I’ve decided to re-think my approach the Social Networking Scene for 2014. With too many profiles and too many projects, streamlining is the magic word that springs to mind.
And so I won’t forget my reasons 4 weeks from now I thought I’d share with you how I’m doing it.
I’m so glad that every of my idea strands has a different and dedicated website. I’m into very many things, but they don’t really mix or cross over very well. For example, iOS Development doesn’t go together with tips and tricks on WordPress and how to host websites.
Likewise, my sketches have no place in all this techie talk. And my photos don’t mix with creative app reviews either. And how about my company site that keeps track of all my iOS Apps?
Let’s examine where we are right now (2013/2014) and what is posted where:
- pinkstone.co.uk – my personal iOS Dev Diary, contains code snippets and really complicated stuff. It’s for developers and code junkies.
- pinkstonepictures.com – all about our iOS Apps and customer support. It’s for humans rather than code brains.
- wpguru.co.uk – my WordPress Dev Diary, including my own Theme and Plugin releases, a place for support with those, as well as related things such as Plesk, Linux, MySQL, etc. Fairly techie, but less code focussed than my iOS Dev Diary.
- wphosting.tv – dedicated site for my web hosting customers, specifically for sales and support. If someone wants to buy a website, I no longer send them to The WP Guru, I send them here.
That covers the left side of my brain. On top of that, and o balance it all out, I have several creative outlets too (for the right side of my brain I guess):
- versluis.tumblr.com – sketches I draw on my various digital devices
- flickr.com/versluis – pictures I take with anything from a Holga to a Polaroid, and various apps
- Impossible Gallery – they have a user gallery where I post only Polaroid shots (they don’t have a proper user URL though)
I’ve been active on Facebook and Twitter for many years, but I also like to keep them separate and dedicated to different things. Facebook is great to stay in touch with friends and people whom I’ve actually met. For me that’s a closed circle and I don’t accept requests from strangers. That’s why I have two Facebook Pages that allows this.
Twitter is the “one stream” that brings everything I do together: Every post I write, every picture I take, every WordPress plugin and iOS App I write – and I’d like to keep it that way.
I’m also on LinkedIn but other than “connect” with people I already knew I didn’t do much with it. That’s changed dramatically over the last year: I now get job offers from headhunters and can connect with people I meet at techie conferences. LinkedIn is becoming more important now that I’m “alone in the business world” without a regular supply of freelance work.
And then of course there’s newcomer Google Plus, something I’ve registered with a while ago, but not something I’ve been using actively. Like LinkedIn, I guess Google Plus is going to become an important online asset.
So for 2014 I want to put more emphasis on both LinkedIn and Google Plus. But how do I do that without having to manually submit one link to several outlets?
I’ll do it all with JetPack!
How I used to do it
Every post I write on any of my websites will be posted to any of the four social networks. I used to have an automation in place which would
- read my RSS Feed from one site
- syndicated on another site
- auto-tweet and auto-facebook that post
I did this successfully with a combination of FeedWordPress, RSS Graffiti and Feedburner since 2011.
Sadly that approach doesn’t work with Google Plus or LinkedIn who do not allow such automations. Besides, Google search algorithms are so sophisticated that I get no kudos from having the same post on more than one website: Google very much knows who provides original content and which website simply displays a cheap copy of it.
For example, my iOS Dev Diary was meant as an online note-taking platform when I started it. I use it as a reference for my projects and quick code snippets. When I found out that it was generating somewhere between 400 and 600 hits per day (!) I understood that this is valuable to other people and added all those posts to my WP Guru website. I wanted to shift the user interaction and comments to The WP Guru, and keep my iOS Dev Diary as a “slim and dirty” WordPress instance.
As it turns out though, nobody is reading the posts on the syndicated website, and Google is the main provider of links into the original website. Therefore, all the syndicated posts are merely diluting the focussed topic of WordPress and related subjects.
New for 2014: How it’s done starting today
The previous system was complex to maintain, as various providers top working or change the way they work every once in a while. One thing has has provided consistency is the excellent JetPack add-on for my WordPress websites.
JetPack is a well maintained plugin that brings the power of WordPress.com to self-hosted websites. Without going into too much detail, JetPack connects each website with my social accounts. When I write a post, it ends up on whichever social account I choose, inducing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.
One downside with using JetPack though is that hitting the “publish” button takes several moments longer, due to the time it takes for those social services to get back to the website.
Hence I will leave Feedburner in place for Twitter, it’s nice to create those hashtags from my tags and categories automatically. It also gives me a few moments to correct the inevitable typos in an article until the link appears on Twitter.
Where does versluis.com fit in?
This website right here has changed focus several times since its inception in 1998. That’s 16 years of versluis.com at the time of writing!
This used to be a test project, a sarcasm outlet, a sales page, a place for my pictures, basically the forerunner of my very own social network. What I used to do here has been largely replaced by more efficient systems.
Today I find myself using it less overall, and if I do it’s personal write-ups (like this one). Everything that doesn’t fit into any of my other sites. Fringe interests such as 3D Animation, texturing, the occasional social commentary or app review will make its way here.
2013 was a phenomenal year for me and Julia, and I’m a bit sad to see it go. But who’s to say that 2014 should be any less amazing?
Let’s make it happen!