Brad Rourke's Blog

How I Use Different Social Media Services

January 5, 2010 · 4 Comments

blob_marketing

A number of people have asked me lately to help them “figure out” social media. One problem with that is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Social media is really a dynamic ecosystem that contains many, many disparate parts. Some are interconnected and others are more standalone. The key, I think, is to figure out what your overall goal is and then try to make each part add up to the whole.

I am pretty intentional about how I use each of my social media channels, though I try to leave a lot of room for experimentation and change. (For instance, the way I use Twitter has changed from entirely personal to a mix of professional-personal). I try to always know why I am sharing something, where it is going, and how.

If you follow me in more than one channel, you may not necessarily see the background structure – it may seem haphazard. Even that is by design! It is all part of my Blob Marketing theory.

I thought one good way of explaining it all would be to catalog all my main social media outlets and talk about how I view them, what I use them for, and how they connect with other parts.

This list is incomplete, I am certain I will think of new connections between content areas that did not come to mind as I first wrote this. However, these are the essential items.

Think about your own social media footprint. What does it consist of? How do you use each piece? How are they connected? How intentional are you as you work it day-in, day-out?

My Blog – Main, daily source of all my key content

Orientation: More professional than personal

What I use it for:

  • Post daily articles (when I can manage it) containing thoughts on public life, leadership, new media, ethics
  • Main source of personal branding material
  • Archive for key ideas

How it connects with other channels:

  • I use Twitterfeed to automatically turn each blog post into a Twitter update
  • I use Networked Blogs to automatically pull each blog post into my Facebook Public Profile
  • I send a weekly, manually crafted email to a subscriber list using Emma for the mailing services
  • I use LoudTwitter to automatically turn each days’ batch of Twitter updates into a blog post
  • RSS feed
  • Use widgets to link to Facebook Public Profile, encourage email list signup, link to recent Twitter updates, link to friends’ blogs

Twitter – My chief day-to-day content stream and publishing infrastructure

Orientation: Mostly professional with some personal mixed in

What I use it for:

  • Sharing items of interest with colleagues
  • Sharing work of (and items found by) colleagues
  • Finding news and current events of interest
  • Watercooler chat with colleagues
  • Promote my own content
  • Use as a mechanism for getting content from one place to another

How it connects with other channels:

  • I use Twitterfeed to automatically pull my blog posts into Twitter
  • I use Selective Tweets to send some Twitter updates to my Facebook Profile
  • I use Twittercounter to keep track of some basic metrics (followers / following, etc.)

Facebook Profile – To get to know me on a more personal basis

Orientation: Much more personal than professional

What I use it for:

  • Share news and items of interest that don’t have a professional component
  • Keep up with family and friends
  • Update family and friends on what’s going on
  • Goof around
  • Share personal goals and accountability statements (e.g., personal plans and objectives)

How it connects with other channels:

  • Items posted using Posterous get pulled in automatically
  • I use Selective Tweets to publish some Twitter updates to my status
  • I manually share some of my blog posts using Facebook’s “share” feature

Facebook Public Page – My main public presence on Facebook

Orientation: Almost entirely professional

What I use it for:

  • Professional branding within the Facebook space
  • A way for people in Facebook to connect to me whom I don’t necessarily know
  • A place to share items of interest as an alternative to Twitter

How it connects with other channels:

  • I use Networked Blogs to automatically pull in blog posts into my Public Page
  • I occasionally will take a link I shared on Twitter and share it to my Facebook Public Page

Posterous – The spot where I host my fun and lighthearted resources

Orientation: Mostly personal

What I use it for:

  • Because it is so easy to post to, I use it as the main spot for my fun on-the-go photos and videos
  • Sometimes I will post a brief note (e.g., a recipe)

How it connects with other channels:

  • All items posted on Posterous automatically get turned into a Twitter update and get shared in my Facebook Profile
  • Sometimes I will re-share a Posterous link by going back to the original Posterous post and grabbing the link again (most of the time I just let it run automatically though; that is its beauty)

Picasa – Main place for photos I create and that I plan to use elsewhere

Orientation: Slightly more professional than personal

What I use it for:

  • If I write a blog post for which I am creating a photo, I use Picasa to host the photo
  • I use Picasa’s free desktop software for lightweight image manipulation (brighten, resize, sharpen, etc.)

How it connects with other channels:

  • There are lots of ways to automatically pull Picasa contenti into other streams, but I keep it manual – I just use it as a hosting place for my images that I then manually grab for blog posts

Flickr – Resource for Creative Commons images for blog posts

Orientation: Mostly professional

What I use it for:

  • I almost solely use this as a source for images to accompany blog posts
  • I always use the Creative Commons search to find photos which it is OK to use

How it connects with other channels:

  • Image resource for blogs
  • I used to be more active, but have found Picasa to be easier for me to use for day-to-day image work. If I were more of a prosumer, I might think differently, as Flickr has excellent high-end capabilities

YouTube – Main place for hosting video

Orientation: Slightly more professional than personal

What I use it for:

  • Host videos I make and plan to embed in a blog post
  • Host videos I plan to share on Facebook
  • Keep up on what others are viewing
  • Research key elements of pop culture (bands, movies, lowbrow lifestyle)

How it connects with other channels:

  • Lots of ways to automatically connect, but I keep it manual and just use this as a hosting

Vimeo – Alternative video hosting spot

Orientation: Mostly professional

What I use it for:

  • I almost solely use it to host videos that are longer than 10 minutes (YouTube’s max)

How it connects with other channels:

  • This is just an archive; I manually pull from it for blog posts

LinkedIn – Background-level professional connection

Orientation: Almost entirely professional

What I use it for:

  • Means of staying connected to people who are clearly business colleagues
  • Keep tabs on a handful of subject groups (e.g., nonprofit strategic planning) in my field
  • I use this rarely, as most of my connections are also on Facebook and Twitter

How it connects with other channels:

  • Twitter updates automatically get pulled into my LinkedIn status
  • My blog posts automatically get pulled into my LinkedIn profile

De.licio.us – Research repository

Orientation: Almost entirely professional

What I use it for:

  • When collaborating on a project that involves research, I will use de.licio.us to tag links and organize them

How it connects with other channels:

  • I used to have an RSS feed of some of my de.licio.us links that I ran as a widget on my blog, but I don’t anymore

So, there you have it. I know that’s a long list. In fact, it was a nontrivial job to collect it!

I am not saying my way is the only way, or even the best way. It is the one that is working for me. There are different, and better ways to use some of the tools. For instance, Chris Brogan collects interesting social media “case studies” and collects them under one de.licio.us tag.

How do you use your various social media channels? Let me know in the comments!

Categories: social networks
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  • Olivier

    This is the best write-up on how to use Social Media i have read! I started on Twitter almost four weeks ago and i have absorbed a lot of advice on how to use this tool or that etc…. You, in fact, have linked it all with purposes in one article. Congratulations. I would name this article a primer on how to use social media. I am glad i chose to follow you on Twitter. Thank you, @OSzlos

    • bradrourke

      Thanks so much, Olivier. Man, I need to get better at writing headlines! You are right, “primer” would have been better.

  • http://blog.trovar.com Paul Geffen

    This is a great summary. I started to explore this field recently and I have written about my own findings on my own blog. I know I still have a lot to learn and it is very helpful to be able to compare notes with someone walking the same path.
    - Paul

    • bradrourke

      Thanks so much, Paul!