Mostly for my own reference, but also to invite comments about what others are doing, I'm taking stock of how I use (and don't use) various social media tools today in my personal life.
Twitter is probably the social media tool I post to most frequently. With close to 700 followers and 700 people I follow, I enjoy the quick and easy perusing of other people's tweets, the sharing of interesting / useful / important links, and the witty repartee that can result. Since joining in 2008 and initially making fun of it, I've come to embrace the challenge of saying something meaningful or interesting in such a small number of words.
I've found a good mix of Twitter accounts to follow that both give me access to articles, ideas and resources I know I'll find interesting, and accounts that challenge me to think differently about the world. I try to follow at least one link every day to a resource/site/article that I know I'll profoundly disagree with.
In 1997 I co-founded a company whose business model was based on the value of building highly customized websites for our clients. Those clients often didn't know (or want to know) much about the inner workings of HTML, Photoshop, hyperlinks and web hosting, but they knew that the World Wide Web and the Internet represented a new era of marketing and communications, and it was worth paying someone else to figure those details out so that they could be a part of that in some form.
And so in a time before content management software, Google, PayPal or GoDaddy, we - like other web development companies starting to pop up around the world - built websites, online stores and interactive community tools from scratch. At first we hand-coded sites in HotDog Pro or BBEdit, and then later used Dreamweaver and Fireworks. We created complex software applications using Perl, and others used PHP, Python, TCL and C. We tested for compatibility with Netscape and Internet Explorer, and we submitted links to AltaVista for crawling when we were done.
That model evolved as we went and worked pretty well until around 2008, when we saw the maturity of many new "software as a service" offerings and a bunch of off-the-shelf tools and programs that often made custom website development unnecessary, or at least seen as too costly in the eyes of clients who once had few other choices. We also saw the focus on developing an online presence shift away from "doing it right" to "doing it quickly" - edgy, authentic and in-progress began to trump polished and highly produced.