Gail Crutchfield: Social media can be great fun, or waste of time

Feb. 25, 2013 @ 12:22 AM

My colleague, Jeff Farrell, wrote last week about how we’re all making our way into the world of Twitter as we attempt to increase our presence on the World Wide Web.

I have to admit, I’m not much of a social network butterfly. I do have my personal Facebook page which I guard zealously and a personal Twitter account to go along with my professional account for The Mountain Press.

Professionally, I like the idea of sharing what stories I’m working on and getting ideas for stories from followers (all 21 or so  I have right now). When I’m checking my work Twitter account, I’ll retweet information that is timely and could help anyone who sees it, such as traffic information from Sevierville Police Department or weather reports.

On my personal Twitter account, some of the people I follow seem to feel the need to tweet and retweet every five minutes or so. I don’t think I stay on my Twitter feed for more than five minutes, so I can’t imagine how it’s possible to stay on there so much that there’s a constant feed of chatter, a lot of if I wouldn’t care to read or repeat anyway.

I enjoy Facebook more than Twitter — not that I spend all of my time on there either. I like to keep up with what my family and friends are doing. Some of them, to be honest, provide a little bit too much information by giving almost every little thing they do every day. While I enjoy hearing what someone might have made for dinner, I don’t need to know when they went shopping or when they got back from the store.

I have accounts with MySpace and LinkedIn, but I haven’t used either of those in ages, so I should probably delete them.

I also joined on with Pinterest, but I haven’t been very active there either, though I can see how I could spend hours looking at all the pins on my page. When you sign up on Pinterest, you will answer questions about your interests and be assigned boards to follow. Food, art, travel are a few of the things I checked on when given choices. If I had it to do over again, I might narrow my choices more than I did.

My favorite section, of course, would be the food section. I can waste a lot of time looking at all the recipes for everything from casseroles to desserts that combine Oreo cookies and Reese’s cup and dips them in chocolate or how to make my own taco seasoning.

There are also some good ideas in the DIY/Craft section, like the idea to put a power strip inside a drawer in your nightstand to hide all those chargers for your electronics or how to make your own clothes detergent, even for a high efficiency machine.

I’ve noticed I’m in the need of a new doormat and just found a way to make my own using, the pin said, river rocks found at the dollar store, hot glue and shelf liner. I have some extra shelf liner and I used to have a hot glue gun. If I can find it, I may have to try that one out.

There are other ideas I’ll never have the time or patience to do. I saw one where the pages of a book were folded down in certain patterns so that when it was partially opened it spelled the word love. Cute idea, but who has time for that? I’m also not sure about following direcctions for unclogging ears when the person admits to being dizzy for a few minutes afterward.

But like anything, I guess these social networking sites should be approached with some amount of caution and the knowledge that many of those posting on there are not professionals in the category for which they’re posting.

— Gail Crutchfield is the community news editor of The Mountain Press. Call 428-0748, ext. 212,  e-mail to gcrutchfield@themountainpress.com, or on Twitter @GailMtnPress.