When Social Media Bleed Together — September 2, 2013

When Social Media Bleed Together

Odd title for a post? Perhaps a bit. Let me explain what it means.

There are so many social media sites out there. Some are more powerful than others. Some are more nebulous as to their purpose and advantage than others. (I’m looking at you Instagram and Flickr and all those other similar sites.)

There are several heavy-hitters in the social media world:


Of course we can add Blogger and WordPress into that list. (I also find it interesting that Blogger’s spell checker has Tumblr as approved spelling but has yet to add Pinterest to its dictionary as acceptable.)

Of those four, I am on two– Pinterest and Twitter.

I love both equally. I’ve whiled away many an hour on Pinterest, repinning to my heart’s content as I explore the Geek board (along with Women’s Fashion, History, Food & Drink, and sometimes Humor).

I have many boards. I used to have four more than I currently do. I’d titled these boards very specifically to my interests. BBC Ruins Me (for Sherlock and other BBC programs), Fantastic Bananas (for Doctor Who), Nerd-dom (for all things geeky which didn’t fit those boards), and eventually I added Legends of Hyrule (for Legend of Zelda, obviously).

Why did I delete them?

Because they no longer fit the defining characteristic of Pinterest. I mean, isn’t the point of Pinterest that you’re visually bookmarking things to reference again later? You pin recipes with the intention of someday making them. Clothes to be able to reference them again and perhaps purchase or find a similar garment for purchasing. Historical fashion and photos can be pinned to reference later in writing research.

But the geeky stuff?

I found my Pinterest was quickly becoming a Tumblr fangirl wannabe. Most everything I ever pinned onto those four board was from Tumblr. I still don’t quite get what Tumblr’s unique purpose and contribution might be to a future writing platform. And I’m still determined to keep Pinterest largely not about a writer’s platform. But I did find that my Pinterest was becoming too much like all the fangirl accounts on Tumblr.

So I deleted them. And have determined to keep a clearer focus on the reason Pinterest was created as I move forward in my use of the website. This is the same goal I have with any of my other social media. Twitter is one giant chat room. One in which, admittedly, I get lost more often than not. Thus far, however, I have yet to see Pinterest and Twitter bleed into one another.

I think the bleeding is more likely to happen between Pinterest and Tumblr and between Facebook and Twitter. Though I do have plans for a Tumblr should I someday be blessed enough to have Heirs of the Seven Realms and all its sister books published. (Assuming Tumblr is still popular then.)

Meanwhile, don’t mind the tremors in my hands as I go through pinning withdrawals. (I kid, I kid.)

Social Networking and the Author — October 6, 2011

Social Networking and the Author

I left Facebook.

I did.  And I am not ashamed of this decision.  For a while now I’d been realizing just how much control over my life that site had.  Already I was trying to wean myself from using it so much.

Then they rolled out a few changes to the news feed and suddenly I didn’t feel secure.  Sure it was a public site.  It is social networking after all.  But suddenly I was seeing pictures and status updates of people I didn’t know.  All because someone I was friends with either commented on or liked something of their friends’.

In this day and age, there has come to be a certain expectation.  An expectation on readers’ part to be allowed to peek behind the curtain and see the real person behind the name on the dust jacket.  There’s an expectation on writers’ part, too.  One which sometimes seems to expect readers’ rapt attention for everything they do.

The truth is people pay far less attention to us than we like to believe they do.

In part, social networking has contributed to the propagation of this attitude.  Yes, authors are expected to get out there and do everything in their power to generate word of mouth.  Yes, a big part of that is social networking.

And when the time comes I may create another account, or reactivate the old one, in order to do so.  But that’s a bridge I’m going to cross when it comes to it.  For now I’m content with my blog and twitter.  Occasionally I post something on Google+ but most of the time I forget it even exists.

Authors and social networking go hand in hand these days.  But at what cost?  Where do you draw the line?  Sometimes, a little privacy goes a long way in creating balance and peace of mind.

Why I Stopped Following or Commenting — January 11, 2011

Why I Stopped Following or Commenting

*Note: The following does not apply to any one specific person/blog/Twitter account.  Just a general rant over accumulated experience.  If you don’t want to read, that’s your call.  I won’t be offended because I’ll likely never know whether you even came.

“Why did you stop following my blog/Twitter/Facebook/whatever piece of social networking?”

It’s not a question I’ve been asked, because, frankly, I’m not cool enough or popular enough to matter to any one person.

But I’m going to answer it anyways.

1- Uninteresting.  I’m not interested in reading months and months of posts to catch up on the fictional adventures of a character you cut from your WiP.  [Exaggerated a bit perhaps, but that’s also so no one can think to themselves, “Was that me?”]

2- Your blog/Twitter/whatever became high school all over again.  Cliques are so last century.  Really.  I’m on social networking sites to make friends and connections, not be told what a loser I am because you got your hands on an exclusive ARC or your crit buddy just got a deal and you’ve read the book and HOLY SMOKES you should be so jealous because I read it and you have to wait a year.  Neener neener.

Not. Cool.

3- You make me feel like I’m talking into the void or like I’m five years old.

4- I’ve seen you be impolite to people who could be influencers in your career or the career of those you know, simply because they came into the conversation a few tweets/posts/whatevers too late.

