I’ve been conscious for a while that I ought to have a bit of a health-check of my social media activities for the Connecting for Nature biodiversity partnership. This became possible thanks to a generous offer from Scarborough-based Zebra Consulting to offer a fresh perspective and a listening ear. Zebra owner Rachel Sutcliffe helped deliver our Connecting For Nature Social Media Workshop last February, which featured on this blog a year ago.
Subsequent to this ‘Social MOT’ as one might call it, I’ve been taking stock of my various social media outputs with a sense that I might be better organized in future. This blog post is the first of several that I envisage, to explore some themes of my Social MOT….this first one is about our online personas…
Part 1 – Twitter Hats.
It’s sometimes confusing wearing three Twitter hats. Does anyone else suffer from this most modern of problems, shall we call it the multiple social media account persona? In some respects I have a clear notion of what I feel the tone should be and the type of audience I’m aiming at in each case. There is often however a big overlap in interests and certainly some overlap in followers across the accounts.
For the record, here are my three twitter hats:
- My very first, @CarrsWetland is all me and originated in 2012 when I was still the Wetland Project officer for the Carrs Wetland Project.
- The account I set up in 2014 for the Connecting for Nature biodiversity partnership is @CFNature and though it is also mainly me tweeting, I’m open to sharing this with someone else who can check in now and then, retweet stuff and reply to notifications, tweet relevant images and news etc.
- Lastly there’s @SBIB_Bloom (Stamford Bridge in Bloom) which I set up in 2015 to bring into the digital age the community group I support at home.
If you too have several parallel social media accounts at your disposal, multiple twitter accounts for instance, I’m interested in your experiences – do you find it confusing or perhaps liberating to take on the mantle of different personas in the twittersphere or the Instagram world?
With Twitter I’m kind of binge-y, tending to retweet a bunch of stuff then may not touch it for several days. When I do check twitter I try to respond to notifications first then retweet some stuff that looks interesting, but generating my own tweets is more sporadic. It’s not helped that I’m torn between my (former) wetland officer persona @CarrsWetland, which is just myself and the biodiversity one @CFNature. The latter could be shared between several people but at the moment is just me… Sometimes feel I should focus on just one of them or merge them somehow. My twitter still feels like a personal identity more than a group or brand… ideally I’d like someone else in the biodiversity network to share tweeting @CFNature and respond to notifications….If this could be you, even just for a short period – like a twitter take-over week (there’s a blog post for another day) please get in touch!
In the same way as with my Twitter Hats I have input to several Instagram accounts (four, in fact – is that too many?) and so I find I’m mentally switching who I’m addressing and what I think they would like to see from that particular feed. I must say that I’m enjoying Instagram a lot at the moment. I do this exclusively on my android smart phone so it’s mostly in my own time, but typically about once a week per account. Last spring I started posting occasionally on behalf of Scarborough Tourism Bureau on their @Discover.Yorkshire.Coast Instagram account.
The Scarborough Tourism Bureau manages the DYC account, but my contributions, once a week or so diversify the type of images and locations. I get to see some lovely places as I’m out and about around the Borough for meetings and planning ecologist purposes, not to mention those I explore with family around the coast, moors, wolds etc with smart phone camera in hand. It’s been fun to do and certainly a learning experience.
The DYC Instagram is an official account for marketing the Yorkshire Coast and feels much more of an international animal than its social siblings Twitter and Facebook. By this I mean that the posts are frequently liked by Instagrammers overseas (it’s all in the algorithms I’m sure but an image can just as easily be impressed upon users in faraway lands as those in the adjacent county). In this respect I feel like the custodian of a precious brand, building a global fan-base who might one day travel to Yorkshire. The voice has to be consistent and trusted and reputable. This is not to say when I use Instagram as tim.burkinshaw I’m disreputable of course…but perhaps I can be more playful and idiosyncratic.
So how do you feel your social media use is working out? Have you quite enough on your plate with one persona let alone two or four? How many other people these days have separate social media identities for work and play for instance? I’d be fascinated to hear about your experiences and perspectives.
With thanks to Rachel Sutcliffe of Zebra Consulting for the helpful discussions which led to this series of posts. Next installment in a week’s time!