Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, February 7, 2011

Becoming Fluent in Social Media

Ever felt like you were learning a new language once you started your social media adventure? Twitter is especially like that. It requires a steep learning curve before fluency is attained. I like to think of social media as a language rather than a job.

Because if we see it as a job we want to tear our hair out, trying to be on time-- (posting and commenting daily) or efficient (following back everyone who follows us and commenting on every blog we follow) or successful (getting tons of followers and comments) or getting that paycheck (hey I'm not making any money doing all this work, why am I here again?) and eventually quitting (I just can't do this anymore!)

                   If I think of it all as learning a language, it makes more sense to me.

                                                     Sometimes I don't feel like talking, sometimes I can't talk enough. 

                        Saying the same things over and over bores people.       

                                        Language skills improve with practice.

                Breaking into a new social media venue is like adding to one's vocabulary, not starting a second job. 
  
                                                                                               When I'm tired of talking I do something else, like shop, watch a movie, read a book. I don't give it up altogether to be eternally silent. 

Study and research is good but there comes a time when the best way to learn is to jump in and mingle with the natives

                           Some things we say strike a chord with others, sometimes it falls on deaf ears.

                                                       Fear is part of the learning curve.

                    
 I've studied Spanish, French and Russian, and I'm fluent in three languages-- English, Twitter, Blogger and Goodreads. I'm studying Facebook but don't like  it much. I'm excited about learning Celery Tree when it comes because then I can practice Forums, which I've never done before. I've not even cracked the book on Facebook or Goodreads writing groups, but it's something I'd like to learn as well.

What social media are you fluent in? What still needs practice? 


56 comments:

  1. I'm Facebook fluent and blog fluent. And Mommyspeak fluent. But Twitter, not so much.

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  2. College level in Bloggyville, high school in Twitter, jr. high in FB. :) Let's just hope they don't invent another new social media stream we need to swim around in!

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  3. Oh, God, Karen,it all gives me a headache. I had a Twitter account, but deleted it recently because I just wasn't doing it. I read Facebook posts, but don't post anything myself. I'm in several Yahoo groups, but don't participate much. I guess I'm blog fluent. I do pretty well with my own and commenting on those blogs that "speak" to me, like yours
    Karen

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  4. Yeah, I don't do twitter too well either. Maybe some day. Once I have an extra five hours added to my day. =)

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  5. I'm afraid I can't claim fluency in any of them...there are just too many little tricks to learn that I haven't made time for. I have fun blogging and following people on Twitter though!

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  6. I just started using Twitter - not as bad as I thought it would be.

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  7. I am horrible at Twitter because I like to edit everything I post, and it is a fast, non-editing site. Post it, forget it. I cringe when I make mistakes. So, not good for me.

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  8. Not sure I'm fluent in any. And I dropped out of Twitter class - after the first day.

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  9. I'm pretty fluent with blogging and Twitter. Facebook I'm alright in, though I get confused sometimes. It doesn't help that Facebook changes stuff around often enough though. It took awhile to get used to switch from fan page to liking.

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  10. Blogger I can do. I like it the best. I also like Facebook though I don't do it regularly. I like these because I feel like I'm connecting with real people one on one. I don't get this feeling on Twitter.

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  11. I'm blog fluent!!! I don't understand all the others and I sort of don't want to really!!!!

    Take care
    x

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  12. I like this way of looking at it. Sometimes we all get frustrated and want to QUIT. Blogspot I'm getting, facebook I've got, and twitter is still a mystery to me! I've reached the point where I'm just trying now. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  13. blog and facebook, Si!
    twitter and myspace, No!

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  14. I'm a social media stutterer, so IMing is very hard for me. That said, I recent participated in a very fast-paced live forum while IMing with the moderators on the side. It was difficult, but the others in the conversation were forgiving. I think it is that conversational element that matters. And not just because conversations aren't one-sided--it's because we communicated with other to learn and share what we have learned.

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  15. I love this new blog language I'm learning, and I enjoy goodreads, twitter and facebook almost as much--each for its own offerings. It's been a steep learning curve for learning all these languages at once!

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  16. Just Blogger at the moment! Still feel clueless when it comes to Twitter.