5- You got overly political which began to rub me like you’re trying to say, “It’s my way or the highway and this person is so so so wrong and you should be ashamed of yourself for listening to/believing/voting for them.”

Rant over.

Social networking for writers — November 19, 2009

Social networking for writers

The dreaded word- platform.

How important is it, really?  I’m not going into that portion of the argument today.  Maybe another day, but not today.

“For many writers marketing is almost a dirty word–an ugly truth that must be dealt with in order to make money as a writer.”  (Novel Writing a Writer’s Digest Yearbook publication from sometime over the summer, page 60.)

Several social networking sites exist which can help us build a platform, connect with an audience, and interact with our peers.  And it’s not just for non-fiction writers.  The same magazine I quoted above also had a feature on why novelists need platforms.  But there are different ways fiction writers can build a platform.  You build it through critique groups, memberships in professional organizations, interactions in the local literary community, named connections that you could use discreetly to your advantage, and the stuff you write about.

There are many social networking sites to join and utilize in building your platform, be it fiction or non.

First up, is blogging.  Yeah, I’m going to talk about blogging in a blog.  Talk about meta.  (Sorry, academic nerd.)

The May/June issue of Writer’s Digest had a feature on online marketing plans.  The first step is to create a website and/or a blog.  The article says that the website is mandatory while the blog is optional.

I’m going to disagree.  I think that when starting, in the earliest stages of your career, the website is not mandatory.  What are you going to put in there?  You don’t have a book.  You don’t have a cover.  Unless you’ve got short story credits out there, the website at this point is useless.

The blog, on the other hand, is an amazing tool.  But be careful.  See Kiersten’s post about blahgs, blarghs, and blogs.  Never put something in there you might regret later.

As always, budget your time carefully.  Writing is most important at any stage in your career.

Moving on to Facebook.  I have an account over there.  And I’m very accepting.  If you friend me, I’ll accept.  Then your feed will get inundated with posts about Farmville.  But it’s the current facebook fad, so I’m kind of hip.

Some tips for Facbook:
1- Join groups that you’re interested in.  Anything and everything related to your writing.  Writing a book about zombie pirate overlords who spend their days in general debauchery?  Find a group for pirate lovers.  Join a group for zombie lovers.  Then start your own group for your zombie pirates.  (Assuming one doesn’t exist.)
2- Really into pirates?  Change your facebook default language to English (Pirate).  It’s really funny.
3- Update photos and status routinely.  Don’t let your profile page get stagnant.
4- Spend your facebook time wisely.

(All above, save the zombie pirates engaging in debaucheries taken from May/June Writer’s Digest.)

For YA authors, Facebook is going to be one of the best ways to reach that target demographic.

Twitter.  Ah, Twitter.  How I vacillate over thee.  There are so many reasons why I can’t decide on Twitter.  I know I should just stake out my little corner of it, but I’m intimidated for some reason.

From the May/June issue, again, I take the following ways of using Twitter:

1- Follow feeds of those persons or industries relevant to your audience and your writing.  Or start your own Twitter feed as the captain of your zombie pirate ship.  It can be a good way to practice your pirate talk skills.
2- If you follow, they will come- same goes for blogging
3- Have a clear goal from the outset for how you want your Twitter account to work for you.
4- Take full advantage of Twitter shortcuts to save on characters.  Things like “tinyurl”
5- Use the search function to find related feeds
6- Monitor your broadcast ability through twittergrader.com
7- Tweet from anywhere you can.  Your iPhone, your regular phone, your computer, etc.

The May/June issue of Poets and Writers featured an article titled “Are Authors Who Twitter Any Fitter?”

I’d like to quote from it a little bit.  First up, the author says, “…joining Twitter doesn’t mean automatic recognition.  It helps to have a game plan in advance: a specific reason to follow specific users’ updates and an incentive for them to follow yours.”

There are a lot of things you can do with Twitter.  Tour schedules, calls for submissions (for agents and editors), links to your works, etc.  There’s also the blahg idea where you can reveal little bits about your everyday life through Twitter.  Or you can write a mini-novel, like John Wray did.  (The article in P&W talks about it.)

Lastly, there’s LinkedIn.

I used to be on this site.  But I dropped it.  I deleted the account.  It just didn’t seem like a productive use of time.  LinkedIn is more the professional networking route.  It’s not going to help you find an audience, but it can help you connect with professionals such as editors and agents.

4 steps to using LinkedIn successfully:
1- Make a great profile that will highlight your achievements and assets.
2- Ask for recommendations.  That’s how you build your network on LinkedIn.
3- Use it as a platform for professional articles and such.  Build the logos and the ethos will follow.
4- Link everything that’s yours to your profile.

So, there you have it.  I’ve been planning this post for a while, but hadn’t gotten to it yet.  I’ll be on hiatus next week.  It’s a very busy week and I just need to let myself take a break.  I need to re-prioritize.  Plus, I work in retail and next week is a hard one.  I will still try to get a WiP Wednesday up, but that will be the only post in the week.

Q4U: Which social networking sites do you take full advantage of?  Which do you wish you were on?  Are there any you now regret having a profile on?