Social Media Engagement: An Interview (with a Friend)

I’ve found in my personal and professional life that social media platforms and networks are most beneficial when it comes to finding others who share similar interests and hobbies as you. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when I briefly interviewed fellow writer and longtime college friend Derek Smith, whose answers capture a glimpse of the how and why of social media engagement.

I first asked Derek what social media channels he uses that are related to his interest(s), and he listed a number of popular websites that most people use today, like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, in addition to others that appealed to smaller audiences in recent past but are currently gaining steam, such as Pinterest and DevianArt.

“I use these websites for my interests in creative writing, art, film, video games, and tabletop RPGs,” Derek said.

When asked how much time he spent each week on these websites exploring or discussing these interests, he answered, “I spend whatever time I have free, which can range from most evenings to the entire weekend.”

When I asked him how he engaged others—i.e. friends, followers, enthusiasts—to participate and share their own content regarding their shared interests, I half-expected what my friend of five years would say, since we engage in the same activities on Facebook and YouTube.

“I tend not to engage unless requested or felt needed to,” he said. “Most of the time I just observe and acknowledge people’s content.”

I found this to be very true, especially for content about movies, fiction writing, and anime, which he shares frequently but rarely comments on himself. However, he does share information about local art events and writing resources for others if they choose to use them.

I asked him how this level of social media engagement benefitted him, to which he replied, “It helps me with keeping contact with friends.”

And what about how it benefitted his audience? “They see my lack of bias and feel comfortable with discussing anything with me,” he said.

While Derek may not be the one to engage much when it comes to getting others to share content or criticism, his frequent sharing of content and information does spark activity from time to time. Not only have I witnessed this myself, but I also participate in it by either “liking” a meme he shared on Facebook or watching a video he posted on his YouTube channel.

For the record, this interview was conducted via Facebook Messenger.

So what do you think? How do you use social media to engage others on common interests and hobbies? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts on the topic. Thanks for reading!

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