Caring about social sharing, more or less

I recently made a non-trivial change in how I share links to my work on social media, and I’ll bet you didn’t notice: I stopped touting my work on Tumblr and resumed sharing it on Google+.

Social-network icons

But why would you, when my Tumblr presence has seen so little (sorry, buzzword alert) engagement since I opened an account there in February 2012 basically to augment my social-media literacy?

I had no idea at the time that in less than two years Yahoo would have bought Tumblr and that I would begin writing for a Yahoo site that uses Tumblr as part of its editing system. In other words, so much for worrying about being Tumblr-illiterate.

I kept on sharing a link to each new story to my several dozen Tumblr followers anyway, but a few weeks ago, Yahoo Tech switched to a new editing workflow that required me to set up a new Tumblr account. Having to log in and out of accounts on the same site as I alternate between writing stories and sharing them makes for a lot more work.

At almost the same time, I got some professional advice that Tumblr is not the right place to market your work anyway: At a panel during the Online News Association’s conference, Mashable’s Ryan Lytle said less than 1 percent of Tumblr posts are link shares, making that site “not a traffic play.”

Meanwhile, I’ve realized that while Google+ isn’t going to threaten Facebook or Twitter anytime soon, it continues to function fairly wel as an off-site comments thread. It does, however, remain the last place I share my work, after my Facebook page and then Twitter: Not only is my audience there smaller than on Twitter, Google+ doesn’t give me any useful analytics about how many people saw a post and clicked on its link. Maybe I’ll ditch G+ too in six months?

That ONA panel reminded me that I could be doing a lot more to flack for myself online–notice my absence from Instagram and Snapchat and my pitiful Pinterest participation?–but my leading occupational hazard is online distraction. I’d like to think that limiting my social-media marketing gives me that much more time to participate in the oldest social network of all, e-mail, but we all know how behind I am at that.

 

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You’ve gotta be on [social-media site of the month]

I finally posted something on Pinterest. Are you happy now?

I held out as long as I could. But almost five months after I’d signed up with the site, and with 110 people following me there despite a complete lack of content, the guilt got to me.

This seems to be a permanent occupational hazard of writing about social media. There’s always some new shiny thing that the early adopters are jumping onto, and that you are professionally obliged to check out–except that the day’s annoying habit of only lasting 24 hours often obstructs that.

So I have to confess that I haven’t done anything on Instagram (I wasn’t using an iPhone when it started getting cool, then it seemed beside the point). I somehow never got around to testing Path, even when its privacy violations got into the headlines. I got a semi-coveted invite to the leave-notes-around-the-world site Pinwheel at SXSW but have only logged in a few times since. And my Tumblr blog amounts to a placeholder for my LLC coupled with an updated set of links to my articles; it’s getting the lame readership such a transparently self-promotional exercise deserves.

I’m not proud that I’ve only registered at some of these sites to make sure nobody else grabs “my” username, or that I’ve only done a drive-by inspection of others. Plus, you never know what new site will send some crazy level of traffic your way.

(My current self-marketing budget: tweeting out a link to a story and revisiting that a day later; sharing it on Google+; doing the same on my public Facebook page if an RSS page hasn’t done that for me; archiving the link on Tumblr; noting it in each Sunday’s “weekly output” post here. Any suggestions for optimizing that?)

And yet: I can’t drop everything to immerse myself in every new site, much less add it to my daily communications routine. If I have to flack for myself on 17 different sites, I won’t have time to report and write much worth promoting.

I tell myself that saying “no” to a new social-media site helps reminds me that all of this stuff is optional. But if you think I’m missing out on a useful channel of communication, I hope you’ll tell me about it–on one of the social networks I do inhabit regularly.