Social Media Carousel: Around and Around I Go.

Tinted photograph of carousel at Cosmo World In Minato Mirai, Yokohama
Mastering social media integration seems exciting at first, but it doesn’t take long to grow old.

The time you invest in automating something should eventually pay off in the time you save. I haven’t yet found this to be true when trying to consolidate my social media. Around and around I’ve been going with end in sight. My goal is to post something to my blog and then for it to fan out in a beautiful display of modern efficiency to Twitter and Facebook personal page and my “fan” page.

Sure, I could go to each one and link, or just go to the fan page and link it up, but meh. I know I would get distracted. The biggest problem is that most app widgets want you to choose either your FB Home page or, if even an option, your fan page. If I didn’t want to have the blog go to the fan (or as I like to call it, my “writer”) page then I’m golden. The native widgets get it all done.

But getting to that Fan page is tricksy. Real tricksy. I’ve looked at and after much cussing at the fact it won’t recognize passwords and doesn’t connect to my primary blog, I pretty much have it figured out. But I’m not a super big fan of posting from Hootsuite. I don’t want to pay the $9.99/month for Pro versions for my modest needs. The free version limits you to five streams. Just to clarify, Your Facebook homepage and your Facebook Fan page count as two.

Enter IFTTT to (sort of) save the day. IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It is a collection of recipes that does what the title says. You can select a recipe that takes each tweet and posts it to Facebook fan pages. Yay! There are a variety of recipes designed to save you time. Saving files to Dropbox or transferring things to Evernote are only a few of the things IFTTT can do. When I started looking at Hootsuite, this is what I expected it to do.

So this is now how I understand things to work: 

  • Posts from Hootsuite can immediately go onto selected social media sites. They do not really post from one thing to the other for you. I have things going from social media site to others through the respective site’s native widgets. It looks like you could work around using RSS feeds but at some point, I need to respect my boundaries and the fact I don’t have forever to perfect this,
  • IFTTT can have a post on one site lead to that being posted on another site. It also has many other handy tools to organize and automate online life.
  • Native app widgets like the ones you find in WP to connect to twitter,  or vice versa, are great. It might be useful to make a flowchart of the apps where you post to and where they go. You could probably do it through judicious use of native apps, unless you want to post to Fan and Home page on FB because then you have to choose.
  • Facebook Fan Pages are very awkward beasts.

I’m pretty happy with IFTT at the moment. Now I’ll have to see how badly the double posts are going. For some of you, this posting will be full of errors and obvious information. Let me know if I need to change anything. I’m still working on my skills. Hopefully, this article is helpful for people who are looking for simple ways to get their content across different social media venues.

Wishing everyone a minimum of frustration in their quest for social media mastery.

Quick Update (which didn’t take that long): I’ve got everything going where I want it to go, but it doesn’t look so beautiful on the FB Fan page. So there is a link, but it is not enticing. It may be that it’s coming from Twitter.

Update #2: Definitely make your own recipes. It doesn’t require any coding. You just push buttons and enter info. I made a WP->FB fan page recipe of my own and that makes much more attractive links. I still have blog links going through twitter and so there is a bit of double posting. I will have to make some decisions. But making choices is a different skill set than making choices possible.

Ink Garden of Edgar Allan Poe. Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

This week’s Postaweek Photo Challenge is green. At first I was going to upload a bunch of green bug pictures that I have, but when I sat down, a bottle of green fountain pen ink caught my eye. I realized that for me, green is the color of ideas, growing little thoughts into things that exist in the world.

This ink is by De Atramentis from one of their series of topic inks. The colored inks are based on famous historical figures, writers, artists and musicians. The one I choose is Edgar Allan Poe. I love writing with my fountain pen with this ink. It is a nice, dusty green. It reminds me of old manuscripts and dusty libraries. It also reminds me of Poe and his connection with absinthe, though this site suggests that Poe was not an absinthe drinker.

When I photographed the bottle, it looked black. I thought about writing something to show the color, but then I remembered Wolfgang Tillmans and his ink in water photos. I’m off and on about Tillman’s work. Some I really like and some don’t work for me but I liked his ink in water. It seemed like a great way to show the color of Edgar Allan Poe and at the same time express something.

When editing the photos, I noticed that I was finding a lot of images and shapes in the swirling ink. My own ink-blot test? The dark swirls seem moody and Poe-like. Most of them reminded me of gardens and little seeds trying to grow. It reminded me of ideas and what I try to do when I write– grow my own ideas. And so there’s my concept.

Wondering what kind of images you see in the swirls of ink?

Happy creating.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

Close up of two stone lanterns at a temple in Kamakura, Japan

I shot this at a temple in Kamakura. The final object at the back of the stone has an inscription and a carving of a boddhisattva.

I like how the green at the back contrasts the hardness of the granite. My favorite part is the repetition of the square shape.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

Photo taken in Prague in front of the Rudolphinum, April 2010

Solitary is walking alone.

Solitary is a statue, isolated in its thoughts.

Solitary is rain. The wet brings a chill that heightens the senses. The subtle aromas released or covered by the rain allows the mind to turn inward.

For me, the key to this photo is the statue. It reminds me that even when we think we are alone in our journeys we are always being observed, that even solitary existences converge, cross then move on.

If I were to do a photo with that theme in Tokyo, I might capture the same idea, but the energy would be completely different. I could catch solitary but it would be adrift in the frenetic energy that characterizes this city. Hmmm… there’s a thought for a future photo.

I tend to do a lot of photos that examine the theme of solitary. This one is from a collection on my website that I titled “Channeling Atget.” For me, Atget is about capturing that contemplative melancholy on misty or rainy days.

Which artists or photographers do you think capture the ideal of solitary? Come to think of it, is there only one ideal for the concept “solitary”?

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