Tag Archives: Tools

Cleaning Day

12 Dec

A good portion of my day today will be spent in house cleaning. Things haven’t gotten gross–just a little too cluttered for any productivity. When I need a break today from house cleaning I’m going to sit down at the computer and do some social cleaning of my personal networks, especially on Twitter and Google+. In fact, this post will be exclusively about Twitter and Google+, because the dynamics of mutual agreement on LinkedIn and Facebook are very different.

I like to think of the streams and news feeds of social networks as a series of fountains. You have to pick out the dead leaves and rescue stranded frogs daily. This might be compared to muting a post you’re not interested in or flagging spam comments. Every now and then though you have to clean the filter and scrub the algae off the bottom of the fountain. This is what I’m doing today. The ‘Unfollow’ button is going to earn its keep today!

If the last sentence just quickened your heart rate, let me explain how I found the freedom to do this. Imagine me in a meditative shaman pose, if that helps. On Twitter and on Google+ there is no obligation to follow or circle back. Your stream is for you. It should show what you want–whether that’s Skyrim tips or cat GIFs or #YouMightBeAPoliticalStaffer memes. If someone is not adding value to your stream you don’t have to keep them in it. Take a deep breath and realize your liberation!

Now that we have all reached social enlightenment, here are some other social maintenance practices I do.

First, I know what I want to see. For me personally Twitter is almost exclusively politics at all levels, skewed strongly to the right. For @MagicBottleMkt I want to see a few, honestly-good social media people, but mostly I want local tweeters and news. On Google+ I can be more varied because of the magic of circles. I have political and social media circles there, too, but also Sci-fi/Fantasy, photography, music (gotta have some art in my life!), and alternative education.

Second, I use Twitter lists and individual circle streams as noise filters. Twitter lists are what I will be working on a lot today. I’ll write another blog post another day about lists, perhaps highlight some of my favorites. Right now, I’ll just say that I don’t worry about my main stream becoming noisy. When my circle streams and list streams become noisy and cluttered, I know it’s time for some social cleaning.

Third, I search, search, search! I may be at a live event, such as the Tulsa Oilers game Friday night, that I don’t usually have any interest in. Thanks to Twitter search I can connect quickly and briefly with other people, interact during the game, and then leave with no obligations. During one of the many Republican Presidential debates (what are we averaging now? One every 1 1/2 weeks?) I can follow hashtags on Twitter and do a search on Google+ for ‘presidential debate’ and get all the interaction and commentary I want without having to add a bunch of folks to my network. Search is also useful when I’m starting a new role-playing or multi-player game. I tend to do games on kicks and binges. With search I can gather the best tips and fun people to play with and then leave them when the game loses my interest.

By the way, all of the above makes for terrible relationship advice. 😉

Social Media and Angry Birds

8 Dec

I got hooked on Angry Birds when it became free to play in Google Chrome. After that it quickly ended up on my iPod Touch for offline playing. I am not a good player by any means, but I have learned a few tricks. One of these is to shoot each bird at the material it’s designed to destroy. Little blue guys are best for breaking up glass. The yellow bird can penetrate wood like no one else. The black explosive bird is ideal for leveling stone. In sociological and economic terms we would say that Angry Birds have specialization or division of labor. Remember reading about those concepts in school? It’s supposed to help set us humans apart from the animals, although bees have been doing it for a while.

This division of labor affects what type of innovations and tools come to be. We improve on what we already use. We solve problems we encounter and get inconvienced by. What one person invents to solve problem A is then used by the next person to solve problem A AND problems F and G that the inventer hadn’t gotten to yet.

Take a quantum leap here from slingshots, bees, and the wheel to social media platforms. Facebook started as a way for college students to connect (don’t believe quite everything in The Social Network). Twitter was born linked with ideas we now know as mobile and location-based. Google+ from its infancy has focused on resolving privacy issues that had left users of both Facebook and Buzz reeling. From those early days though each platform has grown way beyond whatever problem they were solving. Facebook is king of calendar socialization with Facebook Events. Twitter has become among many things a link farm and a chat service. Google+ is replacing blogs for some.

Imagine if in Angry Birds you threw every single bird at the exact same spot with equal force. I didn’t have the patience to try this method until I could progress no further, but I think we can all agree that your results would never be as good as if you used birds for what they’re good at. With that in mind, why would you ever publish the exact same post to all your social networks? For just a tiny bit more effort you can get much better results.

I might personally prefer one platform over another (Gladie here!), but I’m not going to dismiss the potential customers on any platform. If I’m going to do something I’m going to do it well. I learned the process, lingo, and community of each social network I provide professional services for. I do believe in a clear, cohesive message across all networks, but I always type out each post separately for each network. I use fewer emoticons on LinkedIn than I do on Facebook. I use relevant hashtags on Twitter. I try to include an image with Facebook posts, because Facebook’s algorithims favor images (this area of my Facebook page still needs some improvement). I post longer thoughts on Google+ than I would ever consider on any other platform. In fact, I’m considering cross-posting every entry here on Google+.

To sum up, a motto from my dad. “The right tool for the right job.” And if you wanted to know, I’m currently on the last game of Mine and Dine on Angry Birds. I hope to finish the world tonight!