Streamlining the Ways I Use Social Media

January 16, 2010 @ 7:45 am | Filed under: Computer stuff, Social Media

I’ve long been aware that I am somewhat sloppy in my approach to link-saving and -sharing. I “like,” I share, I tweet, I deem certain items Delicious, I upload to Flickr, I send to Facebook. I seldom Stumble, but recently I began to Tumbl. I log the books I’ve read at GoodReads and am slowly cataloging the books I own at LibraryThing. And those are just the social media I use regularly. The number of things I’ve tried out—well, a free Evernote account would scarcely accommodate the list.

It may be a bit of overkill, but the thing is, I really do use all these media in different ways. Lately I’ve been trying to streamline and simplify how I use them, and I feel like things are starting to run pretty efficiently.

Delicious. In the past I’ve used this social bookmarking site sporadically to share links here on the blog. The Postalicious plug-in makes it super easy to autopost links. As of this week, I am keeping my ongoing books-I’d-like-to-read list at Delicious as well. When I read a post about an intriguing book, I save it to Delicious with a TBR tag. I should have started this practice a long time ago.

Tumblr. While I use Delicious for links I want to share with other people (and the TBR list), my newish Tumblr account is a catch-all just for me. After that frustrating lapse the other week when I couldn’t remember where I read an article I very much wanted to refer to again, I decided I needed a journal for my online reading. I keep my book log so faithfully, but what about the zillions of posts and articles I read on the web? Enter Tumblr. I’m trying to be good about tagging so I can find things again, and I’m trying to cultivate a habit of Tumbling everything of substance I read online. Everything! It’s a tall order.

(And why not just bookmark posts via my browser or Google toolbar? Because the bookmark lists quickly become too long and unwieldy. Tumblr, with tags, is faster.)

So, in a nutshell:

Delicious for links I want to share on the blog, and for the TBR list.

Tumblr for a record of my online reading.

GoodReads for a record of the books I’ve read.

LibraryThing to catalog the books I own. (But really, I haven’t taken a whack at this giant task in months. It’s not a priority.)

Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Say what you will, I love Facebook. Today, out of the blue, I heard from a high-school friend I lost touch with after graduation, but whom I’ve never forgotten. She played Sally in a school production of Snoopy, the Musical. Whenever my kids play that soundtrack—which is often—I think of Lisa. Amazing singer. What a delight it was to find a note from her on my Facebook page today. Facebook, I heart you.

Twitter for quick recording of funny kid moments, quick info-searching (as when I had a question about garam masala powder last night and within seconds of tweeting the question, found myself in conversation with a very friendly author of Indian cookbooks), and participating in dynamic conversations among the various communities I belong to: writers, homeschoolers, booklovers, etc.

Flickr for the easiest way to share photos with family and friends.

Google Reader Shared Items for blog posts I want to bring to other people’s attention—this autoposts to my sidebar.

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Comments

21 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. I think about tumblr — maybe for a photo-of-the-day? — but then I just keep adding blogger-blogs. I like to keep things simple: if I have too many places to go, I get lost.

  2. Am back: okay, the tumblr record of articles is such a good idea! Very appealing.

  3. Wow, I’m using almost the exact same set of tools that you’re using, except Twitter mostly gets used (with the help of FriendFeed) for auto-posting things from Delicious, Google Reader and my blogs.

    I also really like Facebook, even when it drives me crazy. 😉 I agree that Flickr is much better for photos. I love having a camera card (courtesy of Amazon’s reviewer program) that automatically uploads my photos to Flickr when I plug the card in.

    Haven’t managed to keep up with Tumblr, even though I started a Commonplace Book sort of thing on there awhile ago.

  4. Even though you mentioned it’s not a priority, I really enjoyed the posts about what books were kept on a particular shelf. I believe that’s how we discovered My Father’s Dragon.
    I have resisted Twitter so far, although the recipe help you got was awfully tantalizing.
    I don’t Delicious or Tumble or GoodReads. I do have a library thing account, but it’s languishing. Honestly, my Google Reader keeps me busy enough!

  5. Ellie, I think any blog platform would work for the online reading journal, especially if it offers a quick-post button for your browser’s toolbar. (I know Tumblr, WordPress, and Typepad all have these. Also Google Reader has a toolbar button for posting any URL to your Shared Items, not just the blogs one subscribe to.)

