Tags and tweets and hashtags, oh my!

I’m becoming quite a social media nut. No, honestly. When I look back in 2008, I laugh at that Facebook newbie I used to be. And quite frankly, at that time, I hesitated a lot to dive into this whole madness. I had heard many nasty stories about Facebook: people “tagging” you in embarrassing pictures, people “writing on your wall”, people sending invitations for quizzes with very creative titles (now it’s invitations for Candy Crush Saga), people spying what you do every minute of every day… YIKES, too creepy for my own social media virginity. But then – call me original – I ended up joining the herd. Purely for sociability’s sake. It was the end of high school and since everyone had Facebook, I figured it would be the only sensible way to keep in touch with everyone. Afterwards, it got useful for getting back in touch with long-lost friends.

After MSN and MySpace, Facebook was still a complete mystery to me. Sure, it was always a thrill to get notifications like “So-and-so posted on your wall”, to which I religiously replied. For sociability’s sake, remember? Facebook is fun and useful, for sure, but like all good things, you can’t have too much of it unless you want to become this nerd stripped off his social skills (and I mean social skills in real life). It’s all right, Facebook nerds, I’ve been there: endless boring nights, got nothing better to do but browsing through my news feed and trying to find myself some juicy gossip or playing *hides in shame* Farmville. Sometimes, I wonder how I’ve spent endless hours waiting for tomato crops to grow.

Eventually, after exploring different blogs, I got the idea of starting my own. It was my first pride and joy, hosted by Tumblr. Nothing too original but I liked the concept of reblogging articles, pictures or quotes that were still linked to their original source. It was my own inspiration board: I would browse through my reblogged posts like browsing through an old photo album. Now I realise it’s been ages since I visited my Tumblr and bothered to see what’s new… not very impressing for a “social media nut”, is it?

A few years later, I heard about this new thing called Twitter, which was around for a couple of years when I had discovered it. To be honest, I didn’t jump too enthusiastically on that bandwagon, simply because I didn’t get the concept. “What’s with the 140 characters?”. Twitter is not for writing a whole novel about your life. If you ever feel inspired to pour your heart out in a status, forget about Twitter. I created an account out of curiosity but it quickly got hacked so I gave up. But it wasn’t “Toodle-oo Twitter” just yet! I actually decided to give it another chance a couple of months ago. It turned out to be the best way for me to keep myself informed with the news! The advantage of those dreaded 140 characters is that you get the essential information in a few seconds. Fast-info-feeding, anyone?

Social Media

It was only a few weeks ago that I really managed to find the secret to understanding and enjoying Twitter. Well, who am I kidding? There is no secret, it’s basic common sense. With social media, you can’t afford to be shy. It’s about constantly engaging with others. If you’re afraid nobody is going to answer to your tweet or like your Instagram fabulous pic of your lunch, you’re going nowhere. How many tweets have I sent without getting any reply? But you see, the great thing is that the more you spend time engaging with people sharing the same interests as you, the more exciting it all gets! Social media might be bad for some things but when it comes to creating an online community and learning from each other, it is brilliant!

Instagram was next on my list. It’s not so much of a trend anymore but I figured I could give it a try. To be honest, I don’t use it that often and the only pictures I uploaded are… food pictures. That’s right. According to Mashable, I would be in the category “food porn”, while “ruining diets worldwide”: Sounds rather fancy and inviting, doesn’t it? Whoever came up with the term was trying too hard to make Instagram sound sexy.

The obsession continues with my Master thesis. I chose to target corporate communication and combine it with social media monitoring (more precisely, Twitter) and see whether the communication strategy is effective or not. More details after finishing my whole research! Let’s not jinx the whole thing, shall we? 😉

Becoming too obsessed with social media, do you think? No worries, I’m actually not a desperate case. Yet. Although I did add Mashable to my favourite bookmarks and shriek every time I get notified that my Klout score went up. Well, as long as I don’t add hashtags to each and every post, I’m ok I think…

I figured I wouldn’t mind being a social media consultant or account manager. It’s funny how many people don’t think of it as a real job. I happened to stumble upon this today and had a good laugh. “Social media guru” does sound presumptuous. Let’s be real. I can just imagine myself telling others about my future job, which would be like this:

Me: I run social media for [insert brand]
Friend: But what does that mean?
Me: I run the Facebook and Twitter pages for [insert brand]
Friend: So you basically tweet all day? I could do that.
Me: *Resisting the urge to punch friend in face*

(Quote found here… *sigh* It’s hard to be high-tech and all if people don’t take you seriously).

All right, so you get the idea. I could write about social media for ages. This clearly does not make me an expert. I still have a lot to learn! But hey, we all spend our lives learning. I still have to get into Pinterest and get more psyched about Google +. Baby steps but I’m getting there!

For everyone who’s too shy to jump on this bandwagon: social media doesn’t bite! 🙂 In fact, when used properly, it can *angelic music* change your life! More seriously, it can be an enriching experience! Recently on Twitter, I have followed many social media experts and travel bloggers who followed me back. In only a few days, I have learned so much from them and hopefully one day, I could also contribute with something. So, if any of you reads this, a major thank you! You have managed to turn me into a Twitter aficionada! But hey, it’s for sociability’s sake… 🙂

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