Sowing Seeds In Social Media

My yard backs up against undeveloped woodland – it’s actually the little used rear property of a home around the corner.  On my side of the fence, it’s a tame cultivated garden; on the other side, a tangle of trees and vines.  Very often, I feel like a frontiersman – forever keeping the savage world from encroaching on my kinder, gentler space. 

That’s sort of how I feel about social media.  Millions of people long and crave for the unknown delights found in the collection and connection of wires and signals.  But each time I look at the various platforms, I feel as if I’m looking over the fence along the back of my property, the one that does its best to distinguish my manicured ¼ acre from the knotted twists of vines that are slowly killing the native trees.  Yes, social media is kudzu.

But as my blog approaches its first birthday, I’m exploring other means of cultivating readership through, you guessed it, social media.  I keep telling myself it’s no different than turning a corner of the yard into a flower bed.  It takes time, patience, and the right amount of sun and water and organic matter.  And yet, I find myself a stranger in a strange land.  I don’t speak the language.  I don’t have the right tools.  My reference books are outdated.  And it’s a jungle out there.

My first stop was Facebook – and let’s be clear, I suffer from Facebookaphobia.  For starters, by day I work in a high school, and my fear is that students would have too much access to me or ask to be my friend.  That means I would have to set boundaries and reject their friendship, which can then make for an awkward day at work.  Then, there is the matter of old friendships.  I barely have time to have an actual conversation with my immediate family, much less with people whom I haven’t seen in thirty years. 

My friend Teresa, though, encouraged me that a Facebook page would certainly increase readership.  With her guidance, as well as the help of my 23-year-old nephew and 11-year-old niece, I created a “Like” page.  I’m still not exactly sure what that means, other than people have to find my page and like it to have access. 

A little further into this new world, I discovered Tumblr.  My understanding is that this is a simpler blogging platform that relies heavily on photo content and reblogs.  It’s very different from the WordPress or Blogger format — but in any event, I created a blog and linked it back to this site.

Now that I’ve started hacking — no pun intended — into the social media woods, I can see Twitter and Pinterest up ahead.  If Facebook and Tumblr were a mystery, these two are like the island in “Lost.” 

I’m not sure how far I want to travel into this untamed realm, but I’m certainly open to advice and guidance.  If you like, you can click on the embedded links in the text or photos or on the links near the top of the right column of this page.  I would appreciate any feedback you could offer – even if it’s the message that keeps echoing in my head . . . 

“Turn back now, while you still can.”

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Beth at Daylily Soup for the Versatile Blogger Award nomination.  Her Alabama garden and blog are places of inspiration, creativity, and joy.  Click on over and rest awhile.

48 thoughts on “Sowing Seeds In Social Media

  1. I, too, avoided the social media sites for years, and finally joined facebook only to promote my blog. I have found it to be helpful and quite entertaining…though I didn’t really need anything else to distract me. It can swallow you up if you let it! Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  2. Kevin, it’s a roll of the dice; you might love your venture, or you might find it too time-consuming. Truth is, social media are like tennis: You can play at any speed. Good luck.

    • Hi Robin — thanks for the advice. I’m not sure how it will work out until it actually does work out. And I will certainly try to play it on my terms. 🙂

  3. I’ve always avoided Facebook for the reasons you’ve mentioned and thought that I must be the only person without this facility now! I eagerly look forward to hearing more about your new experience Kevin… you may even persuade me to finally dip my toe into the Facebook water!

    • Don’t start dipping that toe just yet! I feel like I’m walking on thin ice — and it seems that there are still plenty of people out there who are staying clear of Facebook. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  4. I’ve been on Facebook socially for a long time – but I’ve always been afraid to create a page for my blog… what if only 3 people like me???? 🙂 I too have struggled with the time/benefit of the whole social media thing. I just want to be outside working, not in front of the computer!!! ahh… what to do??

    • Time is a factor — and I had to laugh about the fear of only having 3 people like you. I have that same fear. In fact, when I made the page, I kept looking at it and checking in and wondering why no one was liking me. Of course, I hadn’t yet invited anyone. Duh! 🙂

  5. Wow! You’ve been busy Kevin. I clicked on the links and your pages look great. I have a personal Facebook account, but hardly ever login (about once every two or three weeks). It’s just not my cup of tea, but for a blog that might be a different story. I’m looking forward to hearing how this works out for you.

    Also, you’re quite welcome for the Versatile Blogger Award nomination. Your blog was one of the first I began following, and was/is an inspiration. It’s nice to be able to learn from one of the masters of the craft. Thank you for the very nice comment about Daylily Soup. 🙂

  6. I guess it depends what you want from your blog as to why and what you want to explore in terms of social media – I find my limit is time, more than anything else, so yes I have twitter, but really don’t use it as “I’m supposed to”. But the tumblr thingy whatsit makes sense 🙂

    • Time is an issue that I will have to be mindful of. Twitter is completely foreign to me, and right now I can’t even consider it. As for Tumblr, it’s an interesting format — but I’m not sure where it will go. We’ll see. . .

  7. I’m following this topic of social media closely to hear what you decide. Just read an opinion piece published in Dec. by Pico Iyer that may be of interest.
    Does this work, copying a link in a comment box?
    Pico writes about how to preserve time to think in our lives and mentions time at a monastery where he goes to walk alone through a beautiful landscape of sea and hills.