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  17. I'm with Alex. Just blogger.
    I have Twitter and facebook accounts but Twitter in particular seems to go over my head.

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  18. Love blogging. Hate Facebook. Kinda liking Twitter. I think Twitter is the hardest to learn. The new Twitter is a little easier. I don't use it so much for communication, but with breaking news, Twitter is where you find the most up to the minute stuff.

    Facebook, on the other hand, is manipulative and invasive. It's all about businesses finding out about you to sell you stuff. And the new Facebook doesn't even allow you to list activities, books, or music that don't have corporate logos. It's creepy and scary to me.

    I also think Facebook has peaked. When stuff gets too corporate and business-oriented, the creative people leave. When the cool people go, the masses follow. Look at the mass exodus from MySpace. I predict the same for Facebook soon. It's mostly useful for sharing photos--but every photo you put up becomes public property. I'd never put kids' photos there.

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  19. funny stuff here. I didn't want to be a blogger, but here I am. I did MySpace long time ago and switched over to FB to keep up with my friends around the globe... Twitter I haven't tackled. But I'm sure it's coming~ :o)

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  20. LTM, Try Twitter. I predict it will take over Facebook. (if you read Anne's comment above)

    Anne, You are my new best friend. I've been thinking this for awhile. I think Twitter will knock Fb out of the water. Twitter is where the cool creative people are. And on blogs. Have you tried Linkdin? That's one I didn't mention but want to try.

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  21. I blog and I’m on Facebook and Twitter. I feel I do ok blogging, but there’s always room for improvement. However, I definitely need more practice with Facebook and Twitter.

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  22. I like the language learning analogy, Karen. Blogging is my favourite. I'm on Facebook but am not very active. It's good for catching up with friends not seen very often but there is so much inane stuff on it. I haven't tried Twitter yet and fear that it might suck up loads of time. I like Goodreads, but don't yet think of it as social media; I simply like to record my reads there.

    I will try Twitter as you can't have an opinion on something until you've tried it.

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  23. Blogging is the only one I'm fluent in but I'm getting adequate in Goodreads. Still stumbling along in Facebook and Twitter.

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  24. Blogger.
    However, by the end of the year, I hope to speak broken Facebook.

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  25. fluent in blogger, twitter (though I don't like it much), Facebook, but I am a babe when it comes to Goodreads. Just started learning that one.

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  26. I LOVE Facebook but keep it mostly for blogger friends and family. Twitter drives me a little nuts but I use it:)

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  27. Well, I have a masters in Blogger. Right now I'm working on my degree in Facebook and Twitter. LOL

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  28. I first did FB for a couple years but then I discovered blogging and rarely go into FB anymore. It's just crying in the closet.

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  29. Just Blogger for me right now. Spring is coming soon and chores need done.

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  30. Lets see... Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Blog, Blogfrog and I know there are more I signed into but did not like. I disagree about Facebook though, the social industry actually reports just the opposite, sorry. Really I still enjoy the old fashion email system but then I'm a 1 on 1 type :) Great thoughts here though!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  31. Jules, I'm curious about the race between Facebook and Twitter. I vote for Twitter but I could be wrong. It does happen every so often :) My next stop is Linkedin.

    The Happy Whisk, Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! I blog for fun too. In fact I do it all for fun.

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  32. Karen, you are so right about this. I gave up a week of my life trying to learn the blogging language, but it was worth the effort. Twitter was bumpy at first, but a good writer friend helped me through that one. Now I'm addicted to both!

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  33. I think I am almost fluent in Blogger. I am pretty fluent in Facebook too. Twitter, now there is a language I just don't seem to be able to get to grips with. I am trying to come to grips with Goodreads. But it too is evading me. Still I have a better understanding of it than Twitter!

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  34. I just can't imagine how people find the time to do all of the above. "Just blogging" takes up a lot of my time and then there's my job, and life, etc.! Besides, I think that Facebook is boring, and I haven't tried Twitter, yet, but can see how it would be a good business tool.

