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March 5, 2019

Social Media: Make It Fun!

Swirling Chihuly glass feature with text: Making Social Connections Fun!

A few weeks ago, I blogged that I had joined Instagram in time for Dahlia Adler’s #AuthorLifeMonth event. Ever since my guest poster Monica Corwin shared her tips on how to make Instagram work for authors last summer, I’d been tempted to see what made the platform so popular, and Dahlia’s hashtag event was the perfect opportunity to try out Instagram.

At the time of that post, I wasn’t sure how much I liked Instagram, as I’m not usually a visual-sharer. I don’t take selfies, and I’m not constantly attached to my phone. Plus, I was still getting the hang of how to use the platform. Even so, I could definitely see the appeal of the visual medium as a scrolling user.

Now, with a month of using Instagram under my belt, I’m still far from an expert. I still don’t quite “get” reposting, but I’m okay with just sharing new content for now. In fact, I even figured out what Stories and Highlights are this past week, so I might just be an Instagram convert. *grin*

What Changed My Mind?

The main thing that made me decide I actually liked Instagram—rather than just signing up because it seemed like the thing to do—is at the heart of what social media should always be: Fun!

Tip: Struggling to establish a platform? Figure out what social media is fun for you! Click To TweetOur to-do lists are so full that having another thing on our plate can feel like an obligation or chore. And maintaining our social media presence with posts here, there, and everywhere can quickly feel like work.

However, if we focus mostly on the platforms that are fun for us, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogging, or someplace else, keeping our social media presence active won’t be such a grind. As I mentioned above, I already saw how Instagram could be enjoyable to scroll through, but after getting the hang of more of the features and how others use it, I started having fun as a poster too. *smile*

What Makes a Platform Fun for Us?

Just as we don’t along with every type of person, we’re not going to “click” with every social media platform.

A Platform Isn’t Fun If We…

  • don’t like the interface
  • can’t find our friends there
  • think it’s too difficult to find good content
  • don’t like the type of content typically shared
  • struggle to figure out who to follow
  • don’t know what to post
  • etc., etc.

Since being on Instagram, I’ve noticed that some people take it way too seriously (in my opinion). Some people curate their feeds so a glance at their profile displays “pretty,” with all the same format (such as a text block) or colors (such as alternating a white background and a black background every other post).

Tip: Ignore advice that makes social media less fun... Click To TweetPersonally, that seems like it would make the platform more limiting—and more importantly to me, less fun. Plus, I find those profiles visually boring, so I tend not to follow them. As a scrolling user, I want to see beautiful or cute images—bring on the pet pictures and sunsets! *smile*

That means I ignore any advice that would limit my enjoyment or ability to post the kind of content I’d want to see as a viewer. The most I do is use filters or effects to get a coherent “look” to my images, whether I’m posting cat pictures or nature landscapes.

A Platform Is Fun If We…

  • like the unique features
  • connect with our friends there
  • can find good content
  • enjoy the type of content typically shared
  • understand how to make it work
  • etc., etc.

On other platforms, I tend not to follow celebrity or “fluff” accounts because I don’t care what they have to say. On Instagram, where it’s all about the visual, I find I’m following different types of accounts from what I usually choose, from movie studios to comic artists like Nathan W. Pyle.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nathan W Pyle (@nathanwpyle) on

In other words, if we like what makes a platform unique and/or interactive, we’re more likely to enjoy using it. For example, I created a few Instagram Stories yesterday, even making an “About Me” Highlight, because I’ve decided the point of the feature—whether this is actually true or not is irrelevant—is to add fun captions to images. *grin*

Image of brownies with caption: I just followed this food porn account. Why do I do this to myself? ;)

Close up of chocolate candies with caption: I survive on chocolate... ;)

(Newsletter Readers: Click through to the post to view images.)

Make the Most of the Fun Stuff

Once I figured out how to have fun with posts—with a great deal of help from Dahlia’s fantastic prompts—I recognized another benefit of focusing on enjoyable social media platforms: sharing to our other social platforms.

Tip: Double the effects of social media by cross-posting from our favorite platforms... Click To TweetMany social media platforms have the capability to share or automatically post from one platform to another. So we don’t necessarily have to be as active on platforms we don’t enjoy if we cross-post from those platforms we do enjoy.

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Facebook, so posting more than blog updates and occasional memes and news felt like work. But Instagram posts can automatically share to my Facebook account, giving me more activity over there without extra work. Yay!

We can’t be active everywhere, and no one wants to spend time on platforms that just feel like drudgery. But when we do find platforms that are fun for us, we can at least ensure we’re making the most of them for our social media presence. *smile*

Do you agree that social media should be fun? What’s your favorite social media platform? Why is it your favorite (is your reason on the bullet list above or can you think of more reasons)? What makes other platforms less fun for you? Have you taken advantage of cross-posting features to increase your activity on less-favorite platforms?

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Sieran

For me, I like Facebook and WordPress. They’re the only social media platforms I use, really, unless you count Goodreads. I never felt motivated to get Twitter or Instagram, not because I have anything against them, but because I have no motivation, lol. And Facebook is taking enough of my time. I briefly played with Pinterest and StumbledUpon, but soon lost interest. I have a LinkedIn account that I almost never frequent. And I have a Tumblr account that I have never used. Recently I’ve talked to some very anti-Facebook people. It kind of annoys me when people iterate the same old arguments for why they think Facebook is shallow and inferior, e.g. posting selfies, sharing pictures of food and children, wanting likes and reacts (attention whores), etc. First of all, I don’t see anything wrong with people wanting attention or validation, and if they enjoy posting pictures of themselves, people they love, animals, or food, why does this offend you? Second of all, these are just stereotypical ways of using Facebook. There are so many other things you can do here, such as sharing witty puns and jokes (especially nerdy jokes), talking about things you care about, like society, politics, psychology, philosophy, writing, literature, LGBTQ+ issues, or Pokemon. On Facebook, I get to learn so much from other people, both friends and strangers alike, and I just enjoy discussing things, sharing experiences, spreading empathy and support for each other, and the like. So Facebook has been a mostly very…  — Read More »

Deborah Makarios

I use WordPress – both for a WP-supported blog and for following other blogs – and I also hang out on Ravelry. It’s not just a great place to find knit & crochet patterns (and endless helpful advice), it has all sorts of other groups too. When I did NaNoWriMo last year, it was the Ravelry NaNo forum I hung out on, more than the actual NaNo ones!

Before I had a blog, I had Facebook – but I gave it up over a mix of security concerns and frustration at Facebook feeding me endless friends’ game results, but omitting to mention important things like when friends got engaged! I mostly had the account to keep up with friends in other countries, but if I’m not going to hear about the big stuff in their lives, what’s the point?

On the other hand, you do miss out on stuff if you don’t have Facebook, because people tend to assume that if they’ve put something on Facebook, all their friends know about it – birthday parties, relationships and all. It’s like an inefficient social secretary, who keeps forgetting to tell people things and loses the addresses of people who aren’t nice to it 🙂

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