Baby boomers and other women over 40 may recall the simpler days when social interaction was a lot less complicated. But with the younger generation interacting on a myrid of social sites using a variety of techie tools, from a personal laptop, to a corporate blackberry, to an iPhone—expecting you to do the same,.
Along about now you may be scratching your head, wondering where to begin. But don’t do it to please others or base your choice out of a fear to not look or act old. Figure out which, if any, online social interaction you’re most interested in, and do only what you’re comfortable doing. Because it’s really more about personal social style than age.
So, to get started, allow me to explain the differences in the three major online hangouts: Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs.
Facebook—The Ultimate Cocktail Party
There are people who are the consummate host—they love to chit chat at cocktail parties, entertain people in their home, and spread themselves among large groups of people. They are charismatic people-people. Lots of people love to be around them—especially people who also tend to congregate with crowds.
Facebook is like that. You may have tons of "friends" who may or may not really be your friends. You socialize at nobody’s house in particular. You work the room, chit chat with many people, but never really say much. Some people love that. You can post pictures, play games, and basically feel like you’re at a cocktail party.
What I like about Facebook: You can connect with a group of people at once—good especially for self-promotion or staying in touch with people you wouldn’t do otherwise. Many families now communicate only through their Facebook Inbox—good if people wouldn’t ordinarily communicate at all. And like any good cocktail party, I can meet new people, catch up with others, and invite them to my place—my blog.
What I don’t like about Facebook: You don’t really own your space like a blog, be as creative as you’d like to be and you only reach people who may not really be your friends. Or you may have a mix of friends—old school mates, co-workers, people from disparate online communities, and relatives. Oh, and you may have some real friends, too. but it’s difficult to really express yourself and sometimes you feel like you’re the wallflower standing all alone on the sidelines of the party. You express yourself best in small groups and for longer blocks of time.
Twitter—Pickup Lines at the Local Bar
Interesting that not everybody on Facebook is on Twitter and vice versa. Twitter is a scaled-down version of the Facebook status line. You can post links and links to photos but you only have 140 characters to say what it is you want to say. it’s like sitting up at your neighborhood bar, handing out pickup lines, hoping somebody will respond to you.
What I like about Twitter: It works well for self-promotion and attracts other people who are like-minded, which can feel more social, being connected by a common interest. But if you speak about too many different types of topics, you’ll end up with a disparate group of followers. And most of these will be following you in hopes that you follow them. But it’s a good place to meet new people, hand out your business card (your url), and hope they show up at your place—your blog.
What I don’t like about Twitter: It doesn’t work that well for self-expression and is best used for self-promotion.
Blogs—One-on-One Time or Pull up a Seat and Have a Glass of Wine
Blogging is much more my style. I once said I was born to blog. Blogging is like inviting over a select group of friends where you gather in the kitchen (often just one special friend), pour some wine, and chat about the meaning of life hoping to discover the meaning to your life, while sipping and snacking. You can decorate how you wish and talk for as long as you’d like. There’s much more a sense of intimacy compared to other social interaction.