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  35. I kind of want to try Twitter now just because I've been reading tweets from people like Conan o'Brien and they're hilarious. But my phone is archaic and breaks down if I try to do something basic like turn it down, so I can't really tweet from it. Maybe once I update my phone I'll try it.
    I'm not really fluent in any other social media, since the only one I've really tried is blogging. I do like blogging a lot, though, because it gives me the opportunity to "meet" new people that I might not have met otherwise. And I get the chance to read interesting writing.

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  36. Hi Karen,
    How are things in your neck of the blogs?
    I'd like to say I'm fluent in Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and Goodreads, but I'm quite sure there's still plenty I don't know. Baby steps. ;)

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  37. I don't think I'm fluent in any of it. I'm certainly more comfortable than I was when I first started, but I still stumble and type things I wish I could take back. I quit Facebook, which I don't regret at all, and I'm kind of a drive-by Tweeter :) I guess blogging is what I do best!

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  38. Facebook and Blog! And that's enough for me! :o)

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  39. Love blogging. Facebook is good for pictures and casual conversation. Twitter is a massive dialogue, often with noone in particular. Linked in groups is another great place to be.

    The interesting thing is that there is always more we can do!

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  40. It's funny you liken it to learning a language because I am very good at picking up languages and I have to say, I've taken to social media like a duck to water! Yes there have been some lessons learned and I wasn't perfect first time but I definitely feel I have a good handle on it now.

    I think your advice re: seeing it as learning a language is excellent though - and somewhat takes the sting out of a lot of the frustrations people have with social media - great post!

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  41. I'd never thought about social media in that way before but you are so right. Personally I'm fluent in Twitter but I must 'speak' Facebook with an obscure accent because my conversations there never flow and, yes, I'm always comparing the number of other people's followers to my own and how many comments they get compared to how many I get. It's a bit like being in competition with the other kids at school all over again.

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  42. NICE! I can ask for the bathroom and order water in Twitter, but that's about it. On the other hand, I am pretty good in Blogger and Facebook. As for other forums... I will have to see... I like the analogy!

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  43. I'm fluent in blogging and email and google chat and that's about it. Don't think I could face twitter right now.

    Jai

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  44. Just trying to be a worthwhile blogger!

    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

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  45. Fear is part of the learning curve LOVE THIS!

    I'm fluent in blogger, lisp a little on facebook, and stutter on twitter. :)

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  46. So far only blogging.. but I know exactly what you mean about Twitter! It really does feel like having to learn a whole new language.

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  47. I'm always learning.I do need to utilize twitter more as I've slacked off it the past couple months.

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  48. I kind of feel the opposite about Twitter - it seemed simple and logical straight off. Facebook, though, is a bit of a confusing morass of stuff. Walls! Adverts! Randomly-placed buttons! I'm getting better at it slowly ...

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  49. Blog and Facebook (account for writers). I tried to tweet/twitter but I cannot concentrate on it so much.

    With the Facebook account I have found some valuable resources ans support.

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  50. Glynis, I'm working on getting active on the FB writer's group that you and i are both on. I've seen you there, and decided I need to practice that language and learn it better.

    Simon, That's how I feel about the two of them as well. I enjoyed the learning curve of Twitter, and still enjoy it while Facebook just annoys me. But I'm trying to get over that.

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  51. Love this post, Karen. I think I'm okay in most of them, but there are times when I just don't feel like talking!

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  52. I love blogging. Facebook is easy for me because it takes less time to make a quick comment/connection. I still won't do twitter because I really can't afford to lose any more time. I've vowed to write 15 minutes a day this month, and even that is hard with work, family, and blogging.

    I love the way this post looks. You are becoming so savvy!

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  53. Fluent in blogger and I find facebook to be a necessary evil as it keeps me in touch with friends abroad. I don't post pictures on it though. Twitter is an alien world as I'm not very good at talking in sound bytes to random people. The character limit is well... too limiting for me.

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  54. Good luck with FB and Tweeting. I'm blog fluent and forum fluent but facebook and twitter I've not mastered. I guess I'm busy enough with blogging etc. anyway :O)

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  55. So far English, Facebook, and blogger are my best. Followed closely by goodreads and twitter. I do my best to stay active and have fun with it. The minute I feel stress I step back to avoid losing all of my languages at one. It takes time but with it I know we can master it all!

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