Is it worth maintaining multiple Twitter accounts?

Do you have more than one Twitter account? Why?

Usually when people maintain more than one Twitter account, it is for reasons of branding. Let’s say someone owns a hotel and a hardware supply company. They’ve taken hardware supply to the Internet and ship all over the world, and that means they need an online presence and identity. They need the same for their hotel, but they don’t want these two identities to mix. The easiest solution is to create two Twitter accounts.

But for those of us who are writing online, and particularly when we’re starting out, is it necessary? I have my personal Twitter account, which displays on the right side of SilverPen, and then I have the echo linux account which shows up at the top right of that site. These two sites have different focuses and audiences, but I’m wondering if it’s worthwhile for me to have two accounts.

What do you think? Are multiple accounts for freelancers and bloggers worth starting early? Or should we pool our resources and use these tools to get the word out to as many people as possible?

It makes sense to create separate online identities for different brands, but what if the brand is ourselves and what we do?

I wish I had a niche

While out of town at a technology conference, I’ve been tweeting about the different sessions I’m attending using our work Twitter account. It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s been especially neat to connect online with others who are doing the same thing. Being focused on this subject has let me easily find others interested in the same things, and true social networks are quickly built as we share information and comment on the same content.

An online community and network (just in general) is something I’ve been wanting to take part in for years, but I don’t know how to do that within my context. The problem is one of specificity, and more to the point, that I have none. This blog has book reviews, fictional stories, comments on games, how-to articles about technology, long-winded essays about theological topics… If I were to focus solely on one of those, I could easily find a community to plug into. There is no techno-theological-writing-reading-reviewing community. SilverPen and my own interests are just too broad.

Or so I have always thought. After learning a bit more in the last week about the wonder of Google Alerts and setting up Twitter searches in Tweetdeck columns, I think I might be able to start branching out a bit socially. To use the analogy of the pool, I have been hesitant to dip my toes in because I’m not committed to any one topic. I assume that it won’t go anywhere and no one will be interested in connecting with me because I don’t go too deep into any one thing. Somewhat similarly, I’m a bit afraid that I will go too deep into one thing and lose my other interests. Just as writing for work has hurt my fiction writing (which was already painful to begin with), diving completely into theology at the exclusion of everything else would cause me to lose a lot of interests and pastimes that are valuable to me.

I think if I set up the tools well enough, though, I can quickly browse through these subjects and engage them and their communities in an efficient enough way to not burden me over much. I’m excited to start setting all this up tomorrow afternoon and throughout the rest of the weekend, so we’ll see.

Their most diabolical plan yet

A few weeks ago, this panel appeared on the Facebook home profile page, taking their “mutual friends” information to a new level by suggesting people you might know yet aren’t friends with yet on Facebook.

In a sense, this is kind of nice. It lets me find people I might want to be friends with, add them or simply remove them from the list, and it’s constantly got new people displayed… but then I began actually trying to use the panel.

Every person I removed from the list was immediately replaced by someone else I “might know,” as if attempting to remove the degrees of separation between me and everyone else in the world. I kept clicking, removing all the people I didn’t know, examining profiles of people I might know, just have forgotten temporarily, and adding a few I was pleasantly surprised to find. And I kept clicking. And kept clicking.

It never ends. Every profile removed from this panel is immediately replaced by another. There seems to be no point at which Facebook says, “Yeah, there’s no real way you know any of these people, but I need this panel full. For your consideration, I present Amali Poutankalishe from Bangladesh.”

It is difficult to tear myself away. I want it to be done, over, finished. I want to lay that panel to rest, to hide all the smiling faces, and assure myself that there’s not anyone on Facebook I’m not friends but would like to be. I want to sort through them all.

Do you think it’s possible to hire someone to act out your OCD tendencies on your behalf?

Spokeo

Our campus newspaper took a look at the dangers of social networking last week (just in case it hadn’t been done enough in the last few years by other media outlets) and noted that Spokeo seems to take Facebook’s propensity towards aggregation and turn it up to eleven. Curious about this site, I decided to make my own account and give it a try.