    I picked Tumblr because 1)it was an excuse to play with something new 😉 and 2) its interface works really well for a variety of content types: text, videos, photos, links.

    Anna, I forgot about those “One Shelf at a Time” posts! I enjoyed writing them. I think the reason I stopped posting them was because our books migrate too frequently! By the time I finished a shelf, there were new books on it. 🙂 This is my problem with LibraryThing cataloging too. I really need to do it in one fell swoop, but it would be hours and hours of work….and since I’ve already entered hundreds of titles, it’s a pain to check and see if a book has already been entered. I have a slew of duplicates already. Argh.

  6. Wow, there are tools there I’ve never heard of, much less used. I already have felt overwhelmed by what I am using and wondering if it’s too much. But it serves a purpose. Just for fun, in some cases, but promotion. I’m self promoting before there is anything TO promote. Trying to make a history so that when someone comes looking for me, they’ll either be impressed, distressed or nonplussed. Hey, any of those reactions is better than no reactions, i guess.

  7. Thanks for this. I started using good reads just yesterday to catalog books I have read (I’m trying to read more in 2010) but I have been using amazon to track “interesting books I don’t want to forget about” (many of which are from your site!). Maybe I should use Delicious for that–I currently use delicious to track inspirational images/blog posts/recipes to try much like you are using tumblr. On a related note, you’ve gotten me on an indian food kick. Made the naan you linked to yesterday and today aloo gobi (sp?) and channa masala from a recipe in the book A Homemade Life.

  8. There are just so many ways to connect, it’s overwhelming. I use Facebook all the time, Twitter occasionally, and Goodreads not enough. Goodreads is the one where I keep feeling like I should be using it and using it better.

  9. Re: LibrayThing — it does tell you when you’re adding if the title already exists in your catalogue. Or it used to, it’s been awhile since I’ve added anything!

    I liked those ‘what’s on our shelves’ posts, too.

  10. I marvel at your organising expertise. I blog, I tweet, that’s about it. My version of book logging is to see certain titles on the library shelves and remember, “oh yeah, I’ve read that.” You are so impressive!

  11. wow, I’m glad you found a “system”, Lissa, I’m still all over the place (do I bookmark, blog, delicious, evernote, or tweet?) and more and more wishing to get back to the old days of hardly anything at all. i often feel like the more technology is supposed to simplify things, the more my life gets complicated LOL

  12. I loved reading about your system. I use Delicious for my TBR list and a TBR list of read alouds as well as homeschool books/curriculum/activities/articles and recipes. I haven’t looked at Tumblr yet. It sounds like it might could work for some of what I use Delicious for. I like connecting on Facebook and Twitter although my use of them varies widely from week to week. And my Good Reads account has languished for some time.

  13. You are much more tech savvy than I. My plan is just to gawk in admiration.

  14. THis post is helpful. Almost thou persuadest me to get a Facebook account, instead of trespassing on my urchins’ accounts. I use my blog for almost everything you mentioned, to list books read, to save links to interesting stuff, to give quick updates,to communicate with friends and family online.However, I;m not that’s terribly efficient.

    I still haven’t figured out what Twitter and Delicious are good for.

  15. Delicious is just social bookmarking, i.e. an easy way to share links with other people and/or to bookmark things you want to be able to find from any computer, not just your main one.

    There are lots of social bookmarking platforms–you can use Google Reader’s Shared Items that way too, among others. Tumblr. Stumble Upon. I started w/ Delicious and like its simplicity and quickness. Say I read a post and want to share it on the blog, I just click the “Save to Delicious” button I dragged to my Firefox toolbar, and voila, the site is saved both for me to reference later via my Delicious page, and for me to share with other readers here on the blog via an autoposting widget. (I currently have it set to publish a links post whenever I have at least 3 links bookmarked.)

    As for Twitter, oh my, I’ve had a post in my head for weeks about how and why I use it. I think there’s more to Twitter than non-tweeters realize. It can seem so frivolous, such a time-suck—one more way to chatter away your days in small talk with strangers. But that isn’t really how people who use Twitter are using Twitter. 🙂 Like right now, with the Haiti earthquake. There are people in Haiti tweeting updates to the world, sending specific information about immediate, pressing needs like the Bresma orphanage that is running out of water. Other people see those tweets and go to the location to give help.

