpace, etc…

Depending on how you use these tools, it can be very easy to have one consistent “face”, or aspect of your personality showing at all times. If your interest in these sites is primarily a business one, than you will undoubtedly be presenting a very business-like demeanor to the public in all of these locations. This will be different depending on the specifics of your business, your clients, your target market and how you attract customers, but I don’t imagine many people will post drunken pictures of themselves on Facebook if the profile is intended to be a business one.

This seems obvious, but what I am thinking about are the nuances; how are you perceived when users are paying attention to the small details. What happens when a user connects the dots, when they look at your different on-line spaces. Do you present yourself the same way on Facebook that you do on Twitter? Is your MySpace page more relaxed, have you added a few tracks from your favorite band there? Do you use Twitter to gripe and complain a lot, or do you get into flame wars on boards using your name that anyone can check out?

I think what I am mostly curious about is this; if someone met me in real life, would I be the me they were expecting me to be? Although I do not run a business, as a writer and a podcaster (more details on that coming soon!) I try to use these tools to make connections with readers and listeners. I try to help people where I can, however I can. Is that the me that comes through? What about things like this:

Tweet Sample

Or this:

Sample Two

 

Should I be dissing a belief system that some people hold dear? Should I be admitting to the world that I made such a foolish error? Should I call myself a dumbass in a public forum?

Have you considered the face that you present to the world with your media tools? How do you aviod the pitfalls of saying or doing something that could turn off a potential client, listener, reader, or friend?

Social Media Sherpas?

I just read an interesting post over at Social Times. The author recommended becoming someone’s social media sherpa, that is, taking someone close to you and helping them navigate the possibly rough waters of the social web. It is well worth the read, and I think the concept is valuable.

Learning to use tools like Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon are not very difficult, but for a first time user, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Having someone to point you in the right direction, even if just for a short time, can be a great assist. I had my own Sherpa, the Duct Tape Guy Sean McGaughey. In turn, I am helping a friend do the same. I helped his set up his blog, RSS feeds, and introduced him to Twitter. He is producing content nearly every day, and is reaching out and discovering his audience. It is amazing to see him become such an active user, and embrace these new technologies.

I also found it a valuable exercise – I had forgotten some basics of setting up a blog. I am working on a soon to be announced project that will use several different blogs, and going over the setup refreshed some tricks and tips for my own use later on. There are possibly of different reasons why this would be a valuable service. So, stop an moment and think – who helped you?  And who can you help?

The Interconnectedness of Information

I have been thinking a lot about information systems on the Internet, and how, more than ever, the way we use the Internet is getting more and more connected.

On the surface, this might seem obvious – one of the great early advantages of the Internet was the interconnectedness of information, using the now ubiquitous hyperlink. What I am talking about is more the interconnection of services that is becoming available, all dedicated to distributing your information when and where you need it.

I use many different web services, such as Twitter, Facebook, Jott, I Want Sandy, Gmail, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Google Reader.  The list could go on and on.  Although separate companies, they are slowly but surely becoming enmeshed. Information can be transferred from one service to another.  I can call Jott, and it will post a message to my Twitter feed.  That Twitter feed will update my Facebook. That Facebook update will send out an alert to Friend Feed, and so on and so on. I can cross-post information, or announce to one service when I have updated another, spreading my message across the Internet.

Some people are becoming concerned with this, fearful that all this information can become overwhelming.  Recently on Twitter the Queen of Spain posted this message that encapsulated things perfectly for me:

“So am I just the crazy one who’s never gotten an IM via AIM from facebook as a friend updated her status…?? “

All of these pieces of information are being filtered through several steps, passed around the Internet, and getting delivered to you in a variety of ways.  Yes, it can be overwhelming. More and more people are joining the conversation, more and more people are getting involved, and it’s a very exciting time to be part of things.

What is important to do is to find the tools that work the best for you, for your different needs. You don’t need to be involved with everything. I use Jott rather than Utterz, because Jott works for me. I use Twitter rather than Jaiku or Pownce, because Twitter works for me. If you try to do everything, yes, you can get overwhelmed. If you focus on the most useful tools, you can easily enrich your Internet experience.

I have mentioned some of the tools I find useful. What about you? What Internet tools can you not live without?

Won’t Get Fooled Again

In my exploration of social media over the past few years I have signed up to a variety of networks; Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku, Pownce, and MySpace to name just a few. I use them to market my writing, make connections, and catch up with friends. Essentially, I use them to do the thing they were designed to do: connect with people.One of my earliest forays into Social Networking was MySpace. I have been a member of MySapce for a few years now, but I never really did anything with it. Most of my friends are not particularly tech savvy, and while I added a few people to my network, I never really invested much time or energy into it.Facebook, on the other hand, I came to more recently. Although I have been using it for a shorter time, I found it to be more useful; more of my friends were there, communication was easier, I liked the layout, there were a hundred reasons why I liked Facebook more, and it became my de facto social networking site. That it was ballooning in popularity is an obvious statement, and the media made reference to the upstart Facebook knocking MySpace of off it’s perch. MySpace was old and tired, no one went there anymore. Facebook was the place to be. When it came to marketing, spreading the word about my work, I naturally focused on Facebook. It was newer, fresher, more exciting, more people, a wealth of reasons, all backed up by media hype extolling the virtues of this site. But what is interesting is that the hype is not backed up by the numbers.Yes, Facebook is growing at a fast rate, and yes, MySpace numbers have stalled. But, if you look at the stats, MySpace is still on top, and by a huge margin:

I can’t help but wonder why MySpace gets such a hard rap from the media. There has been much written about the demographic of MySpace Vs. Facebook, with MySpace attracting “Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm.” while Facebook attracts “(t)he goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other “good” kids.” MySpace is attracting negative press, and looked at as tired, finished, and no longer popular not because of the facts, but because of the bias.What’s most irksome to me is the fact that I relate much more to the demographic of the MySpace kids vs. the Facebook kids. Those kids are much more my people, and those are the kids that would probably be more interested in the sci-fi and fantasy writing I do. It would appear as though, lead by the media, I allowed myself to follow the herd at the expense of the actual crowds. It’s a mistake I hope I don’t repeat.What factors have informed your decisions in using social media? What attracts you to a site?