What to do with all these web apps?
July 14, 2010 2:26 PM   Subscribe

What should I do with Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Livejournal, Flickr, Tumblr and my own website?

I have accounts on all of the above sites and my own website, but rarely post to them, but would like to. Yet I still don't (perhaps because I'm an introvert?). Part of if is that I'm not sure what how to separate all the services or even why I should have them all. I have a variety of interests, yet the decision about what service to use to broadcast my thoughts often seems overwhelming.

So my questions are this:

What are the generally understood differences between the above sites?

Is there any real need to have so many?

Does one even need their website anymore since everything seems geared towards being social?

If you had trouble finding something to write about on the web and eventually discovered it, how did you go about finding that thing to write/talk about?
posted by Saturn XXIII to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Take some photos, post them to Flickr, with a CC license if they are something you truly wish to share.

Twitter is for announcing things, and spotting trends.

Blogger is for documenting things and longer posts, but don't count on getting a lot of readers.

Facebook is for letting someone else try to extract value from your social networks, or playing Farmville.

I've not used Livejournal nor Tumbler.

The key is to write, just start writing. You won't have a large audience to worry about offending for quite some time, so enjoy the freedom of saying whatever the heck you want.
posted by MikeWarot at 2:35 PM on July 14, 2010

Use flavors.me and keep it simple
posted by philad at 2:38 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Compared to Facebook, Livejournal has great privacy controls, and a community that is somewhat dedicated to keeping things that way; Facebook has repeatedly made opt-out changes to its privacy controls in ways that expose more user data.
posted by a snickering nuthatch at 2:41 PM on July 14, 2010

Well, the way I see it, you've got to identify what your online identity offers to the world, who the people are you are connecting with, and figure out how people are finding you. Are you connecting only with friends and family and just put out an occasional bit of news? E-mail or a social networking venue might be adequate. Are you a specialist in your field or have interesting hobbies? A good blog or a traditional website might work better. In my line of work I do an immense number of Google searches, so I tend to stumble across new names, people, and info by hitting actual HTML webpages and hosted blogs; conversely I miss out on most of the stuff on Facebook and Twitter.

I think the idea here is not to fit yourself to the venues but to identify the who, what, and how of your online presence and then figure out which venues do the best job for that kind of thing. You can then prioritize the venues and do as many as you can with your available time.
posted by crapmatic at 2:46 PM on July 14, 2010

The only reason you should really be using all of those sites is if you are building a brand or trying to promote your work, small business, or the like.

I have a tumblr for travel blogging and writing projects that I'd like to share with the world on a not-for-profit basis. I suppose livejournal would amount to the same thing, but slightly lower tech and more community based (I used to have LJ back in the day but had to get rid of it years ago due to a stalker).

Blogger is the platform I use for my "serious" blogging which I would like to build a readership for and eventually make money someday. When that comes closer to happening, I will probably end up moving my blog to Wordpress, though, as it seems more flexible for that sort of thing.

I use twitter to promote my writing and network with other writers and bloggers.

I use flickr to store photos related to my writing pursuits, as well as for cloud photo storage (I set those photos to "private").

Facebook is the only social networking site I use to "network" "socially", at least in terms of real people I know in real life, on a purely social basis. Everything else is just to facilitate my creative pursuits and build a readership and a personal brand.

If you're not the sort of person who feels a need for a "personal brand" or is looking for a way to broadcast your ideas to the world at large, you probably won't get much out of many of these networks.
posted by Sara C. at 3:13 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Does one even need their website anymore since everything seems geared towards being social?

If you had trouble finding something to write about on the web and eventually discovered it, how did you go about finding that thing to write/talk about?

Self-link alert: I wrote up my personal guidelines that I've used for blogging here. That's about getting ideas, executing a blog post once you have the ideas, and imposing standards on yourself to keep things under control.

