Girl, Advice is my middle name. Of course I’ll share!
In the few weeks that I’ve been deliberate employing my girl Cristina’s social media advice, my itty-bitty Twitter following doubled. Doubled!
Before I begin, the back story (because I’m a novelist and sharing back stories ranks up there in the upper echelon of Best Things To Do Ever): I was a Twitter hater. Hate, hate, hated Twitter. I had it, I used it for a while, but—ergh. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, nor could I keep up with the constant stream of yackity-yack.
Also, I do not own a smart phone. Even if I did have one, there’s no way I could keep up with the stream—river—tsunami that is a Twitter feed. I couldn’t keep up with it even after I purged my follow list.
Nor did I want to keep up with it. The medium and my temperament are like oil and water. Reading a Twitter feed sends my manic through the roof. I come away feeling irritable and bloated from binging on mental junk food.
Have I established the fact that I couldn’t stand Twitter yet?
Good. Moving on.
When I began Real Housekeeping, I had to renege on my Twitter abandonment for its sake. Problem was, my Twitter issues needed to be addressed. Frankly, all my social media issues needed to be addressed. Real Housekeeping is so awesome that I couldn’t and can’t keep it to myself. I knew it was my job to get the word out there.
Providence would have it that Cristina of Filling My Prayer Closet came into my life. People, this girl knows social media. She reads up on it, she uses it, she likes it, and she was willing to help.
So let’s talk about Twitter. Cristina dragged me into Twitter usage, kicking and screaming (me, not her). But I stopped kicking and screaming when she gave me the Key to All Mythologies, the Tardis by which we enter other worlds and other times:
Hootsuite is a social media manager that uses “streams” to collate information, making it easier to follow what the bleepity-bleep is going on. It’s perfect for Twitter; my guess is that it was designed specifically for it.
Here’s what mine looks like (click to enlarge):
It took a bit of doing to set this up, but it was worth the effort.
To the left is a sidebar with controls—this is where I add social media networks and generally manage my account. At the very top of the window is the input box for creating a social media message. I can write it, add shortened links, pictures, etc., select which account or accounts I’d like to use, and even schedule my post.
Look further down and you’ll notice some tabs: “NN,” “RH,” “FB,” and “Instagram.” Each of these tabs are for different social media accounts: my @napnovel Twitter account, Real Housekeeping’s Twitter account, Facebook, and my Instagram feed (just for following—I can’t post from here).
In the above picture, you see my “streams” for my @napnovel account. I added the ones I wanted to follow by clicking on “Add Stream.” From left to right: Mentions (i.e. anyone sends me a shout-out), then a few custom lists that I subscribe to—Real Housekeeping contributors, CatholicMom.com contributors, Catholic Women Blogging Network ladies, and then (if you were to scroll over, which you can’t) my Home Feed (the normal Twitter feed), my Sent Tweets, and New Followers tweets—i.e. anyone who’s joined the ranks of the poor people on the receiving end of my inanity.
The other accounts are set up in a similar way.
Setting up streams allows me to follow groups of people according to my set priorities. For example, it’s important to me to keep up with what my Real Housekeeping contributors are tweeting about. I want to engage them, say hi, tell the world how much I appreciate their work, etc. Next are my fellow contributors at CatholicMom.com. Then other ladies I know in the Catholic blogging world.
By having these streams, I can see what’s most important to me, right away. Then comes the general Twitter stream, which I skim through when I have time.
I have grand plans of making more custom lists in Twitter—friends from the CWG, friends from school, plain ol’ friends—and then adding those lists as streams to my Hootsuite account. Perhaps I’ll make a new tab for just lists. Who knows?
But most importantly, the way I can organize information within Hootsuite helps me engage the people who matter most to me. It breaks down my Twitter feed into manageable chunks. I feel less overwhelmed by the information by using it.
One final point: Hootsuite makes it possible for me to check my social media accounts LESS often. One of the reasons I didn’t like Twitter before was that I felt I needed to use it all the time. Otherwise, I missed much of what was going on. But being connected all the time made me miserable. So…
With Hootsuite, the pace of each individual stream moves more slowly than my entire Twitter feed. Therefore, I can keep up with it without being always connected.
Hootsuite is FREE for up to five social media accounts (not including Instagram—that’s an installed app, natch!). I have no idea what the paid subscription costs, as I don’t manage much more than Twitter and Facebook from it. Google Plus goes right into my inbox and Pinterest doesn’t work with Hootsuite.
So… Hootsuite. That’s how I’ve come around on this whole Twitter thing. I just needed eyes to see.
Does this help, Jaime?