a peek inside the fishbowl

12 Jun, 2014

All those social media channels, what are they for?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: The business of blogging

Blogging, as it intersects with social media, is something I’m asked about quite often when I’m at conferences or giving a talk. Do new bloggers and small businesses have to be on Twitter? Facebook? Google+? If so, how should those channels differ? I wanted to take a moment and briefly explain how I do it here at the Fishbowl. Maybe it will shed some light for those who are new to social media and to the blog…?


I jokingly refer to the Fishbowl Facebook page as the “little sister” of the blog. There’s quite a bit of content that goes on the Facebook page that doesn’t make it to the blog at all. News articles, and items with looming expiry dates such as Ottawa events and/or charitable requests are posted there between reminders of new posts. I’ve also hosted contests and giveaways through the Facebook page, especially if it needs a quick turnaround and I’m pressed for time.

If you’ve “liked” the Facebook page and aren’t seeing it in your news feed, that means you haven’t interacted with the content lately. (By “interacting” I simply refer to commenting or liking a post.) If you are a serious Facebooker and you don’t want to miss any posts – and I’m not just talking about my own page here obviously  – just mouse over the “liked” button near the top of the page and make sure “Get notifications” has a checkmark beside it.

The Twitter

And then there’s Twitter. I’m @missfish on Twitter, and the things I post there are a bit of a grab bag. Here’s a recent example:

I post things for my own amusement, and if it’s useful information for someone, that’s a big bonus for me. I tend to post interesting articles that I am reading, photos, recipes, and various Ottawa-related ephemera. If it’s related to Westboro I add the hashtag #OttWestboro so it’s easy to track. Secret confession: other than tapping out a blog post, Twitter is my favourite way of connecting with people. It’s a research tool, it’s a window, it’s… immediate.


My user name on Instagram is quietfish. Instagram is All Photos/Zero Blog Posts. I see Instagram as an extension of my eyeballs and brain. It’s a peek at what I’m seeing and doing at that moment. The content is purely visual. Sometimes I share my photos with Twitter followers, sometimes I don’t.

The Extra Helping

The Extra Helping is an occasional email newsletter I send to subscribers. It’s super hyperlocal, and it profiles one Awesome Thing I’ve scoped out in my neighbourhood in Westboro. This insider scoop doesn’t appear anywhere else; not here on the blog or on Twitter or Facebook. I like the exclusivity of it, and knowing that the people who’ve signed up are truly interested in what I have to show and tell.

Anyway, these are all different channels, with slightly different content, that appeal to different people. If you’re a new blogger or a small business who wants to step out into the world of social media, I recommend choosing one channel and getting really good at it before picking up another. Think about where your audience is, and go there first.



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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


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