My son, Adin and I just had a discussion about social media and a lesson on using twitter and in particular Tweet Deck. Adin has spent the last 15 years (his entire career) working for and with non profit institutions. Lately he has focused his attention on the use of Social Media for non profits most of what is true for non profits is also true in the for profit world. While, I have been on line is there was a line to get on to (starting with Compuserve in 1980) and am a daly user of Facebook, I have been struggling with the use of Twitter I thought I would share some of my thoughts about the use of blogs, Facebook and Tweeter. I suspect I will be updating this post often.
I started my blog in December 1996 (almost three years ago). Blogging was getting to be a pretty hot topic in 1996. I had tried some experiments with Blogger but it did not really take. I was on the board of a company with Mike Hirshland who was an investor in WordPress. He introduced me to some of the WordPress people and arranged for me to get a tutorial. Then I was off an running. During the almost three years I have had my blog , Two Thirds Done, I have made 113 posts and 110 comments (many of them to correct spelling). I have had about 14,000 views. My business day was 230 views (after I appeared on the MacCast) and I average about 12 views a day. But that does not count the people that read the blog posts on Plaxo or Facebook. I blogged more often before I became active on Facebook. I visit a number of blogs myself but the Huffington Post is the only one I visit every day.
I think I have been on Facebook for a few years after first trying myspace. I don’t know how many times I have posted, updated my status etc. There does not seem to be any good ways to get this info from Facebook. I have 906 Facebook “friends”. And least you think I am promiscuous, I should say in my defense that I only become friends with people I know directly (not friends of friends) with very few exceptions. And the exceptions were initiated by the other person and required a series of messages (email like communications) to establish a basis for a real friendship. I do plan to keep my list to under 1000 which means I will soon have to defriend people (that is take them off of m list of friends). I use Facebook both on my computer and on my iPhone.
I started using Twitter in the early part of 2007 but never really got it. I have 129 people following me (poor folks since I rarely tweet) and I am following about 184 people (but since I never check twitter, what am I really following). But now (as of today), I have learned that people that are not following me can still see my posts if they search for terms I am using. This is a very powerful capability. I just started to use the search capability to look for things I care about.
Then there is email! Email has been around since the early 1960s but I did not start to use it until about 1980. Since then, it has been a critical part of my life and is still the my primary means of communications with family, friends and colleagues.
Lastly, I should mention chat and voice/video services like Skype, Aim and iChat. I use skype pretty much every day to communicate with a very small group of friends and family and particularly with those that are located in other parts of the world.
I will leave out all the other one way services, like podcast which have take over a good part of the time I would have use to watch TV in the past. I particularly listen to podcast when I drive (via my iPhone).
So how do all these services relate (at least to me)? For me blogging is a substantial way of expressing my views on topics, memories and knowledge. I spent about an hour or more on every posts. I hope that my posts of longevity and I try to write them so that someone reading them years later will still find meaning in them. I also hope that the reveal about bit about me and in that sense they they take the place of a diary. I imagine my grandchildren reading my blog someday when they are adults and gaining insight in to my life and my times. I don’t really know who reads my blog and as you can see from the stats, there are not a lot of comments. So it is not a very good medium for interactions.
Facebook, is really the most social of the services I use. Often when I update my status, I get comments. I try to make my status updates entertaining and/or proactive. For instance, here is a recent status update I made on the day Nasa bombed the moon:
“Why we bombed the moon: The CIA got info that Bin Laden was hiding in a cave there. Hope we got him this time. And Obama got the peace prize because he has figured out that what the whole world needs s a common enemy and that is the moon. Look for…ward to many more countries bombing the moon. Then we can then divided it up amongst the worlds nations. Hope they do not give Israel and Palestine the same patch. “
I often post article and videos I have seen on the Internet along with comments. Many of my Facebook “friends” seem to appreciate this. I also share photos, sometimes old and sometimes new. Again, I get feedback from my friends. Most of my communications with “friends” on Facebook are friendly as you would expect but sometimes they are challenging or even hostile particularly when dealing with policical issues. I have been surprised by how man of my friends are republican and pretty far to the right. I don’t mind the debates and it give me some insight into how people with a different point of view are thinking. But unfortunately, they are sometimes offended by what is for me just a funny statement I might be making. Only one person really turned hostile and attacked me personally. It was kind of strange because he implied things about my charecter that seem very out of line with who I am. Then he defriended me (took me off his list of FB friends). I did not mind since he never posted anything himself and did not even have a profile photo (he is what is called a Lucker. I really enjoy reading the posts of my “friends” and seeing the photos. Also as many people have said of Facebook, it is a great way to reconnect with old friends. I even have a Facebook “friend” that goes back to the 3rd grade with me. I love the interactivity of Facebook. I have also set up my blog to automaticly put something on my Facebook status when I post on my blog. As it should be clear , I am still trying to figure out twitter and how I will use it. But I can see that it is a way to adverise my blog posts by using the right key words for twitter search and a great way for me to find interesting information. I don’t see that I would be putting up daily tweets but who knows. There is a way to post on both tweeter and facebook using programs like Tweetdeck. But I don’t think I will use that much. Some of my FB “friends” tweet all day and have their tweets show up on their Facebook status. I don’t like that very much
Now why did I call this post, Social Media for Seniors? Well my most popular post on my blog is “Facebook for Seniors” which I posted on Aug. 27th, 2007. It gets several hits a day. I wish I had gotten the domain for this. Someone else has it. But my blog comes up as in the number two spot if you do a Google search. And yes, I am a senior. In fact, I am just about to apply for Medicare although I believe we need a new term for people in their 60s and 70s that are still totally fit and active and with hopefully a full last 1/3 of their lives to go. By the way, my 86 year old father is on Facebook. So just I am interested about how many hits I get for Social Media for Seniors and in case it become popular and have something specific to offer, I have registered the domain, www.SocialMedia4Seniors.com.