Tag Archives: facebook

My rules for following the etiquette of blogging and social media

follow-usThe explosion of social media and the internet during my lifetime means that unlike our parents, the online generation have been exposed to a whole new world of social politics through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and various other apps and sites. It’s actually crazy to think that in my lifetime, things have developed from that huge box computer in my dining room, which was ridiculously slow and blocked the phone line, to a world of laptops, iPads and smart phones. But it has happened, and with it has come a whole new social etiquette that can make or break friendships and career opportunities – as us bloggers know only too well.

twitter_follow_meNow there is the complicated web of retaining boundaries by separating personal accounts from professional, through dividing friends across Facebook and Twitter depending on your relationship, and even having a system for following people back. It’s just crazy that this is something we even have to think about – but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown over the last seven months that I have had to think more and more about these types of things, and I’m sure that many others have felt the same. So, after a lot of thought, I have come to a few conclusions over blogging social etiquette that I think might help out other bloggers who might have found themselves in a similar position.keep-calm-and-add-me-on-facebook-graphic

I’ve noticed that as my blog and social media sites grow with more followers, readers and comments daily, that while most of them are people interested in my writing and reading what I am putting out into the world, there are also a small proportion who are just interested in gaining more followers. This to me is just sad. I absolutely love when I get new followers because they have seen a post of mine or they have engaged in discussion of a topic with me. I love meeting other bloggers through the FBL and Lbloggers chats because we all engage with each other and talk about topics we share interests in. So when people just follow to ask for a follow back, or they follow you and if you haven’t returned the favour within 24 hours they unfollow you – I just find this a) incredibly rude and b) just plain ridiculous. I just don’t understand what these people think they are gaining by having high numbers of followers or “friends” who are not interested in what they have to say or are posting.

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Ironically, I received this email this morning..

I am lucky to have so many Facebook friends and Twitter followers because I have so many who do interacts with me on a daily basis both about day-to-day life and about my blog posts. I value my readers and appreciate their comments and feedback – so I just can’t understand why some would rather have faceless and nameless masses of followers who never speak up or give you any feedback.

So, I have made myself some new rules that I thought might also help my fellow bloggers:

 

  1. I will no longer be following back those who ask me to follow them, but if you ask me to check out your blog I will happily do so and if I like what I read I will return the favour, as I do often.
  2. If you comment or message me asking me to follow you so that you will follow me – it is an instant no-no because what is the point in that?
  3. If you follow me on Twitter, I will check out your Twitter and any blogs – if I like what you post and have to say, I will return the favour but only then. I love my newsfeeds on all of these sites because they show up the topics and information that I find interesting and inspiring. I refuse for them to be clogged up with spam and rubbish instead.
  4. I will continue – as I have always done – to leave three lovely comments on other bloggers’ sites every day. This is something I have done from the beginning because I think it encourages us to be more of a community and I love to give positive feedback to great posts. I expect nothing in return – just to have put a smile on someone’s face.
  5. I will very rarely become Facebook friends with those I meet through blogging or work – this is because I have a Facebook page for my blog and would prefer to use that. But also, because my personal Facebook page is for close friends, school friends and family. I will on occasion break this rule if I have become close friends with other bloggers – but this just helps me retain a little privacy.

follow-meI hope this hasn’t come across negatively, but I think that when we are all as busy as we are, not all of us have time to sift through the genuine followers and friends as well as the true ones. I would much rather spend my time talking to those who are genuinely interested in reading what I have to say and discussing it instead of those who just want to up their digits. I have a wonderful core following of readers and I appreciate every comment you leave, every tweet you send and every Facebook like. It is what keeps me writing these posts and excitedly waiting for feedback – everything you guys have to say is what fuels my mind and my hands to want to type the next piece. Thanks for all your feedback guys and I hope this post will help my fellow bloggers in making their own set of rules for dealing with the follow-back demands.

What other social media and blogging advice would you give? Comment below and you could be helping other bloggers.

In your 20’s and don’t know which way to turn?

I read this article and it just seemed so completely ridiculous that I just had to share it with you. Written by Madeleine Dodd for the Huffington Post, it was entitled – Are you having a mid-twenties crisis?