As you can probably tell, I definitely think it's worth having a stand-alone blog that's separate from Facebook and Twitter. However, Blogger and Livejournal are really just two different blogging platforms. I don't see much need to have both of those, unless you're going to use one (probably Livejournal) as a relatively private, diary-like site with access restricted to friends and then use the other (probably Blogger) for public writing. Tumblr is similar, although many people use it just to re-post content from other sources (images, video, etc.); they might keep a separate blog for more substantive content.

First figure out if you actually want to do all those things. Do you want to have multiple blogs with multiple functions? If so, then go ahead and use, for instance, Blogger for general/public blogging, Livejournal for personal/confessional blogging, and Tumblr for more minimal/derivative blogging. (BTW, any of those sites can be used for any of those purposes -- for instance, you could blog confessionally on Blogger while blogging publicly on Livejournal. Blogger has the privacy controls to allow this. I'm just using the stereotypes of those sites for the sake of example.)

If you want my opinion, I'm a big fan of Blogger. I never got into Livejournal (too amateurish and clunky). Tumblr is trying too hard to be stripped down to the point where I just end up spending more time looking for ways to work around its lack of features; meanwhile, most if not all of Tumblr's supposedly distinctive features can be replicated in Blogger.

Now, you could replicate a lot of these functions in Facebook (for instance, you can write a "note," which is like a blog post) ... but I don't recommend doing this as a serious blog. I post content to Facebook, but I keep it limited to very quick links and short "status updates" (similar to Twitter) that I'd like my friends to see without feeling the need to post them to a general audience. Here's an example of the problem if you try to seriously "blog" on Facebook: I remember right before the first 2008 caucus/primary, posting a link to a Kausfiles blog post that said the media should be paying more attention to stories about John Edwards's extramarital affair. You may remember that it was only much later that the mainstream media started reporting on this story (which apparently only became worthy of the media's attention once it stopped having potentially massive consequences for American politics). I would love to go back and point to this and point out how I got on the Edwards affair bandwagon early. How do I do that now, a couple years later? I would have no idea! To access content that old, you need to dig down so deep that you'll lose patience before you get to it, if it even still exists. By contrast, if I had posted that on my Blogger blog, I would easily be able to access it in various ways: through an internal search on my blog, with tags, by doing a Google search restricted to [myblog].blogspot.com, or by checking the "January 2008" section of my archives.

Flickr is for photos and short videos (the time limit on videos is much stricter than YouTube). If you want to have a blog that uses your own homemade photo/video content, it could be quite convenient to generally keep this content on Flickr and dip into it whenever you find this convenient as a way to spice up your blogging with A/V content. A blog that's all text, text, text can get boring. (To be more technical: you'll be able get copy the "embed" code from Flickr and paste that into a blog post in HTML view.)

As far as I'm concerned, my Blogger blog is "my own website." I don't see any need to have "my own website" beyond this. Blogger allows you to have static pages connected to your blog. Also, in the sidebar of your Blogger blog, you can link to any other sites of yours (Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook -- anything). In fact, you can also do that in your Flickr and Facebook profiles. I've never seen a need to have some master website for the purpose of linking to all of them (aside from my blog).
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:15 PM on July 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

I use livejournal, tumblr, twitter, flickr, and Facebook. I also have a personal page on a domain my husband and I have had active for 10+ years.

- FB is for communicating with old friends who are on FB, and occasionally for organizing social events.
- Twitter and tumblr are mostly for following friends and chatting, especially twitter.
- Livejournal is for journalling, including tracking books read, movies seen, music listened to, concerts attended, and tracking a 101 in 1001 list, as well as daily journalling kinds of things.
- Flickr is for posting public photos.
- My "web site" is mostly links to all my social networking profiles.

If I were starting over today, I'd probably use only one of tumblr and lj, and it would probably be tumblr. I have also maintained subject-interest blogs (politics and pen & paper rpgs) but I don't do that any more. Without the interest in specific-topic writing, I see no need to maintain a blog on either blogger or wordpress (or on my own site).
posted by immlass at 3:26 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I figured out what to put online based on my hobbies: music and photography. Honestly, I tried writing about music but found I couldn't keep it up. Nowadays I have a tumblr, a flickr, a facebook, a (rarely used) twitter, and I have a personal website in the works.

