Thursday, October 01, 2009

social path

Former Knox County Commissioner Sharon Cawood gave me a quick lesson in social networking on Wednesday. I had posted a Twitter update about my remote broadcast from Weigel's. She sent a reply asking for more information. I had already left home and my computer by then and didn't see her message. Some of her followers were able to supply directions to the remote. When Sharon arrived at the store, she said that if I had been one of her followers, she could have sent me a direct message which would have been forwarded to my cell phone. She talked me through the steps of sending the message "on scawood" to Twitter, which put her on the list of Twitterers I read. She also showed me the TweetBeep application on her phone which notifies her whenever she is mentioned on Twitter. As a fan of Google Alerts, I also signed up for TweetBeep. Mine just goes to my email.

While talking with Sharon, I asked her about some Twitter dilemmas I've been having. I had started following a feed about Christmas music that interested me. I quickly tired of it when they posted the same information about an upcoming CD multiple times per day. I felt a little bad about un-following them because they had followed me back. But seriously, how many times a day do I need to be reminded that they got William Shatner to be on their CD?

I'm having a bigger problem deciding what to do about a local Twitterer. After meeting the person a few weeks back, I wanted to be polite and follow their feeds but I find them to be confusing. Almost all the messages were replies to other people. Reading only half of a conversation is frustrating. I prefer tweets that are written as if to a third party rather than tweets that target an individual. To be fair to this person, I have publicly acknowledged that I don't follow a co-worker's tweets for the exact same reason. So far, I've stopped following one guy who hasn't posted anything since I joined Twitter and three or four people who post too darn much.

Facebook has presented a couple of challenges lately too. It's no secret to my blog readers that I maintain a Facebook page for listeners and another for business contacts and co-workers. Most of the time I can post the same stuff on each but there are plenty of exceptions. Last Spring, two people I didn't know sent friend requests to my business contact page. Instead of accepting, I sent them friend requests from my listener account. Over the summer, one of the two, a married woman, would occasionally post comments with a slightly negative slant that I didn't understand but just left alone. Last week when I mentioned the FBI Citizens Academy, I got comments and queries from some listeners. The woman in question posted a response to one of my listeners that was very negative toward the FBI. I quietly un-friended her.

The other problem came from a recent high school graduate who posted some sexual and excretory jokes on my wall. The audience attending an Einstein Simplified show knows that I can enjoy ribald humor as much as anyone. However I must hold my Facebook page to a higher standard. The improv show takes place in a bar that used to be a 19th century brothel. The Facebook page is open to listeners of all ages who do not need to be inadvertently exposed to rude language. I deleted the idiotic comments from the young man and un-friended him, which seemed to anger him. This morning he spammed both my walls with a series of YouTube links that I didn't bother clicking. Not only did I delete his trash, I blocked him from being able to see my pages.

The whole experience made me realize that I still have much to learn about the world of social networking. Ken Mueller, who I knew when he was a radio curator at the Museum of Television & Radio, learned of my plight and offered to help. I will contact him soon but in the meanwhile I've been reading some of his blog posts about social media. He included a link to a funny essay that I could identify with: "the 46 stages of Twitter."

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Anonymous Taylor C. said...

Good for you Frank on getting rid of those "friends." People just don't realize that posting such garbage on a person's Wall makes everyone look bad.

Blogger ames said...

way to go on upholding your integrity and looking out for younger or more sensitive visitors to your FB page. :)

also, in answer to your question about how many times a day do they need to tell you they got Bill Shatner to record a cd: ONE THOUSAND TIMES PER DAY = TOO FEW. that is AWESHUM!!! ;D


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