Yes, this is about “social media”; is that still a thing? I depend on this blog and syndication feeds and Twitter and G+, all at once at the same time, and in a complicated and messy way. But life isn’t terrible.

Twitter above Google below

Broadcasting · The screen caps show see my current stats on Twitter (above) and Google+ (below); the nice round number on Twitter provoked this piece.

I use them both as broadcast media, and they both work just fine for that. I get the feeling that Twitter reaches more influencers and is more effective for getting a crucial piece of news flowing its way around the planet.

On the other hand, I know that a substantial proportion of my “followers” are spambots and abandoned accounts. Back in 2009 I ran a little experiment which suggested that maybe 75% of them were real. My intuition is that the proportion would be smaller today.

I’m equally clueless over on Google+, but here’s a random data point: Back on November 3rd, I posted a picture of some autumn leaves, and today G+ says that it’s been viewed by 9,893 people, where by “viewed” I assume they mean they actually clicked to see it against the nice black background.

As I said, Twitter feels a bit more news-effective these days, but on Google+, it’s not uncommon to get an intelligent discussion, including strangers, going on in a post’s comments. That’s not a Twitter strength.

And for sharing photos there’s no contest, G+ is the place. And boy do I ever see a lot of beautiful pictures from other people.

Social · I hardly ever use the G+ circles, but maybe I’m just not very social. I check into Facebook once or twice a week; “friends” there are either people I know in Vancouver or people pictures of whose kids I wouldn’t mind seeing.

Not too many such people are on G+ yet; maybe if they were, I’d be using circles more.

Reading · You might wonder how I can actually track 774 people on Twitter and 593 on G+. Well I can’t, obviously; I use both in river-of-news mode. I glance when I want to see what’s going on, and I totally don’t stress out over anything I might have missed. The way the Internet works, things that involve me will find me before too long.

For things I don’t want to miss, I still use feed readers. Three, actually, for complicated reasons; NetNewsWire and Reeder on the Mac, and the Google Reader client on the Androids. This makes me a neanderthal, nobody talks about feeds any more. Increasingly few sites offer them visibly, even though they’re almost always there, sometimes I think unbeknownst to the operators of recently-launched sites.

This is a little weird, because I know for a fact that lots of information-junkies still do like I do; it’s hard to measure, but looking at my logs suggests that somewhere between 50K and 100K people are using my feeds.

I’ve written up how I organize my input. The crucial point, not highlighted there, is that I follow people not organizations, and I only put people in the “A” folder if I want to be really sure that I’m going to notice when they have something to say.

No, I won’t share the contents of my “A” folder. I like knowing important things before other people do, and it’s a very powerful tool for that.

Writing · G+ is better than Twitter for expressing complex thoughts, but for anything meaty, you still can’t beat a blog published at whatever damn length you feel like.

And if you take this at all seriously, it’s gotta be on Webspace that you own. Things like Twitter and G+ could fade away or morph into something completely different, and that wouldn’t be terribly surprising or damaging. But I’m pretty sure that I’ll be writing into this space as long as I can manage to push words into a computer. It’s an important piece of who I am.

Of course, I broadcast notice of every piece here on G+ and Twitter, which is fairly painless.

I’m sure other people have different sending and receiving patterns that work just fine for them. But these are mine.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Bud Gibson (Nov 08 2012, at 15:23)

I also use a feed reader. I find myself using flipboard quit a bit on any mobile device. I'm able to aggregate in twitter, feeds, and google+ in ways that make sense. On the laptop, it's good old greader plus tabs open to facebook and g+.

I agree on the g+ conversations, but the fact that you can't follow people without circling them is a major drawback on that platform. Twitter lists solve this issue nicely. I can list people without littering my main feed with them.

Flipboard aside, I almost can't recommend tweetbot enough. It's great interactive twitter fun. I've often thought of g+ as more a twitter replacement than a facebook replacement, but it's too heavy to really fill that bill, the tone is too earnest.

BTW, although I've followed your feed since well pre-Google, it's G+ that got me here today.


From: Gavin B (Nov 08 2012, at 22:41)

I consume your atom feed - thanks for both

atom & the feed - So you could consider me a but old-fashioned: I still use a laptop PC!

My beef with G+ is that it doesn't page down when I hit the spacebar.

"Get used to it" doesn't work for me.


From: Tanguy (Nov 08 2012, at 23:17)

I read this post via google reader. In my browser. On an actual, you know, computer.

Now I feel old.

Thanks a lot, Tim!


From: Ale (Nov 09 2012, at 00:46)

Tim, I am pretty sure that the viewed counter in Picasa is NOT the people that clicked on the photo to see it large and nice but only the times it appeared in someone stream on G+.


From: hawkse (Nov 09 2012, at 10:18)

Mostly agree with your usage pattern except that I'm mostly consuming information, not contributing much.

Twitter for that newsflash, my Google reader feeds for beefier content and G+ for things worth discussing.

If the feeds dry up, I wouldn't know where to go for my daily fix of content.


From: ebenezer (Dec 20 2012, at 12:25)

Well now Mr. Bray, you did not *have* to publish my site-structure-criticizing comment on the Which Cameras post — the one that specifically suggested that you not publish it. However that is of no major concern, and I celebrate your Apple-like unpredictability. :D

I use G+ carefully, adding few to the circles that I actually pay attention to (yes, I do use circles, but I find that because their labels and members are, as I understand, private and only viewable by me, I tend to “add back” and add generally in circles that I don’t go on to keep up with in my actual use). For the one or two circles whose streams I do truly endeavor to follow, I even then end up often in RON mode. G+’s long-form content — the very thing so often hailed as its great advantage over Twitter, which I find not only easily skimmable but quickly readable — ends up being the thing to discourage me from actually seeing every item that I wish to see. Perhaps if I could have this in a feed reader style and not have every entry expanded at once, I would be able to go through it better — but then G+ doesn’t use titles.

I rarely post on G+, but that relates more to my general inability to come up with article-worthy topics that I can write on than to any difficulty of sending that G+ might impose (again, I would like titles, but I have posted without actual titles on G+ in the past).


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