My social network usage (Spring 2016)

Here’s a look at, and my thoughts on, my current social media usage.

Facebook

Some months ago, I shut down the Facebook page I made for this blog. Facebook’s limited the “organic” (normal, non-curated) reach of pages to nearly zero, even for those that liked the page. The idea is to get users to pay for “boosting” a post’s visibility (number of people that “liked” the page) and increase their revenue. Otherwise, the number of people that’ll see any post will be extremely low.

While that probably works fine for celebrities and large companies like Coca-Cola, it doesn’t work so well for someone less well off. (I’d imagine it also doesn’t work well for non-profits or smaller organizations.) I still have my personal profile, which I mainly use for keeping up with family and online friends. I also post new blog post links on Facebook, under the “public” setting, allowing others to follow me.

Facebook definitely isn’t my favorite social network, but unfortunately it’s too entrenched at this point to ignore, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Twitter

Twitter’s the social network I most heavily use; no surprise it’s also my favorite one. Twitter’s a useful way to keep up on breaking news and other events, and see what others think about various topics. A large community of users interested in technology and comics/animation/other media helps. So does a few online friends also using Twitter. Twitter also doesn’t curate feeds, fortunately.

I try to post new blog posts twice a day to Twitter (accounting for time zones/the high volume of tweets for most people’s feeds), and once again the next day.

Twitter’s the other dominant social network besides Facebook, so it’s also too prominent in my opinion to ignore. Let’s just hope some of its recent and current changes (out of pressure by Wall Street to make it more like Facebook) don’t kill what makes it appealing. That said, Twitter might want to do something about its problems with harassment/trolls and spammers.

Google+

Google+ has gotten a lot of online criticism and mockery due to not picking up in popularity as Google had hoped. Part of that’s from people heavily clinging to Facebook, and refusing switch to a social network where their family or friends aren’t present… and a lack of said family/friends present on Google+ prevents others from wanting to use it, in something of a vicious circle.

I’ve enjoyed Google+ despite the above flaws. It’s better designed than Facebook, and doesn’t “curate” feeds like Facebook (so everyone can see what I post). My main usage has been participating in the communities forums, which are the one part of Google+ that’s pretty active. I also post new blog posts to my Google+ profile, gaining some Google-related benefits. However, those benefits aren’t as strong as they used to be, per various Google changes.

Unfortunately, the fact Google+ hasn’t caught on doesn’t guarantee its future long-term. The fact Google hired the creator of 4chan recently doesn’t exactly give me confidence. While I’ll still use Google+, I’ve also been looking into other social networks.

Tumblr

I’ve been using Tumblr over the last year or so. My use has mostly been either posting new blog post links or posting random pictures (old comic panels, etc.).

Still, it’s not been one of my more frequently used social networks. It hasn’t given me much of a traffic boost; I sometimes forget to post things to Tumblr for days; other social networks I use probably fill Tumblr’s functionality better; and, of course, I already have a blog. Given those aspects, I’m not sure what the future of my Tumblr account will be. If anyone has any ideas, I’d be glad to hear them.

Pinterest

I started my Pinterest account about a year ago, at the same time as the Tumblr account. I let my Pinterest usage slide off, but I’ve been putting into it more effort recently (see my above remarks about alternatives to Google+). I’ve even added a Pinterest button into the sidebar. So far, I’ve found some of the pinned images others have posted interesting, particularly infographics.

LinkedIn

My LinkedIn usage has greatly slid off recently. I’ve been questioning its usefulness for finding work; I don’t know anyone who’s gotten a job thanks to LinkedIn, and it hasn’t made any difference in my own job search efforts. Traffic to the groups I joined also seems to have slid off. I’ve tried posting links to a few blog posts recently (all tech-related posts), but only a coworker’s noticed. Said coworker also noted I’m the only one he knows that’s been trying to use LinkedIn, which probably says a lot. At this point, it’s pretty much just a digital address book compiled from others’ business cards, professional connections, job fairs, and whatnot. If anyone’s ever found work from LinkedIn, let me know in the comments.

YouTube

Others still consider YouTube a social network, but to me, it’s just a place to watch videos online. I still have a few videos I made posted to my own YouTube channel, but otherwise, I don’t consider it a meaningful source of social interaction or blog traffic. Never mind YouTube comments are infamously racist, sexist, and/or homophobic, of course.

Flickr

I usually store my photos in Google Photos, and so haven’t paid much attention to my Flickr account. I’ve uploaded or made some of my older photos licensed under Creative Commons, but that’s been the extent of it. My main use of Flickr’s been searching for photos to use on my blog, such as this post’s featured image.

Reddit

I abandoned Reddit not long after initially trying it out. While I still see some spikes in traffic from Reddit, the racist aspects of some of its user base turned me off. Given Reddit’s ongoing problems with such, I don’t see a reason to return.

Conclusion

The current share buttons I have at the end of my blog posts reflect the social networks I use and/or drive the site’s social media traffic. I’ve changed the buttons included over time, but the core buttons I keep are Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

What social media do you use? Do you have any suggestions for social networks? Let me know in the comments below.

Flickr photo by Jason A. Howie (CC BY)

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One comment

  1. I’ve found that several of my pins on Pinterest continually give me long-term traffic. Your post inspired me to write about the three pins that have given me traffic: http://www.mattmaldre.com/2016/03/15/pinterest-can-drive-long-term-consistent-traffic/

    Also, for Tumblr, I use it as the collect-all favs platform. IFTTT is hooked up to auto-post my Flickr Favs and Instagram Likes. Although, I rarely get much action on Tumblr. Probably because my Tumblr is unfocused. As with any social channel, you really have to be one of two things:
    1) Extremely focused with awesome content that people will regularly go to you
    2) Extremely active in the community by liking, retumbling, commenting.
    It’s probably a combination of the two, because I’ve done the method #2. While that does give me some action, it doesn’t really snowball, because my social channels are too unfocused to really get the large following.

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