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Must work on social skills Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Jan 01 2011 12:00 PM

This was the year I stopped being a technological wallflower and started using social media. After a few months of schmoozing I've come to the conclusion that some people are just meant to stand off to the side, in a corner, watching everyone else post and twit. (Yes, I am well aware that people who post to Twitter are actually tweeting but twit-ing seems so much more apropo). I am one of those people.

I started using Facebook and Twitter not for personal reasons but for professional gain.

Decades after computers had been invented and we determined this Internet thing was more than just a fad, this year The Star-News finally launched a website. What better way to alert people to an electronic presence then by going online and telling everyone to check out thestarnews.com?

And so began my Twitter and Facebook adventure. It's been enlightening, if nothing else.

When you're representing a business, and a newspaper at that, it's hard to know what to post.

Obviously you want to plug your product as much as possible without being overbearing. But at the same time you need to be interesting. However, being interesting isn't as easy as one might think.

I don't know that if I were to write about my hair, my favorite restaurants, where I was going for happy hour, or hilarious youtube videos that many people would find that interesting. Actually, I don't know that I would find those things interesting enough to write about.

And yet those kinds of posts are generally the ones that seem to generate the most responses and comments.

Try posting or reposting, for example, an article from the L.A. Times about Mexico's sputtering drug war and the carnage that accompanies it and see how many people take the time to offer their perspective.

For me, the jury is still out on how useful either of these platforms is.

Certainly they add another tool to the self-promotion arsenal. But as forums that generate effective and genuine dialogue or an exchange of ideas, I'm not convinced.

But then again, maybe it's me. Maybe if I'm looking for an exciting and thought provoking exchange of ideas, hanging out at the Facebook and Twitter happy hours is the wrong place to be. Maybe I really need to be, well, where? Where does one go if they want to talk to people or hear ideas that go beyond the best place to buy shoes or get your hair cut? Those of you with any suggestions, find me on Twitter or Facebook. I'll be the one lurking in the dark corner.

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