Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Resolutions For My Participation In Social Media

I joined Facebook a while ago and haven't been able to rest easy about the whole business of social networks since. Okay, I'm exaggerating. But I don't really get Facebook - maybe because I don't get that sharing stuff you're doing with others is a pleasure for you and them. My life is so based on work-gym-sleep routine and cultural consumption all before a ten o'clock bedtime that I can guarantee it's not interesting to other people. I hope what I think is, but I'm pretty sure what I do isn't.  So the whole "what am I doing on Facebook" thing turned into "am I making use of and contributing to the right sites on the Internet?"

There are two questions. Where do I need to be? And where do I want to be? "Need" is easy. I need to be on whatever industry networking site is actually used by people to hire people who do what I do. There isn't a site specifically for Insight / Pricing Analyst / Managers, though there are agencies that do a certain amount of specialising, but if there was, I would join that. Instead I'm on the general-purpose site for People In Suits, LinkedIn.

Where do I want to be? Put that way, the answer starts to be obvious. I want to be where there's stuff I'm interested in. That's music, attractive women, philosophy, mathematics, holidays, photography and other such. A lot of that is in blog-land and my contribution is by reading. I know the etiquette says I should leave comments, but I can rarely think of anything to say at the time.

Away from the blogs, we have... Amazon. This counts as a social media site: it's about the reviews. I review under my "Real Name". Books are one of my things, so this makes sense.

Other Review Sites: I'm thinking of TripAdvisor here. Google an holiday destination and TripAdvisor comes up. I do feel I should contribute, but can't get round to it. I'm very good at enjoying stuff, and taking photographs of it, but not so good at describing it.

Wikipedia. Perhaps the ultimate social content site: I have two articles from my time in telecommunications on it, under my real name. That's all. Maybe when I have loads of unpaid time on my hands, I'll do more.

Blogging. Yes. Here already. Long form, however. I don't, as you'll have noticed by now, micro-blog, so Tumblr is out. I'd like to make cool, laconic comments under equally cool photographs, but I'm a philosopher, not a fine arts grad. 

Photography. I'm not a pro, I don't do those polished Photoshop-ed pro-am photos that Flickr and deviantArt, amongst many others, are full of. It's not my style. And it strikes me that getting work up to that look, cataloging and tagging it, is a ton of work my diary doesn't have the space for. 

Guilty Feelings. No, that's not a site. I use You Tube so much, I feel I should give something back, but I'm not sure what. Or even how. I feel the same way about TripAdvisor. Google somewhere you're thinking of for a holiday and up this pops. I love the idea of 8Tracks, but the people there seem to have scarily awesome taste in music and accompanying art, and I'm suitably scared.

Forums. Like everyone else I use various forums, mostly for technical computing problems. I'm not good enough to give back in that area, and there are no forums for in-house business analysts (though there is for quants, though it's more of a career board than a how-to). This is because most in-house business analysts have a narrow and shallow transferable skill-set - what they are about is the use of in-house data, and discussing the family secrets with strangers is frowned upon.

Almost lastly, the Facebook Question. (Substitute your local social networking site for China / South America etc). I don't have a personal life - I commute, work, go to the gym, watch movies and read, write, think and sleep. What's my status update going to look like? "seven dials is... trying to calculate the first cohomology of a circle using only short exact sequences"? Yeah. Right. I'm on Facebook as so many are, to see who else is. In the spirit of reciprocity I should have some minimal, PR-friendly information about myself in case some HR department or recruitment agent goes snooping. I have the odd glimpse as to how one's page could be turned into some kind of ironic artwork, though I'm guessing someone else has already got there.

So here are my immediate resolutions. First, I will write at least one Amazon review a month from now on. Second, I will write a couple of reviews on Trip Advisor. Third, I will make up three playlists and attempt to put them on 8Tracks. Fourth, I will investigate what's involved in posting something to You Tube - if I can find something that no-one has already posted. That should get me started.

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