The new year is always the perfect time to start over; out with the old, and in with the new. Millions across the world are making plans to lose weight, start new routines, and end bad habits. Just because you happen to be addicted to social media doesn’t mean you’re any different; the start of 2012 is the perfect time to make a few resolutions of your own related to Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of new media. While you’re making diet plans and signing up for that gym membership, consider making a few social media resolutions to kick-start the new year and begin 2012 on the right virtual foot.
Don’t Worry About Your Klout Score.
Klout, an app that calculates the “influence” of social media users, was one of the hottest controversial topics in 2011. Early in the year we discovered that Klout’s algorithm was severely inconsistent, and this fall it was revealed that Klout had a gaping security flaw that curated data for Facebook users without their consent — even minors. The backlash from users led to Klout finally allowing users to delete their profiles. While Klout does offer some pretty good perks for those with high scores, such as free business cards, gift cards, or even advance screenings of movies, Klout will likely do little to change your life. Though some employers have been said to use Klout as part of job application processes or even determine VIP status at hotels in Las Vegas, focusing your social media efforts on gaming the system will only be counterproductive to using what social media was intended for — which is, of course, being social.
You have likely heard of Yelp by now, if not used it to help find the best place to dine out or get your hair cut. However, if you’re not actively participating in Yelp, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to be a part of a elite community of Yelp super-users who receive invites to special grand openings for businesses, parties for Yelp members, and other perks such as discounts and freebies. Building up toward this elite status on Yelp can take time, but even using Yelp to review your experiences at places where you dine, drink, or shop can help business owners reach out to you should you have an especially negative (or even positive) experience. Many businesses take their Yelp profiles very seriously and make it a priority to ensure that any bad reviews are responded to immediately and resolved.
Share More Pictures.
Do you have a smartphone? If so, you also then likely have a camera in your purse or pocket almost everywhere you go. Consider making it a resolution of 2012 to use your iPhone or Android phone to take more pictures of your friends, family, and special moments of your life and share them. Apps like Instagram and Camera+ make it easy to take great pictures that look like you’re a professional, and their built in social functions then make it easy to tweet and Facebook these pictures to friends and family. If you don’t already have a Flickr account, this may also be a good time to start photo albums on a site other than Facebook so you can share your photos with a wider audience.
Stop Wasting Your Time with Foursquare.
Did you check in to Starbucks today with Foursquare, hoping to finally claim mayorship? Foursquare now boasts more than 10 million members, most of whom are using the app to not only track their whereabouts, but attempt to attain badges and mayorships at their favorite places of businesses for perks and rewards. What many users are finding instead is that most businesses are either not offering any type of reward for being mayor (as Chris Pirillo recently found out after becoming mayor of his local Starbucks), or the reward is worthless compared to the amount spent during each check-in required to become mayor. With such little value proposition, and its reputation for causing privacy concerns, why waste your time using this app in 2012?
Set Up Your LinkedIn Profile.
We previously published 12 reasons to use LinkedIn in 2012, but the first step to using LinkedIn is setting up your profile. Find a great headshot that captures your personality (it doesn’t necessary need to be “professional”) and spend a few minutes filling in your career history. You may want to set aside a little more time to really polish your profile, as a creative and well-written objective can attract new business partners or job opportunities.
Attend a Tweetup or Networking Event.
Social media is great for building a network of like-minded professionals, but by attending offline networking events, especially those that discuss emerging ideas about social media, you can solidify these relationships and turn them into friendships, business partners, or perhaps even a new job. Consider looking for a social media club in your area, or keep an eye out for Twitter friends in your area coordinating tweetups. You may not necessarily be interested in the subject matter, but these offline events are a great opportunity to finally meet the people you only communicate with in short bursts of 140 characters and instead have real conversations.
Stop Using Automation Tools.
When you follow new people on Twitter, you may have been immediately followed back or “welcomed” to their Twitter account with an automated direct message. Though this idea makes Twitter look easy, sometimes this automation can make you just look like a jerk — especially if people notice you are tweeting when you’re really out skiing or perhaps getting thrown in jail. Make a 2012 resolution to avoid automating your social media. You also should avoid using tools in 2012 that automatically tweet out curated newspapers, such as a Paper.li, that highlight some of the tweets your followers posted. Not only do people tend to not read these, but it also makes you look like a jerk for not taking the time to retweet these interesting articles yourself.
Read a Book.
Is reading more one of your other 2012 new year’s resolutions? If so, here’s a chance to kill two birds with one stone. Many social media thought leaders have written some great books in the last year about how to use and leverage new media. If you’re new to Google+, consider reading Jesse Stay’s “Google+ for Dummies.” Brian Solis also has an excellent book about how businesses can leverage new media, and books by other authors, such as Guy Kawasaki, Amber Mac, and Mari Smith are also great choices for learning more about social media in 2012.
Read More Blogs.
We love that you read LockerGnome, and we’re sure you read a few other popular tech blogs, too. In 2012, though, consider resolving to read even more blogs — especially about those that pertain to other things you love. Do you knit, cook, clean compulsively, or follow football to the detriment of all the relationships surrounding you? There are blogs for all of those hobbies and more. Consider using Google’s blog search to get a running start on blogs about other hobbies, and then consider other blogs they mention to learn even more. Google Reader is a great way to keep track of these blogs, or you can just bookmark them, too.
Start a Blog.
2012 is a great time to start something new, and while you may have had a Facebook account for several years or have been using Twitter since at least last year, you may not have one critical component of new media: a blog. Whether it’s a long analysis on a self-hosted WordPress blog or a daily update of interesting photos on Tumblr, blogs are defined by sharing media — and not necessarily by the platform. If you have something to say, consider what you want to share and then resolve to share these words, pictures, or videos on the platforms that best serve your needs.
Start a YouTube Channel.
If you already have a blog, you may already by sharing your thoughts, favorite videos, and pictures with an audience that enjoys reading what you care about most. If you already utilize the other mainstream component of social media to reach your friends and followers with this content, the start of 2012 is never a better time to reach an ever larger audience with another type of new media. Starting a YouTube channel gives you a way to express your thoughts using audio and video, which allows you to demonstrate a passion and personality that blogging can rarely convey. YouTube can also attract an entirely new audience, which can only benefit your social media efforts — especially if you’re using it for professional gain.
Learn How to Use Lists.
Did you know that Twitter and Facebook allow you to create lists to sort your friends and those that you follow? On Twitter, these lists can be private or public, and you can use them to quickly follow just a specific group of people, such as your “real” friends, or a favorite pro athlete’s personal account. If you want your secret stalking of celebrities like the Kardashians to remain private, you can do that, too. Facebook also allow users to create lists to sort friends, such as those from high school, college, and those with whom you worked at your first “real” job. You can also easily bookmark each of this lists for easy reference, which is useful if your normal feed of 1,000+ friends is too noisy and you want to hop straight over to a list comprised of just your best friends. These lists are, for now, always private.
Are any of these resolutions on your list for next year? If you have any other social media-related new year’s resolutions for 2012, we’d love to read them. Feel free to share yours in the comments.