Monday, March 28, 2011

My Experience With Social Networks and Other Related Sites

[started on 3/27/11]

Since I've been doing so much reading about blogging lately due to my second Writing Project being blog posts, and also since I've been doing some self-evaluation after a post from a friend on Miss Dream challenged me to think about why I make websites, I decided to write up a little post about my experience with social networks and other related sites (such as Blogger). I don't usually write essay-like posts, though, so bear with me.

My Experience With Social Networks
and Other Related Sites

I have not actually been involved with social networks for that long. The first site I joined that is properly known as a "social network" was Facebook, and according to my blog archive I only joined that in January 2008 (January 25, 2008, to be exact, based on the upload date of my first profile picture). And even then I actually operated on Facebook under a pseudonym (Lara Larame, a pseudonym I have used for many sites for the last 10+ years, ever since Amy told me it was the Pokémon character she thought I was the most like; Lara Larame is a one-off character who appears in episode 33 of the Pokémon anime, "The Flame Pokémon-athon!", and in the 5th chapter of the anime-based manga The Electric Tale of Pikachu...technically her last name is Laramie though, something we didn't know then) until February 17, 2009 (according to my Facebook feed), using a picture of Fujiwara Zakuro from Tokyo Mew Mew as my profile picture. Why would I be on Facebook under a pseudonym for the first year and 22 days? Well, back then - and still to some extent today - I was nervous about revealing too much personal info online. So I tended to use pseudonyms, usually Misty Waterflower (after Misty from Pokémon; her last name is never given in the dubbed anime - in Japanese I think it's Yawa - but Waterflower is one fans have come up with, based on episode 7, "The Water Flowers of Cerulean City") or Lara Larame. (Ever wondered why this is called "Misty's Blog"? Well, now you know...well, actually you could've just read my first post to figure that out). I ended up switching to my real name because I realized that pretty much all my Facebook friends were people I knew in real life anyway. I've used Facebook as my primary social network ever since. Most of my early posts are pretty short; early on I insisted on making all my status posts be "[Name] is" followed by a status, a practice I have since abandoned. Most of my Facebook posts to this day are links to articles I have found (since it is quite easy to share articles on Facebook now), though I've been posting regular status posts more often since I got my iPod touch and Facebook for iPhone. A lot of my posts have also been posts via WeRead (a fun and useful Facebook app for sharing what you are reading) and a ton of quizzes.

Before joining the world of social media, I interacted with the Internet in other ways. I think we've had internet at home at least since 1998, because my mom says I've been making web pages since I was in 8th grade, and I think I put up sites very soon after learning how to code. We had AOL at first (I know this because my first e-mail address was an AOL one) and my first sites were on Angelfire. Forums were my earliest mode of interaction. I don't remember which ones I was in except for the forums, a forum for writers which disappeared, without any warning to its members, in early 2005. (Fortunately, Dotfiction, one of the members of that forum, very quickly started his own forum, Fiction Express, and invited his fellow FA members, including me, to join...sadly this forum has also disappeared). Also, when I was around 16 or so, we switched from AOL to our current ISP and I went into a chat room for the first time. But some guy in there tried to hit on me, so I left (which may be partially why, to this day, I dislike chat rooms...I also dislike them because usually you enter and no one notices).

My online life, therefore, was pretty minimal all through high school, pretty much limited to forums and maybe some IMing. This is probably because I graduated high school in 2003, and all the popular social networking sites, except LiveJournal and DeviantArt, came out after that. Plus, I was more focused on school then because I didn't have a job, and also I didn't have my own computer.

