I find myself (more and more), each day, living in my social media. I originally started focusing on my online presence around 2001, to make sure I was marketing my company, including myself, to improve my networking capabilities. During those early days of social media, it was pretty simple and focused. I predominantly used Livejournal for two years until eventually I came to use Myspace, in 2003 before Facebook existed. I actually remember an event organizers yelling at me over my inexperience using MySpace, “You own your own business, conventions, and you don’t use MySpace? What are you crazy? Not taking advantage of the most powerful and free marketing tool in the world?”
I remember finally listening to him and taking the time to create a MySpace profile. I remember not liking the system at all…But learning to deal with it. Adjusting the pages to my liking, which felt pretentious and egocentric, stripping away some anonymity, but practical and useful. I had to admit, it was a great way to connect with other companies similar to mine, as well, connect to other industry events, and many of the people I interacted with in the convention & entertainment world.
Prior to using any of the above, I was predominantly a big forum posting geek. Known on many different forums, one in particular, a favourite among anime fans, and myself (I had over 20,000 posts, and somewhere in the realm of 1000 topics created), as well as other forums and IRC channels I happened to haunt. Eventually keeping track of so many posts across multiple forums was becoming a job in itself. I started using Facebook. Very quickly I was being pulled away from needing to use MySpace – and at the time (2006-2007), MySpace (sort of) became the defacto porn-phishing networking tool. Less and less of the targeted viewers you wanted were actually using MySpace. This was becoming more prevalent as time went on. It was more of a placeholder by 2008 (at least for me). I started to work on a variety of these websites:
Youtube, LinkedIn…Eventually Twitter, Tumblr, Photobucket…Vimeo, Instagram, Pinterest, IMDB, Stage 32, Google+…Foursquare, Yelp…Flickr, even Blogger. Then came the in-built communities that derived simplicity for these networks, like Disqus to comment on various websites while it connects to facebook and twitter, among other tools. Eventually leading to the use of various apps that continued to connect to separate “networks within networks”, like Quora, Spotify, ResearchGate, and BranchOut…Not to mention the various inner groups from each tool… Followed by various contact maintenance tools to help aide in communication between all of these tools & networks, I ended up using Plaxo… I have all of the above, well, recently I added Pinterest and Tumblr (which are not completely setup yet XD). Not to mention additional accounts for some of these to separate myself as a person, unsuccessfully, from my work…Then there are the additional pages maintained for projects and films, or subsidiaries of my company, like Haven Comics, Kids…etc. It’s a bit daunting to actually keep up with all of these all the time, and keep them separate for ease of use…
If you’re a gamer, there are many others that add to this pile, mostly console or steam based communities, that drive your use by rewarding digital achievements, that (for the most part) are useless. I almost want to write an entire book on networking, how to break down all of the ridiculously connected tools on the internet to teach people ease and simplicity. But who the hell has the time! I’m already finishing three other books…So for now, a 10 item list will suffice.
However, depending on your lifestyle or the business you run, with varied marketing needs…there might not be an easy way to do it all…But here are a few basic tips to help you start. At least, for the purposes of this article, which is more for my personal edification in the middle of the night (because I’m still wide awake, and the sun is already rising).
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