Monday, March 29, 2010

Do You Have a Friends List?

I’m taking a class at the moment that explains the mysteries and usefulness of social media outlets for the writer. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Yahoo… you name it, they’ve covered it. I can’t believe the overload, I mean wealth, of information.

I came to the world of social media kicking and screaming. All the other Playfriends had Facebook accounts far earlier than I did. I just didn’t want to do it, because I simply didn’t have more time in my day for anything else. Plus, I don't like taking the time to learn new programs. Now, I’m addicted to my Facebook account. But I’ve found that I don’t spend nearly as much time on it as some folks. I open it about 4 times a day, read status updates, and only post 1 of my own about once per day. Usually writing related. Personally, I don’t think anything else I do is that interesting. And I’ve never been good at “social chatter”, so I feel like anything I post along those lines sounds stilted, although I enjoy reading other people’s posts about their everyday lives.

After reading all the class information, I’m really glad I don’t Twitter. Although now I understand the language better, which is important because some author’s have their Twitter posts also show up on Facebook. Before, I’d always tried to decipher the language and symbols, trying to understand who said what and what it was about. Confusing. Makes more sense now, but I’m still not tempted to jump in. Although, I kept all the info in case that ever changes.

To me, the most interesting part has been some author Q&A’s where they talked about why and how author’s use these outlets to keep in touch with readers. As a whole, they agreed that if your feed looks like one long commercial, your readers will lose interest really quick. I think that’s an important point. Yes, I enjoy hearing about author’s new releases, but more than that, I’m learning about the author as a person (no matter how personal/professional their posts). You get the flavor of their conversation, and want to know more (or in some cases, less – and I have defriended a few people after reading their posts). It has also built name recognition. I’ll be looking through books and think, I recognize that name. Where do I know that author from? Facebook! I’m more likely to pick up the book and read the back cover blurb if the author’s name strikes a chord with me.

So tell me, do you Facebook, Twitter, MySpace??? Which do you like best? What do you find most interesting and/or useful about social media outlets?


Coming Soon!
Author Julie Miller joins us on Thursday, April 1st!!!


Smarty Pants said...

I abandoned myspace long ago for Facebook. I think FB is more user friendly. I do have a Twitter account and I even have it tied to one of my FB accounts, but I always forget to update it. I don't have anything to promote, so it doesn't really matter.

If and when I sell, I'll probably be more active. Of course, by then FB and Twitter will probably be uncool like myspace is now and I'll have to learn something new.

Playground Monitor said...

I too abandoned MySpace in favor of Facebook. SP is right that it's more user friendly, and would be even more so if they'd stop changing things! I have a Twitter account but never log on and tweet.

I've enjoyed using Facebook to connect with friends from my hometown in North Carolina, high school and college friends and other writers. The trick is to not let it eat up all your time.

Instigator said...

I jumped onto Facebook a little while ago. I have it open just about all day (either at work or at home when I'm on the computer). I'm terrible about updating my status but I'm usually there.

I do have a Twitter account but I haven't been on it in months. I just don't like it as much as Facebook.


Christine said...

Facebook is all I can manage for social media. I have a blended account with writer and personal friends on it. I need to separate that, but I don't have time to manage two of them.

I know we have to be connected this way, but I miss good old fashioned phone calls and long chats. Sometimes a lot can get lost in translation with these quick sound bites. My BF and I discussed this and we also noted a lot of negativity on the status reports. So we are deliberately trying to only have positive status updates.

Problem Child said...

I love my Facebook account, but dropped my MySpace one. Well, it's still there, but I ignore it. I do not Twitter, simply because I don't think my life is interesting enough to warrant it. (Who would follow me? Post after post of "Staring at the computer." "Went to get the mail." "Made a cup of tea." Snooze...)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I have FB, Twitter, and MySpace. I don't use MS anymore. I use FB, but Twitter is my favorite. I follow, and am followed, by lots of writers, so it's like having a quick watercooler discussion during the day. It's so immediate.

And I have a few readers who follow me there. One woman in particular DMs me fairly regularly, and I just love talking with her. She loves Latin heroes, so when I was working on my Argentina book, she called it "our Argentinian." When I got the cover last week, I sent her a link. It's really great to be able to connect with someone like that who doesn't write at all, but who loves to read your books.

I try to update FB more often, but it doesn't have the immediacy that Twitter has. Still, I love using them both.

Sherry Werth said...

I have a FB and a MySpace account but FB is the only one I use. My FB acct is also a mixture of relatives, friends and writers. I enjoy hearing what's going on in each of their lives. It keeps me connected to the outside world. :D
The only thing I didn't like on FB was all the hearts, smiles, hugs applications/request people sent. But thanks to Lynn's info I found out I could block them. I appreciated the gesture but it got to be a little overwhelming.

catslady said...

I have signed up originally at myspace and now facebook because of my grown children but I never keep up on either of them - I play games on facebook lol.

Angel said...

Looks like I'm not alone in the lack of Twitter... what I do is just not that interesting. "Um, sitting in the car rider line... again." (A lot of times, that's when I update my Facebook) :)

Christine, I hear ya about the phone calls. Sometimes, I'll call someone when the choice is to do that or send a long email. Frankly, I'd rather just talk to you than do all that typing.


Angel said...

I have 2 Facebook accounts (I know you aren't supposed to, but I do anyway, from 2 different emails. You should have seen the loop posts on this... OMG, get over it!) I post more to my writing one, because I stay connected there more. I hardly post to my personal one, just because I don't have much to say, except to complain about my children, and I doubt people want to hear about that. :)


Smarty Pants said...

All you phone-loving people must have better verbal communication skills than I do. I don't articulate myself as well when I speak. I just prefer email. I type very quickly and don't mind it. The benefit of FB is it allows my hermit self to keep up with people without much effort. I know, its sad, but it keeps me in touch with my friends who have crazy schedules or live cross country and I don't talk to them much.

In fact, there are fewer than 10 or 15 people on the entire planet that I will actually answer the phone to speak to when they call. Maybe another five that I answer out of guilt. Some I will listen to the voicemail message and email them back. (Don't get all paranoid now if I don't answer the phone. Sometimes I'm just not home or don't hear it ring.) Before I joined HOD, it was more like 5 people.

Gwen Hernandez said...

I've been on FB for a couple of years, and will create a fan page if I ever have something to be fan of. (Gross misuse of dangling participles may be part of my problem.)

I didn't like Twitter at first, but when I started moderating the PRO class, I figured I'd give it another try. I'm really starting to enjoy it. How great is it to reply to a tweet by JoAnn Ross or agent Holly Root, and get a response?

It's also a quick way to keep up with blog posts and industry news w/o having to tour the Internet. I'm by no means an ace user yet, but I'm starting to see the potential.

One more note and then I'll shut up. I think that using a program like Tweetdeck or Seesmic makes using Twitter a lot easier and more fun to use.