Sometime in 2004, I apparently decided to start a blog. I don't know what prompted this decision. I had kept a diary before -- first a lockable Hello Kitty diary that I kept from age 8 to around age 11, and then various diary entries I kept in files on my computer, as well as a short-lived dream diary. And for some reason I decided to go with Blogger, maybe because it was one of the big blogging sites then (WordPress was still pretty new and not the big deal it is now). Still nervous about using my real name, I opted for the pseudonym of Misty. On December 14, 2004, the blog you are now reading, Misty's Blog, was born. And though I haven't posted in it every day (though I tried to for a while...but I've only published 275 posts in about 6 1/2 years, so obviously I failed at that), it has been good to me. Therapeutic almost, in a sense. It is a diary, basically, and always has been. Yes, it's public, but I haven't shared the link very widely (though until I purchased a personal domain I listed my blog as my website) and, while the blog has been indexed like crazy by Google (probably because I've been posting so long, for one, and also because Blogger is now owned by Google), I'm pretty sure very few people actually read it. That's why I feel safe blogging about very private matters here. Occasionally, I do make "break the fourth wall" sort of comments, where I acknowledge whatever readers there may be, but most of the time I just ignore them. Since I tend to be able to express myself better in writing anyway, having this blog helps me to work out ideas I'm processing, talk about things I can't talk to others about (either because they're too personal to talk about or because they relate to those geeky interests of mine that I don't share with anyone I know in real life), or vent. I do try to be careful, though, especially since my blog is so well indexed. When I talk about work, for instance, I try not to mention my workplaces by name too much (since if your work finds out you've been saying bad things about the company, it can get you in big trouble). That hasn't been a problem though, since no one at work knows I blog and even if they did find it, I blog under a pseudonym after all.

Between joining Blogger and joining Facebook, I still didn't have much experience with social media sites or even with similar sites. In October 2005, I started making videos and put them on Putfile, a video hosting site (which no longer exists). Later, I grew dissatisfied with my inability to change the look of my Putfile profile and decided to move to YouTube (according to my blog archive - via which I can pinpoint the date of almost every major event that has happened to me since December 14, 2004 - this happened on May 24, 2006), which has been my video host ever since. My first account was under the username Writer4Christ. Unfortunately, this account only lasted until December 2006, when it was suspended due to copyright violations on three of my videos - a Katharine McPhee video, an Inuyasha video, and a video about May from Pokémon (which I think was to "Mountain of God" by Third Day, since the song reminded me of her) - even though I was not trying to deliberately infringe copyright with those videos. The first two videos had clips I'd gotten from fansites. I forget which Inuyasha fansite I got clips from, or what song that video was set to. The Katharine McPhee one I think was set to her performance of "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree." Those I got from a Katharine McPhee fansite (this was before American Idol partnered with iTunes to release audio and video of the contestants' performances, so back then the only way to get audio and video of the performances was through YouTube or through fansites such as this one; in fact, I highly suspect American Idol did the deal with iTunes specifically to prevent such piracy). The May one had a couple clips from an opening sequence and a bunch of stills. Nevertheless, these videos were tagged and I moved back to Putfile. I didn't put up videos very often though, because for a long time I couldn't get past my home page on my laptop, so I was only able to post videos when I had access to a school computer.

I continued to be active in forums. I joined the forum at, but eventually left it because it had a ton of members and frequently suffered server crashes as a result. I eventually moved to a smaller Code Lyoko forum called Tech Links (which sadly no longer exists; it shut down after the last episode of season 4 aired in 2007), where I became an active member. I think those were the only forums I was active in, aside from Fiction Express.

On February 28, 2007 (according to my blog archive), one of my friends from Tech Links, Gilbert (who I knew better under his forum username Kakeru), helped me get my laptop internet working again, via a VoIP program called TeamSpeak which he, I, and Wartonchan (the admin of Tech Links) had been using to plan a Code Lyoko podcast (a plan which never came to fruition). One of the first things I did after getting my internet working again was to create a new YouTube account, this time under the username AleraofRavenclaw (a name based on Alera Gynne, a character I'd created for a Harry Potter RPG on the forums who was a transfer student from Beauxbatons; I later tried to write a fanfic about her but never finished it). I first started doing fandubs under this username, since this was the time of the PGSM fan boom on YouTube. You can still find fandubs done by me from that era on the YouTube channel for Fire and Light Productions, the YouTube group I did the fandubbing for. I got a bit of a reputation for playing Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen and Kuroki Mio from these fandubs; I was able to do Mamoru because I have a low voice, though I admit, in retrospect, some of my scenes as him are better than others. I also sort of developed this really over-the-top voice for Mio, trying very hard to imitate the way Alisa Durbrow (Mio's actress) said "Mamoru-kun." It was also under this account that I started the first fandub I've ever run, a fandub of the Dark Mercury arc of PGSM called the Dark Mercury Arc Fandub Project. (This project remains unfinished to this day, though I still have all the recorded lines, except for my characters and the ones for my YouTube friend AmyMizunoPGSM, who now plays Usagi in that project, and I do intend to finish it). Unfortunately, this account was also suspended, again due to copyright infringement that wasn't my fault, later in 2007 (probably October or early November based on my blog archive).

