Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thoughts on Social Media

With all the blogging I've been doing this month, I've been thinking about social media. How do you use it? How many networks do you use and why do you prefer one over the other?

It seems there are so many social networking platforms and I'm genuinely curious to know why one chooses one over the other. Years ago, my blog here was my biggest platform for easily connecting with other people beyond the people I already knew and talked with via e-mail. It was, and remains, a way to get to know people with whom I have shared interests in addition to being a repository for the current events of my life to share with family and friends and to keep as a record for myself.

Then Facebook came along. A friend invited me there and I really thought I had no interest or time for it, maintaining the blog as I did. But many, many more people use Facebook than blog and living long-distance from so many family and friends as I did at the time and learning that I could reconnect with friends from my past proved useful and so that is part of my present repertoire as well.

Ravelry is the social networking site for the knitting and crochet community. It's really marvelous and has so many wonderful tools for organization, shopping, pattern searching, and, yes, socializing. I'm not there nearly as often as some people are, but it is a valuable resource for me.

Pintrest is an indulgent feast for me. Presently, it is probably my favorite social media site, though I don't do a great deal of socializing there. I have found it to be more useful than I originally thought it would be for me. I used to think that it was just eye candy... delicious, delicious eye candy... and it has proven "useful" in that sense. It's definitely the place I like to go to when I just want to wind down. I can just scroll and look and look if I want.

Pintrest can also work as a tool of discovery. Having moved into my home only a year ago, there is much that I would like to do with it as far as decorating goes. Fashion-wise too. As I get older and my style naturally evolves with me, sometimes I'm not so sure about what I want to be wearing. I  know what I used to like, but often that is no longer working for my work situation, my climate, or even my body. It's been helpful to pin items to my "Style" board that appeal to me without thinking too much about whether or not I would "really" wear that. If I just pin what I like, I begin to see patterns and discover what my eye is trying to tell me is pleasing to me. Then when I go shopping, even at thrift stores, which is where I cultivate the majority of my wardrobe, I have an idea of what to look for: certain lines, patterns, textures, drape of fabric, accessories and of course, colors, that have "revealed" themselves to me prior to my shopping trip.

*** Off Topic for a Moment***

And can I say something about nicely organized thrift stores? I actually like them better for the most part than new-clothing stores. They generally have a much wider selection of clothing and they are not limited to a particular seasonal trend or color palette. Jeans and pants especially are generally abundant and every cut and style seems to be available, from acid-wash, to skin-tight capris, to wide-legged flare bottoms. If you are blessed with a number of nice, large, second-hand clothing stores in your area like we are in the Twin Cities, take advantage of them! They'll support your local economy, are better for the environment and your pocketbook, and offer great selection.

***Back on Track Now***

Another way I've been using Pintrest is as a sort of filing system and even blog reader. Many pins link to great articles now as well as amazing tutorials and, of course, recipes.

The last networking site I use with regularity is Goodreads. I generally use this for my own organization as well as book recommendations. There are plenty of active groups on there too, but as with so many of these places:

how do you find the time???

I know that there are aggregate readers out there... I signed up for Delicious, but I've yet to use it. Blogging every day this month has me on the computer more than I think I've ever been and while I kind of like it... I don't love it. I can see how one could literally sit all day in front of her screen. And that's something I definitely do NOT want to do.

And then there's Google Plus, which I don't have and I'm sure there are more things, because it seems there are always more things - more links, more creative sites, more and more and more. And so many of them are really lovely and have great content. But how do you weed through it all to get to what is important to you and has you using your time the most wisely so that you're not just going down the rabbit trail? 

For me, I know that beyond this month, I will be scheduling a limited amount of time in my planner for regular blogging and it's going to have to be limited as things pick up again when the school year begins (I'll have more on my planner and scheduling tomorrow!). And then I'll just have to schedule my reading time too. I pop on to Facebook about once-a-day, sometimes twice if I'm looking for a response to a message and I check my e-mail about the same. But my free time being regularly limited as it is, I can only do the other things sporadically. Otherwise, I'd never get to my more wonderful real life things!

So, I'm curious. If you have the time to respond here: where do you spend the most of your online time? What is your favorite space and why?
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