A look at my social network usage (Summer 2014)

As everyone knows, social media networks dominate online life for most Internet users these days, with Facebook and Twitter the dominant ones. I thought I’d write up my feelings and experiences so far about the social networks I use. Most of the ones I use can be reached via the links section in the left sidebar.

Facebook

I held off on going with Facebook for quite awhile, well after it’d become the dominant name in social media. After finally signing up a few years back, Facebook’s main uses so far have been:

  • Keeping up with goings-on with my family.
  • Keeping up with online/offline friends.

Like others, I find a lot of how Facebook is run and designed annoying, and I’m not big on some facets of how it’s run (mind games? Really?).

Twitter

Twitter’s probably my most frequently used social network out of them all. While I’m not the most popular Twitter user (currently 241 followers as of this writing), I have found Twitter the most useful:

  • News and updates from various sources (NPR, comics and animation sites, BBC, CNN, local newspapers, etc.), similar to RSS feeds.
  • Following various others online, including friends and famous individuals.
  • Retweeting links of material others might find interesting.
  • Promoting my own blog.
  • Discussing issues with others.
  • Posting my own random thoughts and personal updates.

Not bad for a service that only allows 140 characters per post.

Google+

Google+ gets a lot of ridicule, being viewed as Facebook’s “poor cousin”/a “ghost town.” Despite this perception, Google+ does have its uses, including:

  • A lively set of community groups, which (if one participates in such) won’t render a Google+ profile feed as a “ghost town.”
  • Providing a boost to bloggers in Google searches.
  • It’s better designed than Facebook, with less of its annoyances/flaws.
  • Storing my photos (from my camera and smartphone).

I like Google+ more than Facebook, but it’s too bad it’s not more popular. I guess despite endless complaints by others about Facebook, people seem to insist on staying with that service no matter what (versus the waning in popularity of Friendster and MySpace).

LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s the social network for professionals. As such, its uses for me have included:

  • Listing my portfolio and resume online (yes, my portfolio here on my website, too).
  • Connecting with a few other professionals, including those I’ve met through previous employment, Meetup.com meetings, etc.
  • Participating in some LinkedIn discussion groups.
  • Occasional posting of my blog links, usually technology-related ones.

YouTube

Some apparently count YouTube as a “social network.” I’m not sure why, since it seems more known as the site for amusing cat videos, video podcasts, old TV show clips, and (unfortunately) a putridly bigoted comments crowd. The latter’s the reason I turned comments off on the only two videos I’ve posted, by the way—said videos being unboxing of a previous laptop of mine.

If viewed as a social media network, YouTube’s a failure for me, as I shoot very little video, and I’m not sure I’d fare well hosting a video podcast. As a video hosting site, I like YouTube for watching TV show clips, plus a few video podcasts. How It Should Have Ended is a particularly hilarious one.

Flickr

Flickr’s been undergoing a bit of a revival lately, with Yahoo attempting to make revisions to the photo-hosting site. I’ve opted to move my photo storage to Google+. Among other things, Google+ allows bulk-downloading of photos from its site, without a third-party program required. However, I still use Flickr for its large and active source of Creative Commons photos.

Reddit

I’ve recently been giving Reddit another go, after trying it briefly a few years ago. Reddit’s pretty much replaced old standby Usenet as the online world’s all-purpose discussion forum of choice. Since my last attempt at using it, I notice Reddit seems to have eased up (somewhat) on bloggers posting links to their own blogs.

Conclusion

That sums up my current social network state. I’ve not tried Tumblr, Instagram, or Pinterest, though I know those have their fans/uses, as well.

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