Shortly after losing the AleraofRavenclaw account, I opened two new YouTube accounts: OwlPostMistress, my primary one, and BibliophileGirl, a backup to fall back on should my primary one get deleted. Also, as an extra cushion, I created an account on Veoh, a video-sharing site that's kind of a combination of YouTube and Hulu, but smaller and with less restrictions. I continued fandubbing on these two accounts, primarily on my backup account, which I used for solo fandubs. These accounts survived the longest of any of my accounts so far, lasting till sometime in 2009 before both being suspended at the same time, pretty unexpectedly. I think it did have to do with copyright again, this time for the songs since YouTube has started cracking down on that real hard in the last few years. The Veoh account (under the name CYAAgentAshela, after a character in the "CYA story" as it existed at that time) I ended up closing on my own.

Also in 2007, I was involved with the Christian anime/manga e-zine Anime Angels, which had a Yahoo group for members of its staff.

This brings us back to 2008, when I joined Facebook. Joining Facebook was a major step, since as I've said, I primarily just did forums and YouTube before. Coincidentially, I joined Facebook shortly before I transferred to CSUSM, and I am now Facebook friends with a number of my CSUSM friends. My first friends on Facebook, though, were old high school classmates, as is most people's experience on that site, I think.

In April 2009, I ventured into the area of business networking and created a profile on the business social networking site LinkedIn and a similar site, ZoomInfo, after reading a Fortune article reprinted on Yahoo that recommended doing so. ZoomInfo didn't work out, but I still have my LinkedIn profile. I originally started it to make professional connections in my normal life (putting my résumé up and everything), but now I primarily use it as networking for my writing.

In June 2009, I began branching out in terms of social media as a way of promoting myself as a writer. I joined Twitter, creating a personal account under the name Bgirldotnet (originally to refer to my personal website domain name,, since I deleted that domain I've changed my username to Larabooklover, the username I use for AIM) and a writing account under the name waldenwriter. Soon after, I put up my writing website, created a writing blog on LiveJournal (I chose LJ because I had become familiar with it during the Spring '09 semester when I was secretary of the French Club at CSUSM and as such had to post meeting minutes on the club's LiveJournal; probably I should've chosen WordPress or Blogger like most authors do), and set up a MySpace account (I didn't do a Facebook account because I didn't want to mix my personal and writing personas more than was necessary). I quickly learned though that MySpace wasn't going to work (though I liked their blogging setup a lot, which let you set a mood like with LJ but also let you list what book you were reading, what movie you were watching, what music you were listening to, or what video game you were playing - whereas LJ only lets you set a mood and what music you're listening to). In October 2009, I joined Scribd, a document-sharing social site I'd heard about, and started putting writing samples up there. Then finally, on May 17, 2010, I moved my writing persona to Facebook (after going through the not exactly painless process of deleting my MySpace account - they make it rather hard to do). Thankfully, I'd told people on The Anomaly, a new Christian speculative writing forum I had joined in May 2009, that I was going to do this, and two of them - William Hayes and Grace Bridges - showered me like crazy with friend recommendations, resulting in me gaining 100 friends on the first day.

