Keeping up with your online life during the holidays

After talking about the importance of taking short breaks from ongoing projects, I’ve taken another break myself. I’m back now to discuss ways to keep up with your online life.

Thanksgiving has just ended, and I’ve found that I’ve become disconnected from my social media accounts. I’ve been busy with family events, and by the time I get back to my phone or computer, the information I’m processing seems so dated that I feel I’ll never catch up.

As I’m catching up, these are the three watchwords I’ve used to revisit my online life:

Prioritize Decide which of your accounts or what subject matter is worth catching up with. If you want to keep up with friends, obviously Facebook is the way to go. News junkie? Choose a few hashtags and head to Twitter.

Skim Luckily, most current short-form social media depends on photos, making quick scans a lot easier. If it looks interesting, stop and check it out.

Relax High priority items are apt to be repeated, with updates on progress–think births, new jobs, etc. Don’t worry about missing the news, as you’ll have a chance to catch up the next time it’s mentioned.

…In Which I Get Schooled on Instagram

I went to dinner with my friend and her daughter tonight. When the impressive-looking dessert came, my friend wanted to take a picture for Instagram. As my friend set up the shot, her daughter wriggled anxiously in her seat, clenched and unclenched her fingers and emoted “You’re not DOING it right!”

“What’s to get wrong?” I thought. Take a picture, add a filter, and post, right? Wrong.

Teenagers are leaving Facebook and turning to Instagram (or Tumblr) instead. So I decided to ask my friend’s daughter about the “right” way to use Instagram.  The answer? Super-simplified, it’s the use of outside filters, like those offered by Aviary or Pixlr.

Aviary offers more sophisticated photo editing tools, the aforementioned filters, and the ability to upload directly to Instagram.

Pixlr (two apps, consisting of Pixlr Express and Pixlromatic) has a ton more filters than Instagram and offers several catalogs of extra filters available for in-app purchase. I, however, am too cheap to try them out…though I’m incredibly curious about Pixlromatic’s “Too Old” set of filters. Pixlr Express appears to focus more on editing and creating multi-picture collages.

Is all of this old news? Probably. But it took a fried ice cream to reveal it to me, so maybe it’s helpful to others, too.

Why buy your name as a domain?

I’m not the only Lindsay Oxford online. There are three or four of us that show up in the first few pages of a Google search, and I share the first page with just one other–the Lindsay Oxford from Texas, a pro bodybuilder.  Does it matter? No, not really: you can still find either of us (plus a few others) in a basic search, and Lindsay has become a fairly common in the past few decades. There are bound to be a few of us.

So why did I buy www.lindsayoxford.com? It’s what’s known as a vanity URL, meaning there’s an inherent vanity to it. I like to think I’m not particularly vain, but that must be an aspect. It’s fairly natural to want to be THE ______ _______, not one of many. But what are the other reasons?

Search Engine Optimization = Ease of Search
When you want to be found online, why not make it easier? Having a site with your name in the title and searchable in the URL makes it easier for your site to be found, and getting your own .com or .net address facilitates that.

Feel Less Silly When Networking
Networking itself can make you feel silly if you’re not the extroverted type. Why make it more awkward by telling someone they can find you online at geocities slash blah blah blah? If they remember your name, they’ll remember how they can contact you.

It’s Dirt Cheap
You can redirect a URL to another site for a few bucks a year nowadays. Why? Because you can.