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Just when I thought I knew everything #

I definitely don’t know everything, but I’m not exactly a beginner either when it comes to online and social media. I have a fair amount of knowledge but of course the online world is always evolving and like it or loathe it, you have to adapt to keep up with it. This is a story about that.

I was on Facebook first, not long after it started up. It used to be fun; less business and more apps designed to let you connect with random people all over the world. I loved the arty people and the wordy people, the creatives and the thinkers. They stood out like

pieces of glitter that catch the light; I’ve always loved those random people you sometimes meet in life that you just connect with, as if you’ve known them forever. For me, Facebook has lost that element of randomness, having turned into a purely professional business model. There are positives and negatives to this – I’m not saying it’s all bad, it’s just different now.

Twitter was my next thing and to begin with, I didn’t really see the point of it. I think I had an account for a few years (my personal account) before I properly started using it. My main interest in it was for keeping up with politics, something I’d never really paid much attention to previously but once I started I couldn’t stop. There’s a lot of “them” vs “us” in the world and I can’t help but wonder if people just started listening more instead of being shouty (caps lock and declaring 'fact' doesn't make it so), maybe we’d stop going round in circles with things. It’s an emotive subject and people have different views, but I’ve never known anyone to change their mind after being told their stupid for thinking a certain way.

I also follow a lot of accounts who tweet about autism; being recently diagnosed at the start of this year was in part due to all the information and support from the wonderful people, bloggers and advocates on twitter. At its best, Twitter can be an amazing and welcoming community.

It was a natural progression once I started planning ‘Twysted Roots, The Business Venture’, to have a business Facebook page, twitter account and Google+ page as these were all familiar platforms. Easy stuff! I also joined Instagram, tumblr, and DeviantArt (which I love!) as these were all “things people use” and when your customer base is mainly online, you really have to be where the people are.

It wasn’t such a natural progression for me to start posting and interacting as I’m a self professed introvert, preferring to read and observe. But I’ve put myself out there and any social faux pas have been kept to a minimum.

Being the observing and reading type, I did all the recommended things in order to engage with people, including:

Linking accounts

Posting on multiple platforms

Regular posts

Photos and a short update

Photos and a longer update

Videos because ..... algorithms apparently

And lastly hashtags.

Now in my vast years of social media use, hashtags were always a twitter thing. And once I joined instagram, I saw they were a definite thing there too.

It was never a thing on Facebook!

At least it never used to be.

I’d connected Facebook and Twitter at some point in the last week or so and didn’t realise it worked in reverse too i.e. tweets were cross posted to Facebook. The first slipped through unnoticed (by me at least) about my friends new novel. The second was about me having a major anxiety episode and trying to keep a meltdown at bay with #anxiety and #meltdown being used with the hashtags. And people started interacting with the post which was how I realised it had been shared to more than Twitter. First instinct was to delete it and pretend it didn’t happen but that would have made it even more obvious that it was an accidental post. In no time, analytics was informing me that the post was doing 85% better than previous recent posts.

In all the ‘helpful’ hints and tips on how to engage people, you'd have thought mentioning hashtags might have come in handy. After posting up how many photos of beautiful wire trees, videos, slideshows, is my sudden popularity linked to any of those? Nope ... an accidental no picture post highlighting #anxiety and #meltdown turns out to be the one that was seen by the most people! I spent the next few days enquiring who else knew of this ("everybody") and facepalming / kicking myself since for missing something so obvious!

So there you have it - that’s how I learned that all platforms use hashtags and that I really don't know everything! On a plus note, anxiety is back down to a simmer and I've achieved a lot this week in preparation for any upcoming events. Now I'm off to continue on the tree making - wish me luck!

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