Also, in early 2010, I became friends with Elly and Jen of Miss Dream (as a result of this post about Miss Dream's debacle with and in February of that year I appeared on episode 4 of their site's podcast to advertise my new site Myu Corner, and then shortly after I joined Miss Dream's forums under the username Mizusenshi. A few months later, after volunteering to do some French translation for them, I got added to the staff. My work for the site has been sporadic, though, and I'm now just a contributor to the site (though still staff), which suits me just fine.

In August 2010, I got made a blogger for the Sailor Moon fan blog Family of Moonlight, after sending them pics from Comic-Con 2010. That was pretty cool, as it is my first guest blogging stint since my job writing Pokémon TCG articles for The Pallet Tribune (which you can read here; look for the ones marked "by WaterRangerLara") went on a sort of hiatus due to me having difficulty communicating with the Features Editor. Oh yeah, I'd joined the Pallet Tribune forum in December 2008, shortly after it opened as part of version 2.0 of the site, after listening to the site's podcast, WTPT, for a while. However, partially because of the difficulties with my feature and also because I felt the forum was becoming too large, unmanageable, and full of hard-core Pokémon players (which I am not), I stopped participating in it.

So, here's how things stand with me and social media (and similar sites). I have:
  • a Blogger blog
  • three YouTube accounts (one primary, one backup, one for group fandubs)
  • a LinkedIn account
  • two Facebook accounts
  • two Twitter accounts
  • a LiveJournal
  • a WordPress blog (for Myu Corner)
  • Scribd account
  • Two accounts on the blog listing site Technorati (one regular, one for writing; an account is required to add your blog to the listings there)
  • a pretty much ignored Flickr account I created to enter a contest being put on by the local transit district
  • my new account on the link-sharing site StumbleUpon

I'm also an active member of two forums, The Anomaly and the Miss Dream forums. And aside from my own YouTube accounts (my primary account Bgirldotnet - which like my personal Twitter was meant to refer to my domain which I later deleted; I don't have any way of changing my YouTube username though - my backup account WindKnightFuu, and my group fandubs account imagodeidubs, all founded in December 2009), I have access to two more accounts - ReiliaAmyLara, the YouTube channel for LAR Productions, a YouTube singing group I'm a part of (and now, according to founder Amy-chan, the leader of), and tsukifamily, the YouTube channel for Family of Moonlight. I also operate the LAR social media, which consist of a Twitter, a MySpace Music profile, and an iLike account, all in desperate need of updating, as well as a Facebook fan page Amy-chan created and more or less runs (although both I and the last member of our group, Reilia, also have admin access to the page).

So what do I think of social media? It's too early to truly tell, I think, but nearly 2 1/2 years of Facebook status posts and 600+ tweets later (on my personal account), I'm liking Facebook and Twitter a lot (although I don't like the "new Twitter" setup, or Twitter for iPhone, which I anxiously awaited only to feel underwhelmed by it). Both are useful for sharing articles and other online finds - in fact, links to articles and retweets of other people's tweets make up the bulk of those 600+ tweets. (I haven't done as much of that with my writing Twitter, which has a better follow/followed ratio than my personal account and only a little over 200 tweets). StumbleUpon I just recently signed up for, and have found tons of interesting stuff as a result (basically how that site works is that you tell the system what topics you're interested in, and then you "stumble," either using the site or a button you can download for your browser, and it brings up random Internet content related to those topics, which you can rate with a thumbs up or thumbs down to help better tailor the system to your preferences).

I will say briefly something about social media and their mobile apps. Some are better than others. I've tried various iPhone ones on my iPod touch, with mixed results. Facebook for iPhone is really well done; it was one of the first social media iPhone apps and it is made very well for the platform. Twitter for iPhone, as I said, is underwhelming; you're better off using third-party apps like Echofon (which I use now; I used to use Twitterrific, but it stopped working). LiveJournal has a very good iPhone app - their original one ("") was very good, but their new expanded one (called just "Livejournal") is better because it lets you see posts from your friends and communities and send messages as well as post to your own journal, whereas just let you write a new post. MySpace Mobile for iPhone is pretty well done too.

In short, that is my personal experience with social networks and other related sites.


Well, it's really late, and I literally spent all day writing this because I got distracted. Good night!

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