Just the title was enough to make me laugh. It describes the “under publicised beast” that is the mid-twenties crisis, less obvious that the well-known mid-life crisis but describes those who are suffering as panicking when they realise they are too old to win the X Factor and then making huge changes in their lives such as quitting their job, ending a relationship, doing a Masters or going travelling. Dodd links these choices to three big differences between our generation and the last:

1.We know too much about what everyone else is doing thanks to social media
2.We’re the first generation to be less wild than our parents who lived during Woodstock times
3.We know our real value and it comes in at under 20 grand a year

What an incredibly negative and disillusioned woman. Such a shame to have such a jaundiced view of the world we live in at such a young age. Fair enough, times are tough and employment-wise we do have it a lot worse that previous generations, we are constantly aware of everyone around us and what they are up to, and perhaps some of us are having less fun – but perhaps this is more to do with what some people do with themselves. As a bit of a social media nutter (comes with being a blogger, doesn’t it?) I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress and Tumblr every day and am constantly seeing updates of what other people are doing and where they are in their lives. To be honest, my Facebook is packed full of three types of people – the ones who had kids/got married young, the ones who are still at university or are on gap years/travelling and the ones who have moved on to work, whether it is something they love or not. The only ones to be jealous of there are those travelling! Fair enough, if you haven’t got the job you want it can be hard to see how amazing some other people’s lives are, but chuck a bucket of salt over that and you might see a glimmer of reality when the ones with amazing jobs are having problems at home, work hideously long hours, actually get treated like crap in the office or their relationship broke up because the job moved them away. There is two sides to every story – Facebook sees the best side (or sometimes the very worst side) but there is always more to the tale.

As for point two, I think someone needs to get out more. Being wild is not about having money from said job or going off and taking copious amounts of illegal substances or dancing in fields naked. It’s about finding your passion and your love and blowing off some steam by giving into it completely every now and again. For me, it is going to see live music including DJs or heading to festivals. And I think if people really knew what a night out was like with me, they would realise this generation are wild enough, in fact if anyone tried walking around Boomtown Fair 2013, they would realise what wild really is!

Finally, we all know our worth and it comes in at under £20,000 a year? Okay, I understand it is very demoralising to come out of university and be forced to work in a job that you don’t like or that you think you are better than. I understand that I have been very lucky in securing such a good job and training to accompany it, but a lot of work also went into securing that. People really need to stop moaning about the recession and employment market, there are countless jobs out there that don’t have people to fill them because others are being too picky about what they want to do.

I have never been under the impression that I would walk out of university and into a job in journalism – I studied English and didn’t have my NCTJ – and I didn’t. I was unemployed for six months but in the two years before me finding my current job, I had done copious amounts of work experience where I impressed by getting front pages in my first week, I had filled in for the company when they were short staffed and contributed a weekly column – all my own organising and forcefulness but it worked in the long run.

Much as I love my job, I have realised that perhaps straight journalism is not for me and perhaps I would prefer online/broadcast or magazine work instead – most of all I would like to try different things but in the meantime I am making sure I am fully trained so that I have the journalism qualification for the future. After realising this, I managed to work it so that I was managing the website and entertainment section of the newspaper to help broaden my experience. I also started volunteering to write for a festival review website for free in order to gain more experience. I have since been made editor which is great experience and will look fantastic on my CV.

Knowing your value is not about how much you are earning – god knows that some of the most valuable people out there are the volunteers and those at the bottom of the heap who work endless hours to perfect things so others at the top can take the credit. It is more about making the most of your talents – by going beyond the call of duty both at your own job by making yourself invaluable, and at extra-curricular activities such as blogging/writing/volunteering/work experience that could benefit you in the long run by giving you extra experience. Sure you might not walk into a producer job at 23, but you’ll have a wealth of skills and although you might be working in a job you hate (back in retail after university is a killer) but you’ll be doing something outside of this that you love and that could lead to bigger things in the long run.

Put simply, the world has changed since our parents’ day and that may not be a good thing in every way, but it isn’t all bad. There are plenty of opportunities for those who are just starting out in their industries – just look at the countless people who have started up their own companies. They have been able to do so because the lack of jobs in their desired area has been lacking forcing them to create positions, and the low interest rates have given them the capital needed. Win-win. And the use of social media has only helped to develop this by offering free marketing and advertising of products to customers.

This is me at my graduation, full of hope and excitement for what would come next career-wise. I left university without a job lined-up but I wasn’t afraid of what was to come. I used the time off between university and starting work as time to relax after my hard work towards exams and to research jobs and journalism training. It helped me decide to start a distance-learning course instead of spending the huge amount of money on in-house courses, which worked in my favour because another journalist left the paper suddenly and they called on me instantly. I was clearly within their minds after all my hard work and it paid off. Patience is everything and a negative attitude helps no-one.

