Social media ought to be social, not just a broadcast platform. That’s my feeling at least. It’s been a while since I’ve ranted about “write-only” social media accounts, so I thought I might as well do it again. And at the same time, I thought I would update you on my promise to the people who read, follow, and interact with me online.
Don’t Be Anti-Social
It’s easy to be down on social media. It seems like every day it’s a new horror on Twitter or Facebook or whatever, with the worst people dominating the conversation. Social media can be grotesque, twisting people to interact in ways that are negative for all of us.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re careful, these platforms can be a force for good. So many of my friends either came from social media or exist primarily there, and that’s a good thing. It’s wonderful that my virtual community is connected from all corners of the world! Working with a network of people interested in IT has become my job and my company, too!
I’ve been online for a long time, before “social media” or blogging or even “the web”. Even in the dark ages of BBS and Usenet and IRC, I saw the potential for connected communities, open communication, and democratic societies. And I’ve tried to incorporate those lessons into what I do today: Be open-minded, be real, and above all be yourself. And always understand that your assumptions are twisted by the medium so we must be quick to connect and slow to judge.
What This Means For You
It’s easy to say all this, of course. But what does this mean if you’re following me on Twitter, subscribed to my blogs, watching my videos, and so forth?
Foremost, know that all of my accounts reflect things I’m genuinely interested in. If I write about something on my blog, Tweet something, or share a link, know that I’m doing it purposefully. I won’t post something I don’t care about, regardless of financial or other motivations. And I’m not trying to create a fake persona or sugar-coat my life.
Next, know that I tag and segregate content based on audience. My blog hosts nerdy articles I write about non-work stuff I care about. When I share something with the #PackRat hashtag, it’s that same sort of stuff. Work-related techie stuff gets a #SymLink hashtag and my writing is hosted over at Gestalt IT and on my LinkedIn feed. Political and personal stuff tends to get the #GoodRead hashtag, and most of this is walled off on my personal Facebook account. I’m trying to make it easy for you to ignore things you don’t care about.
Another commitment is to have moderate separation between business and personal. Sure, I post links to things that involve my business or my clients. But if they’re in #SymLink or on LinkedIn it means that I’m genuinely interested in them. At the same time, I’m not going to pretend that my business is totally separate from me. It’s all me, and I think you’ll appreciate what I do at Tech Field Day just as much as what I say in my Twitter feed.
My feeds are a mix of spontaneous posts, conversation, and automated sharing. Although I do “auto-post” to my various social media accounts, I promise not to be “write-only” there. I will read and follow people, comment where appropriate, and not spam you with robot posts. I have a very complicated custom sharing engine running through Zapier and Buffer, and the entire purpose is to share relevant links with the right audience.
Follow What Interests You
With that said, I thought it was time to update my old post, “Regarding My Symbolic Links and Good Reads“. I still use hashtags to indicate which “bucket” a post falls in, but I’ve become a little more nuanced since 2015. Here’s the latest:
#SymLink: This is how I mark articles related to my technical and work interests. Storage, servers, CPUs, cloud computing, and so on all get marked with this hashtag when they’re automatically shared on Twitter and a subset go to LinkedIn. Everything with the #SymLink hashtag is also posted to a Tumblr blog if you prefer to follow along that way.
#PackRat: This is a new hashtag for things I wish I wrote because they would fit in on my blog. It tends to be more about consumer tech and the Internet. Everything goes to my Twitter account and the Pack Rat Blog Facebook page.
#GoodRead: This is how I tag non-technical things, typically dealing with life, politics, science, and other things that interest me. You’ll see these in my Twitter feed, on a dedicated Tumblr blog, and on my personal Facebook page if we’re friends. I won’t publish this to LinkedIn because that’s not what it’s for.
@GestaltIT: As mentioned, I run a business called Gestalt IT which includes an eponymous blog, Twitter account, YouTube channel, as well as the On-Premise IT Roundtable Podcast, Gestalt IT Rundown, Gestalt News email list, and more. I share the content from Gestalt IT in my Twitter feed because it’s great, relevant, and I am really proud of what we’re doing.
@ITECal: I go to lots of enterprise IT events so I started keeping track of lots of them in a shared calendar a few years back. There’s a dedicated Twitter account called @ITECal, but I also share some event alerts in my Twitter feed because lots of people I know go to these events.
@TechFieldDay: I love Tech Field Day and so do most of my friends. It also happens to be my business, which is doubly awesome. So I share a lot of Field Day-related content in my Twitter account. This includes of lots of interaction (I tend to live-tweet while the events are happening and interact a lot with delegates and presenters) as well as scheduled shares letting everyone know when Field Day presentations start and when video recordings are posted. I also share these automated posts on LinkedIn because they’re relevant to people I know professionally. If you want more, you should check out the Tech Field Day web site, Twitter account, YouTube channel, and Facebook page!
#GrailWatch: I’ve been running a blog about watches for the last few years, so if you’re interested you should head over to the Grail Watch blog, follow the Instagram account, and check out the Facebook page. You won’t usually see this stuff in my other accounts, though I do share articles I write in my Twitter feed.
Bonus: @StephenFoskett on Twitter is a robot that shares lots of what’s listed here, plus more!
I hope you see that what I post and where I post it is incredibly important to me. It’s all about respecting you, the other side of this conversation. Connect with me wherever makes the most sense for you, and follow what you care about!