What’s Your Social Media STACK? Application Framework? Social Media Workflow?

We’ve all got one. Even if you don’t think you have one, you have one. It may be really simple: 1. I use Facebook and I use Twitter & I email and txt. Or it could be complex involving more than 5 apps and platforms. However your STACK is of critical importance to getting YOUR version of social media done.

[I’ve written a new version of this post 3-28-12: Social Media Workflow: What’s Your Daily Cadence for Sharing ]

What I want to explore here is the evolving social media stack, and look at how I process a few tasks (URL filing and recall or bookmarking; tweeting interesting links) and a some of the pitfalls and problems I’ve encountered. I’d like nothing more than to get a thread going with people contributing their STACKS, but I’ll stick with the focus on myself. Feel free to add your STACK in the comments.

The primary components of my social media engagement are blogs, linkedin, facebook and twitter. And here is how I break down my time spent on social media tasks.

  • 20% random browsing (using RSS or iGoogle as starting points for exploration to researching tech topics for my tech writing)
  • 30% my blogs (writing and optimizing uber.la and various other blogs I manage)
  • 10% twitter (meme hunting, networking, self-promotion, sharing social media knowledge, humor and links)
  • 10% facebook (social connections and meme hunting)
  • 25% business/tech blogs (reading, posting, commenting)
  • 5% linkedIN (making connections and hunting up more work) [I might need to bump this up a little.]

Here’s how my top 3 are managed:

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For the most part I use Tweetdeck and Friendfeed to populate my social media sites. I go to Twitter.com only to manage followers and friends. I do visit Facebook more often, even though I can see friends status updates in Tweetdeck. It’s much easier to make posts and connections from the Facebook site.

I don’t visit LinkedIN very often. But when I do I am either posting an article that I think will be of benefit to one of my groups or I am researching a company for consulting work or to find a colleague.

Here is how the Friendfeed system takes my inputs from various sources and aggregates them into one site and outputs them to multiple streams that I can use for different purposes.

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In the early days [meaning a year ago] when I couldn’t keep track of all my services I would use FF as my landing page to go find my Flickr account or to link to my YouTube account. I still do that from time to time, but I won’t admit it.

So let’s see the two different ways I post URLs to share.

The first method I use for URLs that are more temporary. Not necessarily a link I want to put into my filing system for retrieval, but of interest nonetheless. For these URLs I use the FriendFeed web widget:

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When the link I want to share is more serious, more of a resource that I will want to go back to, I put it in my virtual filing cabinet using Delicious. Once the URL is in Delicious I can tag and categorize the link in many ways that make sense to me.

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I might share one of these links to Twitter as well, but initially I have FriendFeed set to NOT post Delicious links to Twitter. In this way, my FriendFeed links go to Twitter automatically as intended. And my Delicious links DO post to my FriendFeed page (thus getting stored in my FriendFeed info stream) but they DO NOT post to my Twitter stream. There is such thing as OVERSHARING, and I have been tried a number of ways to cut down on my number of tweets and up the quality of the URLs I do post via Twitter.

Several pitfalls I fell into during my “early” learning learning phase was to allow too many other sites tweet my updates. A real stand out in the music discovery market is Blip.fm. I love Blip. And for a while I was playing TweeJay, my name for Twitter-DJay. When I would blip a song it would post to my twitter feed that I was listening to XYZ song. While this was fun, I started thinking about what “value” I wanted to provide to my tweeps. I did an assessment and what I found was that my tweetstream looked like this.

What do you Tweet?

22% of my tweets at that time were BLIPs! Not exactly what I was trying to build as a reputation. So I turned off the Blips. I still use Blip, but today my TweeJay announcements stay on Blip.fm alone.

Another auto-feed I had a problem with was harder to root out. And here is where having a sense of your Social Media STACK is important. In the course of updating a few of my connections I had inadvertently enabled a daily Delicious Links update that tweeted a daily summary page of my Delicious links.

And here’s the funny part. When I saw the first few Tweets I started trying to figure out WHERE the preference was that was creating the daily “Delicious Links for 8-2-09” tweets. First stop, Delicious. It seemed reasonable that Delicious would be putting up the “Delicious Links” tweet. But I could not find an auto-tweet setting anywhere.

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Next step Friendfeed, cause that’s what FF does, is aggregates stuff and re-outputs it where you want it. But again I could not find anything directly linking Delicious and Twitter.

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UPDATE 8-5-09: Delicious added a Post to Tweet feature today so now you can add that to your blueprint planning as well:

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[I turned off my Delicious to FF to Twitter updates at this time and have not turned them back on.] And writing this I can’t remember where the preference was found. I think it might have been Disqus. [Going off to check for the Delicious to Twitter update preference.]

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Nope, Disqus was clear. And then I remembered: I had been telling someone last week how great some of the Feedburner features were and how bad some of the features were. Here’s the offending pref on my uber.la Feedburner account that was causing the trouble. Something called Link Splicer. [Bad title, bad idea!]

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So when you sum it all up, you NEED to understand your Social Media STACK. Breaks in the pipes, additive tweets and posts, organizing and maintaining your social media information flow is critical to your success. This does not mean it has to be overly complex. In fact, my goal is always to simplify my structure over time and make adjustments based on goals and changing application availability and features.

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And even then there are always new options. Three years ago Twitter was not really a factor. I remember playing with it during the 2006 SXSW and all I came up with was, “Why do I want to know where you are going for coffee at 2am on a Saturday night.” So I abandoned my Twitter account and Twitter all together until March of 2008. Now Twitter is a force. Not the major force, but definitely player in any social media strategy. And Friendfeed, my favorite aggregation tool actually lost traffic in June 2009.

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And while Twitter’s phenomenal growth is entertaining to report on and write about, the granddaddy of them all is Facebook. So if you’re gonna simplify, perhaps this is your STACK.

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The numbers are running in favor of Facebook to become an ever-more dominate force in social media. Here’s a tidbit from TechCrunch:  Facebook Is Now the Fourth Largest Site In The World.

Update: I believe as of this writing that Facebook is number 2, after QQ in China.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
The PPT presentation is available on Slideshare.net: Defining a Social Media Stack

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