This is another post in our She Said, He Said blog series. Be sure to check back tomorrow to find out how Jim uses his Android HTC Evo for social media and for topics for our #shehechat, which will take place at 8 p.m. CST Thursday.
To understand how I use my iPhone for social media, you have to understand a little bit about my background with cell phones in general.
Would it surprise you to know that I might have been one of the last people to jump on board the cell phone train in the beginning? It’s true. In early 2002, I did not have and had never had a cell phone. I had a land line at home and carried a pager that was mostly used for work purposes although that number was also given out to a few choice friends and family members. Honestly, the best way to reach me was my desk phone in the newsroom because I was there between 60 and 70 hours a week.
The trouble with cell phones
Almost everyone I knew in 2002 had a cell phone. They would stare at me unbelievably when I said I didn’t own one and didn’t want to own one. I would give excuses such as I already had a pager and I didn’t want to be that accessible all the time. I would also point out all the money that was wasted on contracts with cell phone companies. The truth was that I knew I had an addictive personality and a cell phone would be a dangerous toy for me.
In August 2002, I was forced to acquire a Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go cell phone when I accepted a night teaching job at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. I was living in Indiana at the time and the drive to and from was almost an hour along a dark, two-way country road. I bought my first cell phone for safety, put $20 on it and swore to only use it in emergencies. That lasted about a month until I discovered the beauty of text messaging.
The social media snowball effect
I didn’t realize it then but as I was texting, I was engaging in a form of social media. Just as I knew I would, I became addicted and eventually came to the conclusion that the money I was putting on the pay-as-you-go phone was more than a cell phone contract would be. I made the switch to a “real” phone before that first semester was over.
In 2002, flip phones were popular. I bought one, procured an unlimited data plan and texted my little heart away. I would upgrade my phone as the contract ran out and soon I was using it for Facebook and other social media networks. However, nothing – and I mean nothing – could have prepared me for what I was in for when I bought my first smart phone, the iPhone 3GS, in November 2009.
My addiction turned into a social media strategy
I rarely put my iPhone down in those first few months. This was way beyond addiction. I would spend hours downloading all the right apps and arranging them neatly on the phone. Then I would spend even more hours engaging on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn while watching the occasional YouTube video. It was so cool, but it was trouble.
After I got over the new toy syndrome and settled down a bit (so let’s say early 2010), I finally developed a strategy for the use of my iPhone. For one thing, I needed to learn how to put the thing down once in awhile without feeling like I wasn’t staying engaged. Today, I have grown my strategy into a social media routine, which I’m going to share with you now.
First thing in the morning: In order, I check Twitter, six email accounts and Google + from my phone. I respond if necessary (or if only a quick response will work) but usually wait until later in the day.
Throughout the day: I keep my iPhone beside me at all times. I monitor any texts and occasionally check Twitter. I might check Facebook but I usually won’t respond right away.
Lunchtime: When I take a break from work, I may post a flurry of Twitter replies and Google + comments. I use this time to read blog posts as well.
Afternoon: I may participate in the occasional Twitter chat, but I am usually quieter because I’m trying to get some work done.
After 5 p.m.: Look out. I’m on all networks and responding with a vengeance most of the time. I’ll participate in Twitter chats as well. This can end as early as 10 p.m. or linger as late as 1 a.m. It just depends on the day.
While it’s true I cannot live without my iPhone because it’s usually the way I am connecting with people, I have learned to put it down at key points throughout the day. It makes my days more productive and my social media experiences more worthwhile.