Social Network Bingo (Or, Hey, I Do Different Things)

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I thought today would be a good time to talk about social networks (broadly defined).  Since there are about 10,000 of these blasted things out there, it’s always a struggle to figure out which ones work best for whatever it is I want to do — talking about geeky things, writing, and politics.  I’ve been pretty careful to separate some of these subjects from one another, in part because I (used to) think separation was important for aspiring writers such as myself.  After all, politics and writing sometimes don’t go together, particularly when you say things that other people won’t like (a guarantee in this political climate).

And so, across my various social networks, I’ve found ways to separate and compartmentalize my various interests (with some crossover).  I won’t suggest that everyone should do what I do.  Rather, I think it’s more compelling to see how other people do it.  For that reason, I’d appreciate it if folks would comment below with their own explanations for how they use the various social networks.

The following are the major social networks of which I am a part.  For those that don’t follow me elsewhere, this list might help you decide where to follow and/or avoid me:

Blogger (where you’re currently reading this, I assume)
Topics:  Writing, Genre Fiction, and Other Geeky Topics
Follow:  N/A
I use Blogger primarily to explore the geeky things that matter to me, and to maintain some sort of online presence for my writing career (fiction and academic).  As such, much of what I post here, if you don’t already know, is focused on genre fiction, with a side of writing (mostly genre fiction writing).  In the past, I’ve included things like politics and poetry, but those topics have since moved to other arenas (mostly because I find they fit better elsewhere, but also because, if I’m honest, I don’t want this space to fall into the politics trap).

Topics:  Writing, Genre Fiction, Politics, Randomness, and Other Geeky Topics
Other Uses:  Linking to my other content…
Follow:  Friends, Colleagues, and Professionals
Most of my Twitter activity is focused on genre, random things that I find amusing, and related categories.  For the most part, I’ve found it to be a great place to interact with other SF/F folks, and have, as such, used it sparingly for political stuff (maybe 25% of my activity there has to do with political things).  Likewise, I have found it a great avenue for keeping in touch with fellow grad students, many of whom follow me there.  You’ll find me discussing a lot of genre-related topics there because it is one of the most lively places for such things (such as today, in which Mari Ness, Julia Rios, etc. and I talked about SF Poetry).

Topics:  Politics and Geeky Topics (w/ cross-pollination from my other ventures)
Follow:  Professionals, some Friends, and Political Folks (plus a lot of random people who periodically disappear from my list)
The bulk of my G+ use is political in nature.  In fact, of all the social networks I use, this is the only one that I use primarily to discuss politics.  As such, most of my followers aren’t necessarily genre people (though there are a few of those), but folks who find my take on various political issues interesting (even if they disagree).  The remaining, tiny percentage of posts is devoted to geeky things and my own various works (such as podcasts, publications, etc.).  If you want to know what I have to say about politics, though, this is the place to go.  You won’t find nearly as much discussion about such things anywhere else.

Topics:  Personal Stuff, Writing, Politics, and Cross-pollination from Twitter
Follow:  Friends, Colleagues and the Rare Professional
Facebook is one of the ONLY networks I use primarily for personal communication.  I rarely friend anyone there who I do not already know.  As such, most of the people on my Facebook are people from college, friends, colleagues, and the occasional writer (most of whom fall into one of the other categories).  While politics, writing, and genre fiction pop up on my FB page all the time (usually through Twitter), its primary function remains personal.

Topics:  Poetry, Writing, Art, Nature, and Related Topics
Follow:  Friends, Interesting Posters, and the occasional Colleague
Of all my various social networks, this one is quickly become the most personal (in terms of what I share).  While I am sharing my own writing (poems and snippets from fiction), I’ve primarily been using it to explore various things that matter to me, such as art, life, my dreams, and more.  In fact, this will probably become my depository for all the things that frankly don’t fit elsewhere (particularly, my poetry).  Tumblr is uniquely designed towards sharing these sorts of things (also:  porn, which I’m not sharing).  While Blogger is also a great space for the personal, it doesn’t work so well for the things I’d like to do on the side, in part because my history on Blogger has pegged me as a certain kind of blogger.  Tumblr, then, is filling in the gaps.


What about you?  Do you use your social networks in different ways?  If so, how?

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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