Bonsai-ing my Social Trees

One of my New Year's resolutions was to "bonsai" my social tree. This goes beyond cutting swathes of people, friends, fans, or what-have-yous from my social networks, which is why I didn't call this post "Pruning my Social Trees". For while I do agree with the Dunbar Number, the needs of a content creator requires us to find a balance between staying connecting with initimates and being able to reach an audience.

Why bother to do this at all, though? To belabor the "tree" metaphor, without proper maintenance your social tree will wither. My own situation demonstrates this. In the madgrab of "building an audience" I've added too many branches to the point that I no longer see the roots of the whole thing. Automatic reposting has resulted in the same item being listed multiple times on the same network. And more importantly I am doing a terrible job of feeding content into the tree, whether creating my own or sharing from my friends.

So I decided to take action.

First, I am going do a better job of creating more content, whether its code, stories, or posts. More importantly, I will more actively support the works of my friends and peers.

Second, I decided the "role" each network plays; what content I expect to see and post there and how it interacts with other networks. Decisions were also made on who to follow and cuts made without any malicious intent; I am not adverse to anyone requesting to join my network, just as long as they do so on the right one. For my part, when I have no expectations when I make a request and don't campaign for a connection; I expect most peope are the same.

Some networks are "roots", the primary point for each piece of work:

  • Path is going to be my private life. I'm only try to follow my closest friends and family there, and am honored when they let me. In exchange, I will never campaign about my projects here except to celebrate or vent any related emotions. It will never repost to another network.
  • Instagram, despite the privacy and rights brou-ha-ha a few weeks ago, is still my main real-time, in-the-moment chronicle of my public life and the behind the scenes of whatever I am working on. It will post to most of the other networks, and I'll be following mainly people I know whose adventures I find entertaining.
  • Github and Gist is where my code monkey activities resides, with anything notable being highlighed as a post on the Carbon Emmiter. I will be promoting these on other networks as well.
  • Like Charlie Brown trying to kick that damn football, I keep trying to get into shape, and I've found the best network to track that has been Nike+. It's been set to automatically post achievements to other networks.
  • And of course, there is this blog, Timey Wimey TV and my other creative works that you can specifically follow if you are interested, though you can expect to see them mentioned alot elsewhere.

The roots feed into "trunks", the popular mainstays we are all familar with. I expect to see people sharing here, campaigning for their own works, and generally making a spectacle of their lives; I know I will!

  • LinkedIn is promoted to my preferred "networking" network. If we've chatted at a meetup or you want to pitch a project to me, this is how to reach me. I will respond, I promise. It may not be affirmative to going forward at this time, but I WILL respond.
  • Twitter is probably my favorite network, and could be a "root" in its own right as I post statuses and observations there. I follow people who continually delight and entertain me as real friends or thought leaders. It's the zeitgeist of my world.
  • Facebook will see the most change as I move a lot of people into subscribers and track friends and families there from all walks of life. My posts will be public, however, open to commentary though messaging is reserved for people I actually know and have met.

Others networks I consider "leafs", usually an endpoint of themselves that can occassionaly give back to the whole tree.

  • Pinterest has surprised even me in how much I use it. It's my moodboard that I mostly do for myself, and where I snapshot things I want to keep long term to reference and inspire me. I've been posting back to other networks as well, but trust me when I say I try to be judicious of when I do so.
  • Flickr came roaring back this year at an opportune time and I played around with the iOS app for a week as an Instagram replacement. And while it was very shiny, its lack of automatic updating keeps it as an archive of my photos, though I will be interacting more there in the future.

And then there are the "buds", networks I am still trying to decide what I am doing with:

  • Google Plus shows a lot of promise, and I've been trying to form circles around areas of interest. It may take the role of a Facebook equivalent with more public interaction but I want to get into the habit of regularly posting there first.
  • To be honest, Tumblr is something I am still trying to "get". There is clearly a language of memes that is used to communicate there that I need to learn.
  • Hearing that all the kids are hopping on [snapchat][snapchat], this old man hopped on to figure out a way to use it … and is waiting for someone he knows to show up!
  • And I've also been making a daily post to, a place to share appreciation of people, places and things some friends of mine have launched.

Finally, as this is about "social" platforms, you play a part in this process. I encourage you to connect to me on the networks you prefer and, more importantly, disconnect from those where it will be redundent or irrelevant, even if that means all of them. No ill will be taken or given as it is all about building real healthy relationships. And this process should de done continually, as like a living tree, our networks are continually growing and changing.

So what are your thoughts on this matter? I would love to hear them below, or on any of the networks listed above!

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