Yesterday I was going through my old SL links/bookmarks and went to visit ASNers. Apparently the site no longer exists. Not a surprise, but then I became curious what other SLers are using for social media.
I used to have them all – Fakebook, Tweeter, ASN, Plurk, and a few others, but I don’t use them anymore. I suppose I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love how connected it can make you, but I hate how most of the companies actually work.
I refuse to use Fakebook (see here and here) for SL or RL. I don’t agree with the policies and practices of the company, so I don’t use them. I kept using other sites for awhile, but I ultimately decided that it was too much of a time waster – not enough benefits for the returns I was getting.
I was curious, though, what everyone else is using. Fakebook, Tweeter, Plurk, and Flickr I know, but is there an alternative site out there? I did some searching and found Avatarbook and Onlinker – are there any others I missed?
After reading these posts, I spend a lot of time on internal debates, on researching related things on the internet, and then the next thing you know, it’s 5 hours later, my butt is asleep, and I realize I forgot to eat lunch.
The other biggest time social media time suck for me is Plurk.
I avoided joining Plurk for a long time, because people told me it was elitist and full of snarky SL people.
I haven’t found that to be true at all.
There is some seriously hilarious shizz going on in Plurk. 😛
I’ve seen pictures of crazy, cannibalistic land-crabs (yet another reason to never go to Florida), watched others install Windows10 (their results were sadly, sometimes not as good as mine), and learned that texture thrashing makes people want to strangle LL.
A lot of the people on Plurk have been in SL forever, so I’m constantly learning something new.
Plus, some of them are just plain hysterical.
It’s like all the cute cat videos and funny memes and friends all rolled into one place.
It probably took me twice as long as usual to write this post, because I kept going back to Plurk to check on things.
Plus, everyone uses all these cute gifs, so I have become a gif collector.
Because who knows when you’ll need a good Phil Collins gif, amiright?
If you are on any of these social networks, please add me – I promise not to stalk you. 😛
When I started blogging, I just knew that I wanted to write.
With sites like WordPress and Blogspot, it’s easy.
Create an account, log in, and start blogging!
Then, like everything else, it turns out there’s actually work involved. -.-
I don’t only have to worry about topics to write about and writing well, I have to worry about adding images, sizing images, page load times, increasing traffic, links, pingbacks, SEO, alt tags, descriptions, categories, tags, slugs – the list is endless.
It’s all a little overwhelming when you first start.
Thankfully, you don’t have to know everything. 😀
A few months ago, Becky over at SL Blogger Support started writing a series of articles aimed at helping bloggers to become better at blogging.
Many of the steps I already knew, but I had gotten lazy and wasn’t paying attention.
The first article was about finding a ‘niche’ for your blog.
There are literally millions of blogs, so finding that niche can help you find readers.
I’m still in the process of defining and refining my niche – just asking some very basic questions about my blog made me realize that I had wandered from my original purpose.
My blog is like me – it changes and grows.
As I learn about new things, I want to share what I learn.
So although my original audience was people interested in dance, I have expanded to include photography, art, and sometimes fashion.
(Maybe ‘style’ is a better word than fashion – I’m not always on top of the latest trends, but I know what I like. 😀 )
The next article was about SEO – what it is and how to use it for good. 😛
This one made me a bit angry with myself – some of these were very simple things that I knew and should have been doing, but wasn’t.
I made a few changes to my blog – I changed my tagline to reflect the added topics, and I changed my theme to one that offered better formatting/readability options than my previous one.
I am still debating whether it’s worth it to me to pay for a domain name or if I should just continue with the free WordPress option.
I know a fellow blogger had issues when changing over from the free WP site to a paid domain, and I don’t want to make extra headaches for myself.
While my dream is to someday get paid to write, I’m not there yet.
With only one income and lots of expenses (college tuition, anyone?), sometimes it’s hard to justify any extra spent on ‘frivolous’ purchases. 😦
Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re making the right decisions.
