I started 2014 with a mission to use social networks without rules.
On Facebook and LinkedIn, I wrote that I needed a pre-existing relationship to connect. Whether meeting for coffee, talking over a meal, or the digital equivalent of having a Skype conversation, I needed a mutual bind to be friends on those sites.
On Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and other sites, I wrote that anything goes; and that I would find order in chaos.
My mission to find order in chaos changed a lot. I learned a lot about myself and how I want to distinguish my use of the different tools. Curious?
Facebook is overrated, I realized during the fourth quarter of the year. I have 112 friends on the site and I’m content with that number. About 80% of my Facebook friends are family; and the other 20% are a mix of people from my past who I’ve been talking with a lot and/or people from my present who I see more regularly. I want to use the site minimally, with maybe one update a month if that and more regular engagement on my true friends’ walls.
Instagram, while owned by Facebook, is photography-focused. While you can share short videos there, and I do on occasion, I predominantly use my account to share photos that tell a story. People follow my feed there and like/comment when inspired. Ditto me on their photos. But unlike Facebook where I am explicit who I follow, on Instagram I follow more strangers or casual acquaintances than friends.
LinkedIn is very useful as my job search accelerates. I’m networking for a full-time position in marketing communications; and I’m using the site to strategically connect with the people who matter to my search.
Twitter is the social network that I use the most these days. Its limit of 140 characters per update forces me to be both simple in my broadcasts and concise in my replies. I continue to use it to build relations with strangers.
I’m hardly present on other social networking sites.
When 2014 began, I needed to embrace chaos to find social networking order.
Today, I’m happy being myself.