    I discovered Twitter during the 2007 San Diego County wildfires. People were tweeting specific, important information: the fire just jumped I-94 at Campo Road (or whatever). If you lived on the other side of that road, that was some useful knowledge for sure.

    Once I tweeted from a doctor’s office, looking for a fast answer to a specific legal question. Within seconds, half a dozen people had sent the pertinent info to my phone and I was able to settle the matter without hassle.

    There are social, non-urgent uses for Twitter too, of course. You might enjoy the #kidlit chats every Tuesday night—writers, agents, editors, and reviewers all discussing children’s literature & publishing together. One of many examples. 🙂

    My husband’s company tweets. I’m more connected to his work day because of it.

    Logistically, Twitter works faster than posting to my blog—so for rapid recording of Rilla’s latest hilarious pronouncement, I like Twitter best.

    I could go on and on. I know it isn’t for everyone, and I am not trying to make a hard sell, but I am amazed by its potential.

  16. I thought I’d just about caught up with social media, but I hadn’t even heard of Tumblr!

    I am totally in love with LibraryThing. It is a lot of work to enter in all of those books, but once you do, it is ridiculously easy to maintain your virtual library. Not to mention the very cool features like the automatic recommendations, wishlist, collections, early reviewers, chat groups – the list goes on. Being a little OCD about which books are actually on my shelves, I have a separate “collection” for books I’ve read but don’t own. So you can track books read there too. It’s a love affair for sure!

  17. I love using tumblr as a baby book. I email posts to my account every day and love that I can search the archives if I need to figure out we introduced a certain food, when she started crawling, or what she liked to do a few months ago. When she starts talking we’ll post her funny quotes there, too.

    Tastebook is great for organizing and sharing recipes. It took a while to input all of my recipes, but now it’s fantastic because I can access them anywhere and it’s very easy to share recipes with friends (copy and paste to email, or share within tastebook for those who also have accounts). One of these days I’m going to get a book printed, but for now I just use their online organization system.

    For books, I adore librarything! I have two accounts: one for books we own and another to keep track of kids books that others have recommended. I keep public Amazon wishlists for books we’d like to get, but I also have a private Amazon wishlist to keep track of the 200+ books on my to-read list.

    I prefer picasaweb for sharing photos than flickr – it’s just easier for me because we use picasa to organize our photos on our computer.

    I prefer google bookmarks to delicious, but it’s private, not social. I kind of like that, actually, but I know others prefer to have them on a social network.

    I know this isn’t social media, but we use mint.com for tracking our finances and it is wonderful.

    Thanks for the tip about #kidlit discussions on twitter! Are there other hashtags you like to follow? I succumbed to twitter this week so I’d love to hear more tips. 🙂

  18. #followreader for ongoing book discussion

    Interesting about mint.com. I use their statcounter here on the blog. 🙂

  19. Oh I almost had all our books catalogued on LibraryThing back in 2007. I was so full of idealistic hopes for complete inventory management. And then we moved. And then I got pregnant with Sophia and stopped keeping up with adding new books as they came in. And then we moved again. And then I got pregnant with Ben….

    At this point I think it’s a lost cause. I just can’t bear going back through everything. Maybe in a few years when I get around to the great library reorganization. When we moved in I just pulled books out of boxes and threw them on shelves, roughly sorted out by genre: kid lit, poetry, theology, sci-fi/fantasy, novels, and nonfiction.

    And since then things have gradually become more chaotic as entropy takes hold. I haven’t even dusted the shelves since putting the books there. (Ick!) New books are just shoved in any place they’ll fit and books that have been read are never re-shelved properly. A nightmare.

  20. I’m appropriating your use of Tumblr as a commonplace book. I had been using MS OneNote, but I like what you call the “social bookmarking” aspect of Tumblr. Thanks for inspiration!

  21. […] The other day I mentioned two book-related social media platforms I use: GoodReads (faithfully) for logging the books I’ve read, and LibraryThing (sporadically) for cataloging the books we own. […]