It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who’s trying to figure it all out. 🙂
I did take Becky’s advice and I signed up for Google’s Webmaster Tools.
However, I don’t find using said tools to be intuitive in any way whatsoever, so I’ve decided to ignore them for now, and concentrate on things I do understand.
My SEO Changes
I have been paying attention to my post titles and changing the slugs to help with searches.
My LOTD posts are numbered, but since they are not my primary focus for the blog, I’m not too concerned with them.
When I started the LOTD posts, I was taking the photos in-world and saving them as .png files to preserve details.
However, .png files load more slowly.
Slow loading times can kill your traffic – because it needs to be instant on the internet. 😛
So I have begun resizing my images when I edit them and I save them as .jpegs rather than .pngs.
There is some loss in quality, but the faster load times are worth it.
What I wasn’t doing was giving my images (LOTD and others) meaningful titles.
Nor was I filling in the alt tags.
I make sure that I am doing both of those now.
Buffer has a great post on how to optimize images for blogs and social media.
I also have begun breaking up text-heavy posts (like this one!) with subheadings to help with readability.
Growing Your Blog
One of the things Becky mentioned is feeds and that if you are on feeds, search engines may see your blog as ‘duplicate content,’ which can hurt your search rankings.
For many SL fashion bloggers, being on feeds is a must.
You can, as Becky suggests, set it up so that your posts only show as excerpts so that readers have to click through to your blog to read the entire post.
However, some feeds specifically say that you must not show excerpts only – so what to do?
You would think that being on feeds would get you more traffic, but it turns out that isn’t always the case.
Becky’s latest post was one that really got me thinking.
I actually printed it out and made notes on it as I read through it. (Nerd? Me? Noooo!)
Again, much of what she writes are things I knew, but wasn’t using to my advantage.
Having taught journalism, I knew about headlines, subheads, pull quotes, etc.
(Side note: Pull quotes and other cool options are sometimes only available with WordPress.org. Rather frustrating when you are using WordPress.com – another item to weigh when deciding whether to pay or use the free version of WP.)
When you teach literature, however, the writing style rules are different.
Some things are too ingrained for me to change (like double spacing after a period), but I certainly need to be more aware of my writing style if I want my blog to grow.
It also made me go back through my blog and look at what people were actually reading, not what I thought they were. 😀
In addition to your blog itself, tying into social media is almost a must these days.
But with so many platforms available, which one(s) do you choose?
For me, it’s been trial and error.
I loathe Facebook, so even though I could probably benefit from using it, I won’t.
Have you ever stopped to think about why you are on social media? For me, it has always been about connecting with people, learning from my community, and contributing to that community. Page views, subscribers, followers and fans were never a stand alone goal. They were a means to an end — the promise of a potential connection.
I’ve posted several times about how overwhelming managing multiple social media accounts can be.
Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment. -.-
I went and signed myself up for some new networks.
If you belong to any of these networks, look me up – I’m always happy to meet new friends. 🙂
KoinUp is a site I found after watching an episode of Designing Worlds on photography.
My first impression is that it’s sort of like Flickr (which you can apparently cross-post to from KoinUp).
I joined a few groups and I’m giving it a few days to see how I like it.
I added KoinUp to my Feedly reader a month or so ago, and I like being able to just scan through some of the art when I have a few free moments.
I tried adding Flickr to Feedly, but they refuse to play nice together. 😦
On the recommendation of Ever Afterr (check out her blog here), I decided to check out Reddit.
After reading through the FAQs and their posting rules, I decided to go ahead and join.
It’s kind of overwhelming at first, but I removed a bunch of subreddits and pared it down to a usable amount.
I found a book subreddit, so I’m already having fun reading everyone’s comments.
(Just FYI – I hated Anna Karenina and my favorite book of all time is a tie – To Kill a Mockingbird/Jane Eyre.)
