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Amidst the confusion

by Kyluke McDougall on 9 April 2014

With all these social media networks, what the hell do I do?

Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr...

Where does it end? What do I do with all of this?

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who may not be confused or baffled but rather somewhat annoyed by all these different social media sites all fundamentally the same yet completely different in purpose, usage and application. If you're like me, you've probably spent a little time wondering what to make of all of this and how to put them to good use. Now you don't have to use any of these social media sites but recent events (finding myself in a position where my web presence matters) I've had to sit down and decide which social media sites I use, how I use them and why?

Perhaps you're in a similar position.

What did I do?

Well, the first thing I did was try as hard as possible to ignore it and make it go away, but it didn't. I've had various accounts over the years with different pseudonyms and false names with content which may not have suited your average Joe. Cleaning up was my first order of business.

This gave me some time to think about what type of content I had been posting to my various accounts and why. You see, the type of people that you engage with and the medium that you use, determines your content and your style. Google+ allows me to write very professional and lengthy posts because of it's superior formatting options, Twitter allows me to quickly get a thought across to the world and Facebook gives me the opportunity to engage with some very long standing friendships.

This got me thinking about which path I want each of my social media sites to take. Let me break it down for you.

Google+

I use Google+ categorize, manage, explore and express my interests both professionally and personally. Google+‘s circles have given me the control to separate my personal and professional life with an interesting mix between the two. From here I can post detailed information on anything that captures my interest and follow users who have similar interests. This functionality is extended by the use of communities in which you have a common theme for posting and sharing.

Facebook

Good old Facebook is the best method I currently have to stay in touch and up to date with my friends around the world. Yes, I do still call them up and we go out for drinks every now and then but being able to organize events and plan something with multiple people, Facebook has always been the go-to option as everyone there. Yes you may argue that Google+ does this better but is everyone you know on Google+?

Twitter

Twitter! I've come to love Twitter. I used Twitter for a while before removing my account because of lack of interest but my girlfriend at the time got me active again a few months later and I decided to give it another try with a very common, mainstream approach. The functionality of twitter is very limited but it's because of this that it's exploded in the manner it has. You don't have to think about writing anything long, in fact you are discouraged from doing so by it's steadfast 140 character limit. It's because of this limit that masses and masses of Tweets get sent every minute. This makes for some incredible statistics and research opportunities.

I simply use Twitter as a poor attempt at humor and inspiration.

LinkedIn

Now here's a site I didn't understand for a long time. Why would anyone use this, I thought. Until I got employed. This changed things, every important person in the corporate world seems to have a linkedin account! This very clearly defined the usage of LinkedIn for me.

Keep it strictly professional, use it to connect with people in your industry and make sure you fill in all your education, previous jobs and skills. It's just an online CV really.

This is how I've managed to make create a sense of purpose and function for each of these social media sites. I'm still fine tuning my uses but I think this will stick with me for a little while.

Good Luck...