And since when was quitting your job, going travelling or breaking up with a long-term boyfriend seen as flighty or as signs of a mid-twenties crisis? Surely your twenties is the perfect time to start afresh, you have no real commitments and nothing to tie you down. It is a common time to break up couples if their careers or travel fantasies pull them in different directions, it’s the time to find new love and fall head-over-hells for the wrong people. It’s also the perfect opportunity to try out as many different types of work as possible to gain experience and use jobs as a chance to travel, move away and gain independence. As for going travelling, when you’ve just spent nearly 20 years in education and firmly under your parents’ wing, a taste of freedom at university can give you the desire to see the world and get out there. To experience it all for yourself, and with difficulties finding the right job, why not work  in retail, save some dollar and head out to Thailand to find yourself?

What do you think about life in your twenties? Are you having a bit of a crisis, or do you feel like you’re got it together?

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Childhood sweethearts: Me and my beau

I don’t often write about my relationship – perhaps this is why it has survived so well through our teenage years and until now despite the demons that are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogging… But now I just feel it is time to introduce one of the most important people in my life to my readers.

I met Mark when I was just 16, we met through our sixth form where we both ended up in the same groups for our Gold Duke of Edinburgh and CSLA Leadership courses. At first, we didn’t really get on, in fact he really bloody annoyed me! But after a lot of winding each other up and flirting, we finally went on a date and as they say the rest is history! The funny thing is that at the time I had just been on a date with one of his pals – I think that was what sparked him into making a move to be honest, but I’m glad he did because by that point he was all I could think about.

We were together all through sixth form and despite several people warning me about Mark, I had never met a funnier, sweeter, more romantic guy. We were crazy about each other, still are, and spent all of our time together. Despite skipping a few lessons to spend with him instead, I still made it out with an A and 3 B’s! But then came the real test – it was always on the cards. I had been dead set on my own plan of going to university as soon as I finished school and I couldn’t wait. I chose the University of Hertfordshire, and unlike many I refused to make this decision based on my relationship – I simply loved the university and the course.

I’ve been asked by many people in the last few years about how we coped, and I’ve since bumped into old school friends who were amazed we had survived university – but I never saw it as much of an obstacle. I don’t know if perhaps it was just because we were so crazy about each other, but still more mature, that we realised we had the rest of our lives to be together and that being apart for a short time didn’t matter! He came to visit nearly every other weekend, sometimes we had a longer break, but we spoke every day while he worked at home as an engineer.

In my second year I lived at home (mainly because I was only in university twice a week and I wanted to work as well) so we were back in each other’s lives full time. Finally last year was amazing – I was so busy with work and revision, but still had time to party. He was driving and training to see me, and I had my car at university so I could easily hop in and be home two hours later. It was a great set-up and we never gave each other any reason to be jealous because there was no need!

Coming home was a struggle because we were used to living without each other, but we soon fell back into a routine and the last two summers we spent touring round festivals and travelling to Malta and Croatia. We always have the best time with each other and have never let a relationship stop us from living life to the absolute full like some couples do – we still want to go raving and dancing all night long. Sure we have our nights snuggled up in bed watching a good DVD, but neither of us can stand doing that all the time! And why go raving with others when only we can keep up with each other?

I hope there are some other couples out there like us – all the ones we know seem to be quite tame in comparison. But I’m grateful just to have my best friend and to still feel like this six-and-a-half years later! And looking forward to raving together again this weekend at Sub Focus.

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Communicating with the big, wide world

I’m thrilled to announce that within just a few weeks of blogging on WordPress, I already have 40 followers and have had countless visitors to my site and likes on my posts. It’s really encouraging to see that my writing and opinions are being heard and appreciated by so many people from all over the world. And I really love that WordPress offers the stats pages to show you exactly where your readers are accessing your blog from, I appear to have a lot of UK and US readers, but have even had some from Bangladesh checking out my pieces.

This morning I also reached my 5,000th Tweet which went out to nearly 400 followers on my Twitter account who are spread across the country and the globe. It is great to know my opinions and comments are going out to people in my industry and to friends at the same time, and that I can instantly share my work with the world.

On my original blog, which I now use more are a photo-diary and a log of my work at the paper, I am sharing my writing with around 300 followers on Tumblr. Although Tumblr is good for the immediate sharing of pictures and thoughts, I find that WordPress offers more of a considered approach to blogging when one puts rather more time and effort into constructing a post and decorating it for readers.