I couldn’t find a mobile app for Reddit that wasn’t 3rd party, so I’ll have to see how useful/engaging I find it if I’m only using it when on my PC. (If you have any suggestions that work well for you, let me know.)
I signed up for Ello when it first came out, because I hate Facebook.
I haven’t been on in months, and decided to go back a few days ago to check it out.
It doesn’t seem that active for SLers – or am I missing something?
If you’re on Ello, tell me – I would love to have some active people to follow!
I also read (I think) that they are working on a mobile app, which would let me be more active.
I spend most of my time on social networks via my phone, not my PC.
Becky recently wrote a blog post about SEO and blogging.
In it, she mentioned Google’s Webmaster Tools.
I had tried using them months ago, but got lost in all the technicalities and just abandoned it.
I went back and tried to get back into it.
I’m still floundering. 😦
I’m also debating whether it is worth the work to get a Google+ Page in addition to my profile.
I’m also investigating some other apps that would help me manage all the social media streams.
If you have a Google+ Page or use a service like HootSuite, I’d love to hear your feedback.
I spent most of the last three days taking a Photoshop class, and I learned enough to make my head spin.
I took a ton of notes and saved a bunch of examples of techniques that I hope to incorporate into my Photoshop repertoire.
But WOW was it a lot of information!
I’ve been experimenting with masks and filters on my own; however, the class gave me much better (and faster) tools for working in Photoshop.
I can’t wait to try out some of the cool things I learned.
I’ve been spending more and more time with photography and learning everything I can.
I started out with the LOTD posts for fun (and to clean up my crazy inventory!), but it’s become something I really love doing.
I get stuck sometimes, though, because there is a fine line between showing an outfit to you ‘as is’ so you know what it looks like, versus some of the heavy ‘post-processing’ I want to do on some of the photos.
So, I’ve decided to kind of shift some of my focus to photography.
I want to spend some more time taking ‘travel’ photos in SL.
I spend way too much time alone on my platform – it’ll be good for me to get out and about and explore and work on my photography skills at the same time. 😀
I will still be doing the LOTD posts – I do enjoy them, and I’m getting a kick out of coming up with little stories to tell with them.
As I said before, I am always learning.
Yesterday Becky published a post on SEO and blogging.
I’ve used both WordPress.org and WordPress.com, and I’m familiar with many of the concepts she mentions.
However, I have been kind of lax about paying attention to that sort of thing with my blog, so it was a good reminder.
I knew I could change the slugs on my posts, but I wasn’t really paying much attention to them before.
I will be making some small changes here and there to see if I can increase my traffic.
(I don’t want to say what changes I’ll be making, since I read an article the other day that said if you share your goals/intentions with others, you’re less likely to accomplish them.)
It’s another area where there is a lot of information to digest, so I’ll be referring back to the article, I’m sure.
Along with the changes here on the blog, I am trying to educate myself further about social media.
I often am reluctant to share what little I know (mostly because I assume everyone knows it), but after doing some research, many of my questions have yet to yield any easy answers.
When using social media, I am usually left with the feeling that I don’t know enough about the platform to make good use of it.
I decided to do some research on the various platforms I use to see what I could learn.
I started with Twitter, since that seemed like the simplest platform.
As I learn and I discover, I hope to share with you any helpful tips and tricks I come across.
If you have any, feel free to send them my way! 😛
I think ‘networking’ is one of those topics that everyone would like to know more about.
Over the last month or so, I was debating whether I wanted (or needed) to take a hiatus from SL and blogging to recharge my batteries.
I found myself struggling with writer’s block and despairing over finding my ‘muse’ again.
And then – serendipity. 🙂
Ailsa announced her weekly ‘theme’ exhibitions, I took a few classes, read a few blog posts, and now I am feeling energized and inspired.
It could also just be that school is out next week and my children’s joy is infectious. 😛
Either way, I’m looking forward to learning and creating.