The long and short of it is that:

  1. It does pull together a somewhat creepy amount of information about your “friends,” and
  2. It requires all your login credentials.

You have to enter login information for every social networking site you wish it to pull data from. Spokeo claims that it do not store these credentials, rather using them to import what it needs that single time, but I have trouble believing that claim. Suffice it to say that I’ll be spending a portion of my day developing some brand new passwords and changing every account I own.

Even more interesting/startling is when you import friends from Facebook or Myspace and Spokeo then cross-references their email address against sites you may not even visit to see if your friends are on there. People who have shared their Facebook profile with me now are sharing their Flikr pages with me, they just don’t know it because they never told me about their Flikr page, Spokeo did.

It’s a net-stalker’s dream, and an intriguing site to be sure, but I can’t feel comfortable using it. As Spokeo points out in their disclaimers, they’re not pulling any information you don’t already have access to. I am technically able to get a person’s email address from Myspace, and then I could go myself to Flikr and look them up. The difference is that I didn’t and wouldn’t; the thought hadn’t crossed my mind. What’s more, the site does it all for me; it’s like having a site named Stalkers’R’Us that aggregates all public/state information on a person and hands it to you (address, phone number, birthdate, email/website addresses, SSN) without you having to do more than login and click “import.”

It’s novel, and I think the creators have done some good work. The site is classy, well-functioning, smooth… and the principle behind it isn’t necessarily bad. I’m just not comfortable with it.

MySpace Crossposting

After our last visit to Wichita, I friended my niece, Alizabeth, on a couple of social networking sites. My blog entries already crosspost to Xanga, LiveJournal, and Facebook, but I’ve ignored MySpace since I first got an account a couple of years ago. I never really wanted a MySpace, didn’t like the site or its format, and I found it to be clunky and unwieldy. To this day, I have not found out how to change backgrounds and colours because it simply wasn’t worth the hassle. The site sucks, so why should I work to resolve their deficiencies?

However, there are a number of people that I like but haven’t seen in many years who have stumbled upon my space, for lack of a better term, so I’ve let it continue to exist in the nether that is the interwebs. Now that I’m connected to my niece on there, I thought I might invest a bit more into that heap of junk.

Thankfully, I discovered that I don’t really have to. A plugin has already been made that allows WordPress entries to be automatically crossposted to MySpace. Of course, since MySpace has horrendous formatting tools and tends to rip nicely formatted articles to shreds through its ineptness, the writer of the plugin recommends not actually crossposting entire entries. Instead, he gave an option to allow one to post just a reference and a link on MySpace that points to the original WordPress blog entry.

I write all of this to say that I’m have installed and am testing the MySpace crossposting plugin, so I’ll be publishing and playing with this article several times in the next few minutes as I try to get it to post cleanly. I might even update if it works or instead fails so miserably that my soul is devoured and sent to plugin hell. Only time will tell, my friends.

Edit:: Bah, the plugin didn’t work. After it failed time and again and I did some troubleshooting and account creation, etc., I started reading the comments at the end of the original thread/entry (where I found the plugin) and discovered that MySpace made some changes to their site on October 10th and the plugin hasn’t worked ever since. Oh well 😦

Edit deux:: Dear Jesus was that a PITA! So, I’m already in the mood to tinker, and I think, “Hmm, I was interested in switching my CMS from Mambo to Joomla. Maybe I’ll give that a try…” I look up some pages and find a forum that says it’s really easy and here are the two steps I need to do. So, I do a full backup and try the two steps.

tappita-tappita: http://mstublefield.com… 404 FULL OF EPIC FAIL!

And when I try to restore my backups, it doesn’t work. I’m getting MySQL errors after restoring the MySQL backups, errors after restoring Home directory backups, errors errors errors. So I finally wiped everything and restored the backup. That fixed it, thank God.

I don’t know why I do this to myself. I hate screwing with this stuff; it makes me super twitchy and I get worried and stuff never works right the first time and then I freak out because I don’t really care what the backend is so long as it works right and looks pretty on the frontend. Which it does. I need to keep my hands off my PHP -_-;