    • Not only did the link work, but it was a fascinating article. It reminded me of a trip to Scotland several years ago, and an excursion to the Outer Hebrides. I loved it there for many reasons, one of them being that I felt so far away from everything. It’s the same feeling in the garden. I appreciate your advice — and right now, the jury is still out on this social media stuff. I’ll give it a try and see what happens. Happy travels!

  8. Ahoy my friend…well 5mins into your Facebook Venture & you have way more ‘LIKES’ than me, so your audience gathering is sure working. I’ve been a social Facebooker for a while now but only recently under the Tidy Gardens’ guise purely to promote my business as much as poss’. You can use Networked blogs to pull your blog postings to FB and saves some time but I find the photo images present better the way you’re doing for now. Am on Twitter (can’t get my head round ‘#’s’ and ‘@’s’) but again you can use it to pull blog postings with a press on a button so no effort required but again you’re reaching another audience. Off to check out Tmblr, not heard of that one (so NOT as down with the kids as I thought). All are great for maximising your audience gathering & can be done with as liitle effort as you want. Welcome to the 21st century (as my kids say) xx

  9. Ah, Kevin! I’m reading your post a little late because I, too, am just a bit swamped with it all, but I’m also hooked. No turning back for me either…I admire the new forays and sympathize a bit with some of the concerns about Facebook with the high schoolers. I work in a university and have a few of the same issues, but it’s entirely different because they are young adults. I think many of us are in a strange new land. When I have moments of “why am I doing this?” I tell myself that it is good for overall mental acuity–steep learning curves–and that as I age I’ll be better for it. I can justify almost anything 🙂 Good luck to you! Debra

    • I like your thinking. I keep telling myself it’s good exercise for the brain to learn new things. I just don’t want to have a fully exercised brain and no time to relax it. 🙂

  10. I too have succumbed to FB and Twitter and Pinterest blah blah – once you get started you kinda’ get sucked in – can’t quite work out yet if I’m wasting time with all this but I do enjoy seeing what everyone else is up to – and it’s good to know that people are interested in what you are doing. Came to your blog from Jane’s site and am really enjoying your posts.

  11. GO Kevin go, we all know the “torn” feeling you have. The choice to spend a little more time on the computer rather than out in the surrounding that inspired the project. Your images are fantastic. Being stuck on these crutches makes it much harder to take an aesthetic shot, these days. i am encouraged by your courage. keep it up!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, and I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying the content here. Hope you are recovering nicely and will soon be able to somehow position yourself to get in your garden. 🙂

  12. Ah, this is the post I’ve been waiting for — a dispatch from the social media frontier written by someone who understands my fears about going there. (One of my colleagues refers to email as “kudzu,” so your use of the same metaphor for social media made me smile. The great fear for me is that Facebook or Pinterest will turn into total time sinks, and I really don’t want to spend more time on line. (I’m already having trouble keeping up my end of my blogging friendships.) As time goes on, I’d be curious to know whether you think the increased readership payoff is worth it — or whether you find new, unexpected benefits of your foray into social media.

    • Jean, I completely understand where you’re coming from. I think what’s hard for me to fathom is the unknown factor. I understand the blogging thing, and Blotanical has been a tremendous help. It makes sense. What I can’t fathom is the number of people who are on Facebook and Pinterest and how is it possible to reach even one of them. This is a topic that I will revisit in teh future.

  13. Unfortunately no advice to add as I know very little about both venues but I have lots of questions and I’m curious how this venture will turn out for you. I’ve never understood the value of other platforms if you already have a blog other than to redirect traffic. It feels almost like you would end up posting the same information in several different places and that would just be a lot more work? I’m sure there must be some other value that I’m missing so hopefully in the coming months you’ll keep us updated and I can get a better sense of how these systems would all fit together.

    • I’ve wrestled with that same suspicion. I’m still ironing out — and will be for some time — the details of merging these platforms in a way that benefits the blog. I think what can happen is that it opens up the blog to other markets. For example, a friend might find the Facebook page and spread the word to his/her friends. They, in turn, might feel inspired to click the link to the blog to read longer posts. I think? I’ll let you know how it works out.

  14. Facebook, twitter etc, where do we draw the line. I suppose its easier for me, at my age I am probably not expected to be there. However, I enjoy what I do with my blog and the response which I get. I also enjoy all the amazing blogs like your own which I read from around the world. If you are anything like myself and have a compulsion to leave a comment on everyone’s blog which graced you with the same honour then you probably don’t have time for all the palaver that goes with the likes of facebook. Keep up the good work. alistair.

    • Alistair, I so appreciate your comments and advice. Like you, I enjoy visiting and commenting on so many amazing blogs — and I certainly appreciate the readers who have visited my site. It’s just time to try an experiment — we’ll see where it all goes. Enjoy the day!

    • I recently set up an account — and I’m still learning what it’s about. There seems to be plenty of visual inspiration there. Thanks for the tip!

  15. Great tips on the elephant ears! I want to try some in my own garden. Some are supposed to be hardy here, but I would not count on it!

  16. I follow you on Facebook! I use Twitter, but it doesn’t drive traffic that much. Pinterest, however, is a gold mine!

    My husband is a teacher and will only friend students after they graduate. He doesn’t advertise that he has a page, and few students have asked to friend him. Frankly, the in the teaching profession, friending students is almost a lawsuit waiting to happen these days.

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