Thursday, August 23, 2012

Social Butterfly: How to Deal With Social Media as a Writer

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . .  

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Am I the only one who reads this and truly believes Mr. Dickens was writing about the internet in regards to writers?

The internet is truly one of the best and worst things that has happened to writers.

It is the best because it brings our tribe closer together.  You, as as author, can reach out directly to your reader, it allows us to skip the middle man or the media, we have a direct outlet to who we want to connect with.  We no longer have to be regional authors, our name can stretch across continents and oceans.  Our world became smaller and our map lost its boundaries.

But then there's the timesuck.  Hello worst of times.

The internet can suck your hours and at the end of the day, instead of a new poem or short story, you can be proud of your Facebook status, your tweet, your response to the political thread.  In other words, you have just used your time and instead of planting seeds--aka as poems, stories, or essays--you have planted breadcrumbs that will carried away by birds (aka a new day when it all starts again.)

Sometimes I see the internet as the spontaneous purchase you make at the cash registers-- Altoids, Star Magazine, a Zippo lighter.  We have something that makes us feel good for a few moments, then it's gone.  Like our money and our satisfaction.

But like Altoids, the internet can be used for good.

Below are the social media & internet sites I think are best for writers and how to use them so you don't lose your mind or your time--


TOP 3 Ways to Have Internet Presence for a Writer:

1)  An Author Webpage: essential!

All writers needs this.  Some people have made their blog their main author website, that's fine.  You just need a main homepage so when people (or editors/readers) google you, they can find you.  

To me, this is the #1, no excuses. If you are writing and/or you want to be a writer, you need an author homepage with contact info.  

I used iPage to create mine and update it--  (www.agodon.com)   I pay for it monthly, but I love it because I can do it myself.  And I have never been trained on how to design a webpage.  

(By the way, if you do choose iPage to host your webpage, please sign up here as I've signed up to be an associate which means, if you sign up to iPage, I get a commission, and well, as a poet, that's helpful.)


2)  Facebook Page:  pretty essential

Right now, Facebook seems to be the place where everyone still hangs out (even while they complain about Facebook).  

I suggest starting a Facebook author page.  Here's mine: www.facebook.com/agodon

It felt very weird to do at first, and I found myself apologizing to my non-writer friends after doing it.  What I've learned is, no one cares if you have a Facebook page.  They don't think you're showing off or think you're fantastic.  They have a Facebook page for people who hate Croc shoes.  Most people realize this is just part of the world we live in.



3)  Linked In:  Important, but not necessary.  More necessary if you are actively looking for work in writing.

I signed up to Linked In because well, someone told me to.  I don't go there often, but I'm glad I have an account.  If I ever need a connection, Linked In and Facebook will be my first sources.

Here's my Linked In Account.

As I said, I'm still new to this, but the one thing I noticed immediately were the opportunities for writers in paid work.

~~~


Other Tools for Writers to have Internet Presence, A Voice, or Just a Lot of Fun-

1)  Twitter:  A nice way to connect with other writers (not essential)

My feelings on Twitter is: start an account, you don't have to use it.

That's what I did. It took me about 3 months to actually understand Twitter and hashtags and to figure out who sees what.  

Twitter made me feel icky at first.  As if I was just yelling things out a window.  Well, that's kind of what Twitter is, but you can only yell 140 characters, which bugs me sometimes because I'm talky.

However, it's a great way to promote others' work as well as poetry events, books, reading series, literary journals, etc.  Also, I can share articles on poetry and poets I loved. And that's what I ended up liking it for. 

Though honestly, it probably took me about a year before I felt comfortable with it and remembered to actually *go to Twitter* --most the time I forgot it was even there.  Just allow yourself some time to get used to it.  

Also, most of the short names have been taken up, so it's better to get a Twitter account sooner than later.

My Twitter Account:  kelliagodon



2)  A Blog:  Dealer's Choice

This is another item I think completely depends on your personality and if you want to have a blog.  

I kind of think blog readership is down, but I really like having a blog because when someone shows up at my homepage, they can see I'm alive and thinking real thoughts.  It also allows me to highlight the things, people, authors, and books I love.  

I think I used to be a better blogger, but that was pre-Facebook & Twitter.  The shorter content world can take over.  But I like a blog because of what I'm doing right now-- sharing information I think will be helpful to others.


3)  Instagram: Facebook for the Younger Generation

For me, this is just a fun way to share photos and look at others' photos.  I don't see it as anything more, but a place for me to store interesting photos I've taken.

I've heard a lot of younger folks are opting for this instead of Facebook.  Since it's now owned by Facebook, they may be joined no matter what. But if you like to take photos or document daily life, this is a fun option.

My instagram account:  agodon


4)   Pinterest:  Definitely not needed, but a good way to keep track of things you like

Of everything I've mentioned, this may be another big timesuck for writers, so I hesitate to mention it...however, it's a great place if you're a visual person to keep track of visual images you like.  You create a bulletin board, say "Books I Want to Read" --then whenever you find a book you want to read, you "Pin it" to your bulletin board.

Everything on this site is PUBLIC so be aware of that.  If you're trying to maintain you are literary fiction and you're pinning 50 Shades of Grey to your Pinterest bulletin board, you will be found out.

4)  Tumblr.com : not essential at all

I used to have a Tumblr account until I read this article about Tumblr and its porn&spam issue.
According to TechCrunch though, they may be cracking down on it.

But the whole brouhaha creeped me out and I opted out of Tumblr and really, I didn't use it that much. It was another account I basically forgot about it.
~

I'll be doing another post coming up with user names, consistency, and things I learned too late in regards to social media.


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2 comments:

Collin Kelley said...

I've set up a Tumblr blog (This City Never Sleeps) and it's all about London. I'm using it as a visual diary for the travel memoir I intend to write. I've never been spammed by Tumblr or had any issue there whatsoever.

I'm just not getting into the whole Instagram thing after having had the account for a year and doing nothing with it.

Urdu Poetry said...

Social media could be a best way to express yourself, more than this you can get much more from it than just fun. I had been using facebook for fun, commenting of friends photos, status updates, etc, but from when i realize it's importance to grow up my blog's relations. I have been using it for this purpose, and now it's giving me more than taking from me...

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