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Two months ago yesterday, I launched myself, feet first and limbs akimbo, into the world of blogging, twittering, facebooking and generally making a pest of myself on the interwebs.
I knew not what to expect. Could I hold myself to 140 characters at a time? Could I keep up a blog schedule and still feed the family? Would anyone ‘like’ me on Facebook, or would I be a Nelly no-mates and have to retreat to somewhere with no internet access (the moon, perhaps) and drown my sorrows?
The answers turned out to be, respectively, mostly, mostly and I haven’t disappeared into the bottle yet (although if you want to head over to my FB page and like me, you may save a poor writer from a clichéd fate. Just sayin’…)
But in order to keep up with my new activities, not to mention those of all my new friends (Blogs to read! Tweets to respond to! Smart-arsery to be perpetrated!) I have taken to using the iDevice in bed of an evening. This led my long-suffering other half to comment, the other day, that he had lost his wife to the Tweetgeist. I said he had not, I was right there. He said he had. I was there, but not, I was off wandering the wilds of the Blogiverse and the FacePlace and nowhere to be found. He said I had become a creature of the interwebs, a new species and that a new name must be found for me.
That is how I became the Greater Twittering Blog-Face*.
He actually rang me from work yesterday and wouldn’t talk to me until I identified myself as the Greater Twittering Blog-Face (or GTBF, for short). You see what I have to put up with. 😉
Ahem. Anyway, now that I am doing all these things, finding ways to squeeze them in without completely wrecking my writing time, familial relations or body (from the constant computer-using, what were YOU thinking?) is a challenge.
A few things have helped with that, and since this is Friday Favourites day, I will share them.
First, TweetDeck. This is a tool provided by Twitter that you can download free to your desktop, or use online, that allows you to stream your tweets so you can keep up with the cocktail party chatter more easily. My favourite tool in TweetDeck is being able to set up a column for ‘interactions’. This includes any time you’re mentioned (tweeted to directly, included in a conversation, retweeted) but also includes when new people follow you. This has made keeping up with new followers much easier and allowed me to stop notifications coming to my inbox. I choose to keep my email separate from the social media stuff, so I don’t get distracted while working.
An alternative to TweetDeck is HootSuite. This is an online system that can be used to oversee all of your social media platforms (well, all the ones I use, anyway, haven’t investigated the others!). There are apps available for iDevices and Android devices and many people I know swear by it. I use it on the iDevice for Twitter management. I have set it up on the desktop, but haven’t really explored it yet. Although I see the potential value of having everything in one place, I still find it easier to deal with each platform separately.
I probably should mention here that I love WordPress, the blogging platform that I use. (You’re reading on it!) It was recommended to me as the best platform for ease of use and metrics and the like and I have not been disappointed. Not to diss any of the others, but, in my experience, this is one hellava professional platform to work on and there is a great WordPress community which has rapidly become my second home. Also, it’s free. I am grateful.
And just to finish with something completely different, if you use a laptop in bed, or on the couch or in the hammock or wherever, hie yourself to Ikea and get yourself one of these. It’s a kind of stable-table thing for your laptop and it is very helpful.
Do you have any favourite things that help you manage your online life? Let me know! I am all ears! (No, eyes. Whatever.)
*There was a long and somewhat heated discussion as to whether it was the Greater Twittering Blog-Face, or the Lesser Twittering Blog-Face. This is where it settled, but there is no guarantees it will stay that way. We reserve the right to evolve our stupidity at will. Reports that ‘The Greater Twittering Blog-Faced Loon’ was also suggested are greatly exaggerated and should not be credited.