Back in early 2009 I posted what was then my Social Media Map – a visual summary of how I was using Social Media at that time. Later that year I posted a small update to it. Seven years later, it seems appropriate to revisit the picture to see how it has changed. Seven years, let’s pause to think about that for a second, none of this is new any more, when did that happen?

First point to note is that I now have two social media profiles, myself and the mysterious Dark Edinburgh who lurks in the night taking pictures. He’s more popular than me, Superman to my Clark Kent, if you will.

Second point to note is that things have simplified significantly. I’ve only included things that get regular use ( so apologies to G+, Ello, and all the other places I have accounts that I don’t use ) – this means also noting a fond farewell to BrightKite/Twitpic/Twitterfeed et al.

The main change is that I have stopped hooking up services in a flurry of cross-posting. Clearly, back in 2009, I was intent on seeing just how many things I could get to talk to each other as an elaborate internet domino topple. That may have largely been for entertainment but over the intervening 7 years it has become clear that it’s not very useful at all. I do retain some elements of cross-posting for convenience but only where it doesn’t compromise the content.

Here are the updated maps with some commentary below.


Social Media Map 2016


Dark Edinburgh Media Map

So, what have I learned in seven years, in no particular order:

  1. Cross-posting is usually a bad idea. I know, I know, you could have told me that in 2009 but, forgive me, I was enjoying playing with stuff. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should ( thankyou Mr. Goldblum ) – there are instances where it does make sense ( usually with the help of IFTTT ) – more on that later.
  2. Manually sharing blog links/content to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provides some key benefits over automatically posting – so Feedburner etc no longer feature in the picture.
    – You can choose if you post. My blog is, by nature, eclectic so sometimes posting to any given place might not be ideal, the audiences are different. In fact, my lovely Facebook chums rarely care/notice when I post blog content there.
    – You can choose when you post. WordPress social plugins like you to share when you publish the post. This might not be the best time to share on any given channel, it rarely is with me. Much better to publish a post ( to let search engines do their thing ) and share the link to the post when you think it’s best.
    – You can choose the voice. Any tweet or status update that is auto-generated for all channels is actually sub-optimal for them all. If you are sharing to Facebook or LinkedIn you have space to say a little more and drive better engagement. LinkedIn posts now allow images etc so I’ve tried doing small posts in LinkedIn that have blog links as added media. The audiences are different, so your voice should be too.
  3. Nobody cares about my location check-ins so I stopped cross-posting those a while ago. And the nobodies that might care are my friends on Foursquare. I will, very occasionally, share a check-in to Facebook but that is usually to wind someone up.
  4. Scrobbling to is great until your daughter starts using your Mac at home and your library needs a lot of cleaning after that – seven years have passed and she’s older now.

And a few thoughts that relate to Dark Edinburgh:

  1. Dark Edinburgh has become a Facebook centric thing. Although it existed on the web and on Twitter earlier, it didn’t really get any traction until I put it on Facebook one lazy Saturday afternoon. To keep Twitter going I allowed Facebook to tweet each scheduled post ( all Dark Edinburgh posts are scheduled as I’m not actually in Edinburgh all that often ). The engagement on Facebook links on Twitter is rubbish so I switched to manually reposting on Instagram and using IFTTT to tweet the picture. This is better as you get the picture tweeted directly, not a link and that’s get’s better engagement ( although not exactly flying ). This has been very useful with my personal Instagram/Twitter accounts which have been rejuvenated by the Google Photos app ( more about that here ).
  2. I can’t find a way to get IFTTT to post anything other than a link from a Facebook page post. Even if you can, I think it’s still best to manually post to Instagram so I can add specific hashtags (which seems to be the game on Instagram) and avoid spamming the tweet with the tags.
  3. Similarly, I’d love to get the scheduled Facebook posts to post the picture to the Dark Edinburgh website. I’m not sure that’s possible (if anyone knows, let me know) so, I’ve provided a lazy solution using a WordPress plugin to drag the Facebook page post pictures onto the website. The website gets no love as I don’t have time to do much with it, so this is just a make do and mend solution.

Back in those crazy early days of Social Media I was intent on trying everything out. As it has become a more business as usual thing, it has settled down to a smaller core of things that I do and this has brought a lot of simplification with it. Many things have come and gone over the intervening 7 years and I expect it to always change.

The interesting thing for me to to continually reassess why I am doing something (other than blind habit) as it gives a clue as to the underlying reasons for the existence and use of Social Media – as opposed to simple technology tinkering as it was in 2009.

I wonder what it will look like in 2023? Come back in seven years to find out 🙂