I am active daily on my tumblr, but this is only because I was realistic about how much effort I'd really put into it. I decided to take one picture a day and post it on there; no text, never posting more than one picture a day on the tumblr. This has worked out well over the last three months, and I hope to continue for a long time.

My tumblr is connected to my facebook, so when a post goes up on tumblr, it also comes up in facebook's news feed and drives a small amount of traffic to my tumblr. I was thinking about connecting it to Twitter also, but more and more I dislike Twitter and haven't gotten around to it. I doubt it would drive much traffic anyway, considering the photo-only format.

My flickr, on the other hand, is not connected to the rest of these. My flickr is for more serious photos I take, and to make that more interesting to use, I submit my photos to relevant flickr groups. This helps me get feedback and improve my photography.

In addition, I make time-lapse videos from time to time, and post them on Youtube, but that's really only for my small circle of close friends; I'm not trying to get any other viewers for that.

In future, I'd like to (finally) finish my personal website, which would likely serve as a portal for my tumblr blog, photo portfolio, and any future online projects I build.

In my line of work, photography, it's pretty obvious what type of online presence is called for, but for you it seems more like you're not sure what you'd like to accomplish. Think about the subject matter that interests you, and try to orient your online presence towards a more goal-based situation. You'll have an easier time of updating your blog if you know what it's there for. And try to consolidate; I've never had a livejournal but it seems like it has a distinct role of diary/personal blog, so you could keep that, but you also could probably make a choice between blogger and tumblr. When it comes to the social networking sites, continue using your facebook and Twitter, but consider linking up your blog to them if you feel that'd be beneficial.
posted by malapropist at 3:52 PM on July 14, 2010

Does one even need their website anymore since everything seems geared towards being social?

You should have a website, a little island to call your own (and do whatever you want with, even if that whatever is simply linking to your various social-networking profiles) in the vast sea of the Internet. Anil Dash, Jeffrey Zeldman—these are very smart, Web-savvy guys who advise people to consider maintaining their own space, outside the confines of proprietary walled gardens, with the information they want out there about themselves.

Read the two linked pieces to get a sense of why they advocate that.
posted by limeonaire at 4:01 PM on July 14, 2010

I'm considering getting a non-blog-affiliated website to be sort of a portfolio. One site (to rule them all!! mua haha!) for all my writing clips, bio, perhaps some photos to show off my abilities in that arena. It would ideally be my name dot com, or some easily remembered version thereof, which I would have printed on my business card so that networking contacts could immediately get a sense of the work I do without having to dig around in all the various other sites.

It would also be helpful to corral the professional from the personal, as all the various networking sites seem to combine work and play to an extent.
posted by Sara C. at 4:03 PM on July 14, 2010

Not to echo others here, but I use Tumblr, Flickr and Facebook. I do have a twitter account but haven't used it (usually don't have anything to say). I use Tumblr for posting things that I find interesting, or have anything to say about. Flickr for posting pictures (photography being a major hobby). and FB for keeping in touch with friends (I rarely post on it though). I like to keep them separate with only links to them in each account (which are not easily noticeable).

I think it's a good idea to keep the domains separate so that somebody who is linked on all of them to you doesn't get bombarded with the same stuff multiple times. Also, I think it provides a focus for what type of content you want in each of these "projections".
posted by ssri at 7:11 PM on July 14, 2010

(To be more technical: you'll be able get copy the "embed" code from Flickr and paste that into a blog post in HTML view.)

Sorry for this mangled sentence... Of course, I meant: you'll be able to copy the "embed" code, etc.

(Consider this a request for an edit window much longer than 3 minutes!)
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:16 PM on July 14, 2010

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