Let’s see. At last check, I have social media accounts with or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Google +, Vine, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Storify, Tagboard, Weebly, Pinterest, Hootsuite, and if it counts, WordPress too.

My friends and family often ask me, what in the world I do on these platforms and how do I manage the time?

For my class, I’ve been asked if I use any of these platforms to follow brands – where, what, when and how?

Good questions all.

Part of it is my job. Part of it is curiosity. Out of that dizzying array of social media interactions, I have to be practical and pick and choose which ones mean the most to me. Upon careful reflection, I do use platforms for different reasons and get different results.

Facebook. My personal account is mainly to connect with long distance family and friends. As myself, I have posted on pages to comment on customer service issues which, fortunately for me, have been rare. Now and then, I comment on favorite television shows or national news story.  As far as engaging back and forth with brand pages – not that much-mostly garden-themed pages and the like. American Meadows, Extension Master Gardener and a local greenhouse Peppers and their respective communities are great about commenting on photos, helping each other out with questions etc. Of these, only Extension Master Gardeners is a brand I also keep track of on Twitter. I forgot about Amazon. I do try and win their #AmazonGiveaways.

Twitter: Alas! I don’t follow any celebrities. I tried a long time ago with an older Twitter account, but they never answer back! If celebrities do something wild and crazy on Twitter, I hear about it through the news. I do follow a variety of news sources – CNN, WBOC, Cape Gazette and Delawareonline (local news) Huffington Post, Fox, NBC, CBS etc. and  political show, Morning Joe. Most of the time, this is a one way conversation for me. The exception being the staff at the News Journal, AKA Delawareonline, who will follow up with a comment on a shared hashtag. I have been quoted in stories directly as a result of following reporters or using a hashtag like #StormDE. I follow my university pretty regularly on Twitter using #UDel or #BlueHen and they’ve been great about engaging, and it feels good when they do. It makes me think I count. Operating as myself on behalf of my work brand, I find back and forth interactions on Twitter responsive and enjoyable.

Instagram: I do not follow any brands, other than National Geographic, and that only recently. No Oreos, no fashion, no clothing or news. No retail products of any kind. I take that back. I do follow DogsFishHead beer – #Delaproud. Both the store and one of the owners. For me, Instagram is all about the photo and the pursuit of art and artistic expression. Of course, that can happen within a brand – it’s just not where I connect with brands I like.

LinkedIn: I do follow my News Feed closely as most of this relates to the two industries in which I am professionally interested and invested: agriculture and social media. I enjoy the posts from INC Magazine and find myself liking, commenting and sharing content from their posts. I have never received or expected a reply.

YouTube: Everyone comments on YouTube. Everyone reads comments!

Overall: Online comments are like obituaries and letters to the editor! Everyone reads them! I know I do! Because of that fact, I am rather judicious about writing and posting them under my own personal name or brand. As a brand advocate for my job, I leave thoughtful, relevant comments all the time!

Call me a traditionalist, but if I am curious about a brand, be it a service or retail entity, I usually Google it (hey that’s a brand too!) and check out their website. Sorry Microsoft, but I never Bing it!  Some of this is habit, some of this comes from my work in IT, where I see phishing and scamming threats coming out of the virtual woodwork. Sensationalist copy with a shortened URL can perk up my virus antenna and I prefer to check and read news of that brand at an official URL address that I type in.

Blame it on my age – as a certified Baby Boomer – the romance of brick and mortar stores, and that wonderful aroma of ink and paper that can only be found in bookstores still calls to me and I relish the full sensory experience of a “store.” I also know I am a dying breed. I admire those I encounter in social media who do it well, especially those with a sense of humor. While I’ve been an eager and early adopter (and advocate of) social media, a large part of me still prefers to conduct my personal affairs and brand loyalty offline.