Social Networking Sites

I’ve always been a little apprehensive about social network sites. When I eventually succumbed to my friends insistence that I should have a Facebook account, I stared at the profile page for a number of hours wondering what it was all about.

I was also told social networking sites are a must for reaching people – a valuable tool for a writer. As someone who enjoys stringing words together, I still find myself stumped when it comes to the ‘status’ comments, or when considering a tweet.

Perhaps it’s my brain that insists I have nothing interesting to say. But as a writer, shouldn’t I always have something interesting to throw out there. A part of it is linked to my ‘day job’. I can’t write about where I am or what I’m doing due to the level of confidentiality involved, so I tend to avoid saying anything at all.

I’ve noticed that most users of social networks have an opinion about everything, and who is more opinionated than a writer?! I just don’t know where this reluctance comes from. It could be a fear of putting myself out there – as a fiction writer I can hide behind my characters and give them all the clever things to say.

I need to do something about this hurdle I’m up against. Unless I tweet/update my status more, and add comments to the things I read I’ll never get any ‘followers’ and then I’ll just be a random person with an account, talking to herself!

I’m really interested in your thoughts. What do you use social network sites for? Do you have any tips for me. Are they important, or should I concentrate on writing forums/blogs/groups, etc?

Thanks for reading

Mel

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3 Comments

I do online user experience/interaction design for a living, so it’s crucial that I stay up-to-date on social technologies. But, I find social media difficult too. I’m such a face-to-face girl.

My tips/thoughts are that it’s as personal as a blog, but it’s faster and should elicit a more immediate response. I blog for myself, but I tend to post on FaceBook or tweet for others. It also helps (or hurts!) to have a smart phone. That way you can always be connected. I have a coworker who has a couple Twitter accounts, one is specific to the Chicago Cubs baseball team and the other is personal. Just start slow. Trust me it’s easy to get caught up in it.

As a writer, you should check out how Patricia Cornwell uses her Facebook page.

Whether you like her writing or not, she uses it brilliantly. She posts photos of what she’s researching, and these serve as fabulous teasers for her fans, and she engages them very well. She might post a photograph of herself researching attack dogs, for example, and get hundreds upon hundreds of comments from fans speculating about what this means for the next book. I love it.

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