Being rather introverted I'm quite quiet on social networking sites, however recently I have made some changes that mean I am easily able to take part without leaving my comfort zone.
There are actually a few reasons I don't take part. The big one is that the social sites often need you to visit their site to join in. The best way to get me to take part is to make participation fit in with my life and the way I work. I like to automate as much as possible, minimum effort for maximum return - as such I have the a few comments below showing how I manage my social media presence online.
Twitter forms the backbone of my social networking setup. I signed up ages ago, and then didn't use it - I simply couldn't understand the appeal, but once I put in a the effort I realised how great it is.
Twitter works because there are so many applications to let you interact in the best way possible. My current fave app for the pc is Seesmic but I have used a few, with Destroy Twitter being an excellent alternative. Then I have Tweetie 2 on the iPod Touch and TwitterBerry (which seems to have changed its name since I last updated it) on the Blackberry - between them they cover me when on the move.
Combined with Twitter I use Twitpic and the post by email feature to send photos to my Twitter account from the Blackberry and it's built-in camera. Again this comes down to working the way I want to work and not forcing me down a special path.
I then use Twitterfeed to automate updates, automatically posting my blog entries without me having to lift a finger. I understand that doing it manually could be better, but since I only post to here once or twice a week I think this works quite nicely. If I want to promote something more I will post about it again anyway.
Another thing I use Twitterfeed for is broadcasting my favourites on Delicious. I have the Delicious Firefox extension installed and each time I save a link with it, that link get's sent out to my followers. These two things do mean I get a lot of Twitterfeed mentions on my blog, but they are all links I like, so I think they're worthwhile.
Facebook is a another site I have never really understood the appeal of. I get the spying on school friends, family, and ex's part - but that's not really a reason to keep visiting. However recently three things have led me to take part more.
- Firstly I installed an app that posts my Twitter updates to Facebook (I did say Twitter is the backbone of my social networking activities). This means I am now updating Facebook maybe 4/5 times a day without any effort. I now am getting a lot more people commenting on the things I am say or do, which is great as I am now talking to people I haven't spoken to in a long time.
- The second thing that is encouraging my participation is that we are doing more work with Facebook in the day job (at Miniclip.com) which means I am spending more time there in general.
- Thirdly there's Mafia Wars.
I have also used Facebook connect to link my Digg and Facebook, so on the occasions that I Digg something it get's posted to my FB stream - again automating my updates.
LinkedIn isn't a service I use a great deal, but the people I am connected with there are very different to those I am connected with elsewhere, so keeping them up to date could be worthwhile - and now that LinkedIn have released a Twitter app to update statuses I'm doing this automatically as well.
When I redesigned a couple of months ago I decided I wanted to do more with social media so I added a retweet button - and I added some social links at the bottom of every post. I'm not sure how much the social buttons are used but the retweets do seem to happen which is fantastic.
What methods are you using to ease your use of social media? Is there anything else I could do to improve my interactions online? I love finding out about new technologies and playing with new toys so anything I can do to make my life easier/ more fun is a bonus