Adding my Instagram to the mix, I am sharing my regular uploads with nearly 160 followers, documenting my movements whether journalism, music or blogging-related. I also find Instagram a perfect way to edit my photos and share them on my blogs. Finally, on Facebook I have 941 friends who get all my updates relating to blogging, writing for the newspaper, editing for This Festival Feeling and living life. This is a fantastic amount of people that I am reaching on a daily basis and who are accessing my posts and work. I considered making a page for myself as a writer, but didn’t want to limit my posts to people who have liked my page because I know how easy it is to lose followers that way. Plus it makes it more personal to be a ‘friend’.

Overall, I am reaching more than 1,800 people daily through my blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts – when writing for The Lynn News and This Festival Feeling, and displaying on the websites, I am reaching thousands more.

This is an amazing feeling and it astonishes me to have collated these figures and get a real picture of how many people I am in touch with. You should try it, technology really has brought the world closer together! Click on the links to follow each of my accounts and get a slightly different picture from each!

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How Instagram took over the world in just three years – and how I am a total addict!

How Instagram took over the world in just three years

I’m Lucy, and I’m addicted to Instagram.

I’ve always been an avid photo-taker. On nights out, I was always the one who caught every moment on camera and my friends dreaded the eventual upload of the pictures to Facebook. But the discovery of Instagram has definitely encouraged this habit, not just on nights out, but in everyday life! Now, although not big on selfies, I am constantly updating my Instagram with pictures of myself, my friends and whatever I happen to be up to on that particular day. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this, and it certainly helps to update my blog if I capture the pictures as I go along, but it makes me wonder what I used to do before Instagram – just three short years ago!

I find it amazing that an app can so affect how we live our lives in such a short time – Facebook and Twitter did a similar thing and I find it fascinating how our lives just seem to envelope such technology and adapt to fit it in. It makes me wonder just what the next addition could possibly be!

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In response to Write Meg’s ‘selfie’ post – what if your face just isn’t quite right?

In response to Write Meg’s ‘selfie’ post – what if your face just isn’t quite right?

I was really interested in reading Write Meg’s post this morning about “the humble selfie has practically risen to its own art form” because it is something that I have watched shoot to fame with the introduction of Instagram and as Facebook developed. Only 23, I still remember a time when my house had no computer and certainly no mobile phones. Photos were not digital for the Ruthnum household and they were only taken on special occasions by my parents or extended family – usually with half a finger over the lens or someone pulling a funny face, but with no way of knowing until they had been printed.

Now, everyone has an iPhone or something similar, having had mine stolen recently and lived without it for some time (I actually felt refreshed and relieved to have a short break) but it does leave you at a bit of a loss for things like photo-taking and sharing. I am a big lover of having a camera on every night out and snapping endless pictures of my life, I love Instagram because I see it as a wordless blog and a way of sharing my life with my friends. I am that friend that is partially hated by others for capturing the moments people least want on camera – many will send me that dreaded text the morning after a night out begging me not to put that picture, or that video, on Facebook.

I love pictures that show people in the moment – not posing – just having fun and sharing memories. If a pictures doesn’t not instantly transport me back to a wonderful time and place in the endless library of my memory – what is the point?

However, I am not adverse to the odd selfie, mainly if my face happens to have fallen into place quite well after a night of tossing and turning in my bed. I just don’t understand the point of uploading a different one each day, basically of you pulling the same face, with the only difference being a different outfit!

But that is my next issue – how do these girls get their faces to make such different faces? My face is stuck on two settings – big grinning smile, or neutral. Sometimes it will venture into mildly annoyed from the neutral, but rarely. I’m always one of those people who prefer to have a smile on their face.

But this new generation of girls have pouts, gasp faces, cheeky grins, big eyes, and all the rest that they seem to accentuate in their photos! Genuinely, if you look through my photos on Facebook, you will see clearly that my face does something very similar in each. Mainly because when I take photos, it is usually because I am having the time of my life. I’ll admit, it’s slightly embarrassing but sometimes I do long to be able to pull off a pout, or a sticky out tongue picture – but then I figure, what’s the point?

Let’s be honest, pouts just look ridiculous, especially when you see the pictures of groups on girls tarted up on a night out all sticking their lips out until they protrude further than their noses. Screw it, I’m sticking it the old-fashioned, but classy smile. It’s always worked for me so far!