Weekend Coffee Share: On Metaphors and Liminal Spaces

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m glad to be chatting with you again. I don’t know what all I’ve missed and I don’t have a lot to say about how things are going in my life because I said it all earlier this week. So I’ll just get weird today.

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Diana and I have used a lot of metaphors for social media interaction over the last couple of years. I framed my kickoff posts as a startup announcement and played it for laughs. I often think of Sourcerer as a ship — that’s why all the pirate humor. When we talk about building a social network while we figure out how to get big web traffic and make things go viral, it’s a plan for world domination.

These metaphors are important, because they allow us to communicate serious ideas in non-serious ways. They turn what could just seem like a big bunch of work into a sort of game that anyone can join in. They help us stay (somewhat) organized without an actual organization.worlddomination

Since I’ve got a background in political science and I’m also a fantasy geek, I tend to think of social media networks most often as territorial units. In one sense, a social media account is just a communication tool. But they often feel like places. Here’s how I conceptualize my three favorite social media networks.

Facebook is a huge dystopian metropolis ruled from above by a remote, arbitrary government. Personal timelines are domiciles — glass-fronted tenements that lots of people can see into but few people actually look. Because when everyone’s living under glass, the transparency becomes part of the background. Groups, depending on how they are constructed, are like neighborhoods, clubs, or in some cases, venues for public events.

Standing on a streetcorner and yelling at everyone doesn’t get you much on Facebook, because every streetcorner has dozens of people standing on it and screaming. The communication on Facebook that matters happens in out-of-the-way places. Foggy alleys, dark corners, closed rooms.

Twitter is almost entirely exterior. It’s like a massive arena or a noisy commons. It’s also governed from above, but the powers-that-be on Twitter either rule with a lighter touch, or are a lot better at hiding their manipulation. A Twitter account is more a persona to be worn than a space to be inhabited.

Image via Suzie81's Blog, 2014.

Image via Suzie81’s Blog, 2014.

There are no streetcorners on Twitter, and being noisy there will get you a lot more if you do it right. But there’s a catch. Because of the character limit and the way tagging works on Twitter, the more people you try to communicate with in a single tweet, the less you can say. This is one of the things I like most about Twitter.

Blogs are all sorts of spaces. The potential for diversity in the construction of blog space is limited only by the imaginations of the people building them. A blog can be a kingdom, a city, a commune, a salon, a meeting hall . . .  The possibilities are endless.

And blogs have borders, oh yes they do. Part Time Monster, Sourcerer, and this blog are contiguous territories. Well, this one is probably an island in some small body of water bounded on all sides by the other two. There are shared borders with Comparative Geeks, Infinite Free Time, Things Matter, and several other blogs there somewhere. And all those other blogs have other neighbors. Given enough time, I could put several dozen blogs on a fantasy map, and it might be pretty cool to look at.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

During our first year of blogging, I thought of Part Time Monster as the crown territory of a larger unit. Not an empire — a confederation, perhaps. Sourcerer was the one and only duchy. My personal blog has never been anything more than a private estate, and that’s probably all it will ever be. Sourcerer has since emerged as an independent state, but what sort of unit it is, I can’t say. It doesn’t feel like a kingdom, but it’s more than an estate.

And every blog can be conceputalized this way — in terms of neighbors, friends, allies, visitors, antagonists. It’s an interesting metaphor, and it only gets more interesting as you push it logically toward absurdity. What this has to do with anything, I don’t know. I just felt like sharing a little geekery with you today, and I am interested to see what, if anything, you think about my metaphors.

It’s good to be back to the coffee share. Don’t forget to add your coffee post to the linkup at Part Time Monster and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter. And if you’ve not noticed yet, the Monster has a new look. Do take a minute to poke around and let Diana know what you think of the redesign and the new logo.

Have a great weekend!

Twitter 2.0

I wanted this to go out this morning, but didn’t get it done last night, and I just feel like publishing something. The Great 2014-15 Facebook Campaign has been a success. My timeline engagement is up enough to satisfy me for now, and I’m Facebook friends with almost 100 bloggers I was not friends with before I started it.

It’s cost me a lot of time to get it where it is, and it’s been time well-spent, but I can’t keep putting that kind of time into Facebook. From here on out, I’m happy with the progress, doing a couple of public shares on my timeline per day, and re-prioritizing my blog threads and Twitter accounts.

I am spending the bulk of my Internet time this evening setting up an eight-day run of scheduled tweets. All the links I’m sharing, once this starts, are for blogs to which I have access to stats. This is a well-thought out plan, and I am doing it specifically to test the value of my Twitter accounts.

I referred somewhere between 60 and 120 readers to other peoples’ blogs last Sunday from Twitter with 4 tweets. That’s a vague number, I know, but Twitter and Buffer are giving me different numbers, and I am not sure how they’re counting some of their stats. But even 60 referrals is a phenomenal number for me. I am looking to replicate it and confirm it with WordPress stats.

Scheduling is not all I’m doing on Twitter. I’m also doing my best to get engaged over there again. That doesn’t mean I’m there all the time. Just means I’m making a better effort to answer my notifications.

Whether this first run works or not, it will give me info about tweeting times, what sells, and the relative strengths of various hashtags that I simply cannot get from reading articles. Might be good, and I have no idea how long it will take me to actually get it set up. I’m trying to get ahead of the weekend and the next #1000Speak publishing date, though.

The great thing about this: Once I share these tweets once, I can start over at day 1, tweet the most popular ones again. I can edit the mediocre ones for better results. I can drag tweets from one account queue and drop them in another. As long as I don’t send the exact same tweet more than once in a week, and don’t share the same link too much, this should be effective on Twitter.

tweetmeme

Here’s my recipe for tweet scheduling for @Sourcererblog. It can’t be only links, of course.

  1. Popular posts from Part Time Monster, Sourcerer, and Comparative Geeks. I’ve chosen these blogs primarily because the links are easy for me to get at efficiently, they all have posts by a variety of people (so I’m not repetitively pimping one blogger or one blog) and I can measure the results.
  2. Tweets in which I introduce some of my tweeps to other of my tweeps.
  3. Funny stuff, like maybe I’ll include a few items from the Evil Overlord List and The Pirate Primer since world domination and pirate jokes are my two most successful running gags.
  4. Random blogging humor to people I chatter with often.
  5. Chattery stuff in which I tag no one.
  6. I also have an A to Z Challenge Roadtrip plan for @justgeneo, but I don’t know how long it will take me to set that up, and the plan isn’t fully-formed yet, but I’ll post the recipe for that one once I figure it out.

Happy Friday! #WeekendCoffeeShare tomorrow at Part Time Monster 🙂

 

Just a Little Test

arrrr, mateys!

arrrr, mateys!

Just playing around with the social media architecture a bit. Here’s what I’ve done:

  1. Disconnected this blog from the Twitter accounts.
  2. Connected the Just Gene’O Facebook page, which is not currently in use, to one of the Twitter accounts so it tweets when I publish there.
  3. Connected this blog to the page as well.

The test is to see whether the link Tweeted from the page goes to the blog or to the page.

Fun, fun, fun!