Not long ago, I swore I’d never use social media or anything “plugged in.”
Boy, how that changed.
Despite my love of all things outdoors, this world is always changing, both beautifully and sadly, and I am inclined to change with it.
I have always been a huge advocate for going outdoors, exploring mountains, oceans, and valleys alike, so social media and technology was not something in which I found interest until recently.
As a glimpse into my past,
every time my computer crashed (oh it was a ten-year-old laptop that weighed as much as me) my best friend, Sparkle McSunshine, would restrain me from throwing it off the top of a damn building.
I recall coding in the lab for 20 hours straight, smashing the keyboard, screaming “FUCK you!” wondering why my 3D animation kept crumpling on itself like a melting creature of death and failure.
Episodes like that actually happened. A lot.
Anyways, I have come a long way in the habits of internet and computer science since then. Within that time, I have picked up many skills, including how to be an acceptable human in society.
Blogging has led me into this fun world of socialization via the online gods of connection, collaboration and affiliation.
Naturally, I plugged into the world through just about every social media platform available. Recognizing each and every platform plays a different function in the online world, they became my mountains, oceans and valleys to explore. It is very interesting, my creative mind cannot help but wander, drawing parallels from my outside life.
Here is what I discovered:
Social Media platforms are tables within a high school cafeteria.
When I first started using the multi-social universe, I felt like a nerd walking into a cafeteria for the first time. Trust me, I will never forget the first time I walked into a cafeteria so I know what I mean.
I have tripped, struggled, dropped my lunch and been laughed at in addition to completely disregarded.
But that doesn’t mean I do not belong.
It means I was trying too hard. I find that, although I try to promote my brand, I can still be myself. On of the most important selling tools you can have (especially online) is being personable. When you are too formal online, people automatically assume “spam.” If you look closely, you will notice there is a certain language and art to each platform that, if you can translate, can aid you exponentially.
We will start with Tumblr, in the back corner of the cafeteria.
Tumblr is for the artists, the deep thinkers and involved minds. If you want to sit at Tumblr’s table, then you must be prepared for minds opening up and spilling out—in other words, you yourself must have an open mind to navigate between the emotional, deep thoughts and often aggressively positive narratives.
If you play your cards right, by sharing your thoughts and respecting theirs, you will be invited to lunch where you can share your passion for all things creative, artistic, and intricate over funky cheeses and grapes. If you are looking for a pleasant lunch, remember not to mention “-isms.”
Next, we will move to the tables by the window: Facebook.
This is a group of people everyone knows exists but not everyone knows personally. They stay within their own group, content, continually exploring their thoughts and thinking about anywhere but school. They cannot help gazing out the window in search of a better use of time, eager for the bell to ring.
To talk with this table, all you have to do is sit down, listen, and contribute where it is relevant. Do not try to force anyone into conversation here, and if you must, make it interesting. You must first earn their trust if you want to become an asset extending beyond their short, dismissive attention spans.
In the empty tables of the cafeteria, we look for Instagram.
If you want to sit with the Instagram table, you have to find them first. Having better places to be than a cafeteria, this group primarily spends their time outside or in clubs during the “lunch hour.”
They are all about the experience and they love to document as they go—your typical year book club. Friendly, lovable and typically positive, they will love anything and everything that moves, finding beauty inside and out—especially with foodporn and pets.
Nothing gets too serious in their conversations, but when it does, it is usually backed by a positive message. All you have to do to get in touch with this community is share the things you find beautiful and inspiring and they will respect it.
Pinterest’s table is the one covered in buttons, yarn, and project kits.
Basically a pile of rainbow, the Pinterest table is constantly sharing different hacks, habits and tips albeit on the test next period, a mild critique on a friend’s poster project, or beautifully hand-crafted lunch. They have little time to eat because they’re too busy with their latest projects, perfecting and beautifying them into successful resources.
Affable and quiet with zero interest in negativity, they have all of the interest in mild, pleasant conversation and resourcefulness. If you want to speak their language, show them you, too have something to offer and can be valuable.
Alas, at the center of the cafeteria, we find Twitter.
Twitter can be recognized as the loudest table where food fights often reign but not always in vain.
Sitting at the Twitter table is a constant battle of attention. This table is filled with the popular people, always trendy, always busy keeping up and chatting about anything that comes to present mind.
Unfiltered, raw and sometimes aggressive, Twitter can be a dangerous place. Open, confident and spinning with ideas, twitter can also be your greatest ally.
To speak this language, you must be extremely down to earth and yet very plugged in. You must know what is going on, flow with the current, and draw relevant parallels based on what they care about at the moment. If the topic is horse cheese, don’t contribute a story about cow milk.
Each platform is extremely unique. They all speak a different language and revolve around different functions: thoughtfulness, aspirations, inspirational beauty, resourcefulness, and stream of consciousness.