But because I work as a freelance copywriter, and understanding technology is a major part of my job, last January I decided to cast aside my fears and jump headfirst into the strange and mysterious world of social networking.
Here’s what I’ve learnt in my short time as a card-carrying member of the ‘sharing generation’:
Being active on this platform is like having to get dressed up in your most capable-looking outfit and go out for a formal dinner party with your boss and colleagues.
Then, spending the entire time trying to pretend you’ve got your life together, that you’re constantly productive and only stop being the best you can be for half an hour on a Sunday evening.
It’s all about presenting an image that screams respectability and expertise. And you are solely judged on your ability to contribute something intelligent, witty and/or useful to the conversation.
But the number one rule here is that you should never drink alcohol, lest you lose your inhibitions and say something stupid. Save the dirty jokes and witty put-downs for Twitter, unless you don’t plan on ever finding work again.
Now as you’d expect, Twitter is an entirely different beast.
If LinkedIn is the formal work meal, then Twitter is like going to the pub with your mates – it’s usually fun, but there’s always that one nobhead who has to get political.
You can drink alcohol here, but you still have to be aware that you’re on a public forum and ultimately trying to promote your brand.
It’s great for moments of procrastination (so that’s all moments if you’re a real writer, procrastination being one of our specialties), and for having a joke and a laugh on those days when you really need it.
But the best thing about Twitter by far, is the writing community.
Insta-what-now? I’ve heard of telegrams, if that helps.
The only thing worth knowing about Facebook is that it’s for narcissists and sociopaths.
I’m only saying that because I don’t happen to use it.
In my experience, weirdos can be found on all social networking sites, no matter which one you happen to favour.
But in all seriousness, I think that Facebook’s influence is dwindling.
The majority of writers who I network with neglect their Facebook author pages, in favour of Twitter and Pinterest. This is partly due to recent privacy controversies, but I think that writers have got wise to the fact that there’s a lot of noise you have to shout above if you want to get heard on this platform.
Now, I know I’m not an expert or anything, but I’m pretty sure that Youtube is only for watching true crime documentaries and the video for ‘Land Down Under’ by ‘Men At Work’. And I’m 100% sure that there is zero income or marketing potential on this platform.
So my advice is to stay well-clear.
And no, I’ve never heard of anyone called Zoella.
I’m new to Pinterest, having only joined a couple of months ago. I’ve hit a couple of technical snags with it, so at this stage I’m undecided.
But I think that its main attraction is obviously its visual appeal, which speaks to creative types such as myself.
What I have found so far is that it’s a great tool for finding writing prompts and aesthetic inspiration for fiction writing. But it’s even better if you want to discover ingenious ways to use mason jars.
I joined Twitter expecting to find a bunch of people arguing with each other about the burning issues that affect us all.
Like whether the latest ‘Jurassic Park’ films have completely ruined the franchise, whether ‘The Wire’ or ‘Breaking Bad’ is the superior programme, or whether milk before or milk after is the correct way to pour cereal.
(As for tea, there’s no question, it’s always milk after water.)
What I found instead was a funny and supportive community of people who shared the same humour and interests as me.
I didn’t find people to insult and argue with because that wasn’t what I was looking for. So I believe that the experience you have of social media depends on your personality, your expectations and how you choose to use it.
Photo Credit: Rahul Chakraborty, Unsplash