There are two words that have been on my mind lately. Social Networking. Depending on who you talk to, they are either the key to success or the bane of their existence. As a writer, I’ll admit to playing the game or at least attempting to get off the bench. I’ve only being doing it for a short time but I’m here to share what I’ve learned about the Big Four: Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
I’ve got my foot in the door over at Twitter and I have to say the experience has been quite beneficial to putting myself out there as a writer. My blog gets more exposure and I’ve “met” some very interesting and influential people including writers, editors, publishers, and marketing professionals. I’ve also met a few wannabe porn stars, a handful of rap artists, and a professional wrestler. Hey, don’t knock it! Wrestlers read too. What I’ve learned on Twitter is that it is all about give and take. Some people on Twitter tend to think it’s all about themselves. They post a few pithy tweets, generate a following, and then sit back and think they’ve arrived. Whatever. For a writer, the key to a successful run on Twitter is to promote others as you wish to be promoted. Visit blogs, read what others have to say, promote their endeavors and in turn you gain followers, your stats go up, people subscribe, and you learn a lot about the business. At least that’s the way it works for me. When it stops working, I’ll stop tweeting. Two things to remember: no one really cares what you ate for lunch and always try to follow more people than are following you back. Otherwise you just look self-absorbed and unapproachable.
I really don’t have much to say here partly due to the fact that it is so new and partly because I don’t really get it. You put people in circles and they in turn put you in circles but nobody knows what circles they are actually in. Confusing? Yes, I think it is some sort of conspiracy. Plus it has a lot of kinks and bugs. Quite frankly I just don’t have time for it. This is how my single post reads:
I didn’t mention Facebook in the title of this post because I don’t really use it for Social Networking. My husband, who also has a Facebook account even though he never goes on, always complains about all the time people waste on “iTube, MyFace and SpaceBook.” I agree in part. YouTube can be a serious time sucker (I love those videos of dogs eating food with people hands) and MySpace is kind of trashy (just my opinion). Facebook can be a potential time sucker as well if you aren’t careful. However, Facebook is my way of connecting with people that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to converse with due to the distance we live from each other and the number of years it has been since we were able to get together. My friends and family get regular updates about how I spend my time, what I’m writing, and how deliriously content I am with my life. Plus I get to keep up with births, graduations, engagements, weddings, and how our fine soldiers are doing overseas. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I like it.
On LinkedIn people post their job history and resume and sit back and wait to be hired by a Fortune 500 company, get offered a huge publishing contract, or get stalked by a headhunter. LinkedIn boasts that they are “the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 100 million members in over 200 countries and territories.” I signed up for an account years ago and among those millions of users I have 3 connections. Admittedly, I never really took the time to update my profile but after receiving a few more invites recently, I decided to take a more serious look. After reading the profiles of some friends and acquaintances, I was amazed to discover the many hidden talents and skills belonging to people I thought I knew fairly well. Oh the degrees they hold and the knowledge they possess! Entrepreneurs and self-starters, CEOs and account executives, leaders and pillars of the community! I’m surprised none of them are millionaires rubbing elbows with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. So I figured now is as good a time as any to share a few secrets of my own. So I updated my LinkedIn profile this morning. You can read it here.
I tried to be as real as possible. When I boasted about my many talents and skills I made sure to include the fact that I can pick a MasterLock in 8 seconds. When I wrote my job descriptions I didn’t play by the rules. I didn’t list a bunch of meaningless duties separated by commas like “brand development, strategic consulting, and comprehensive database management.” I told it like it is because that’s what I do. Most of all, I tried to be honest. If you learn one thing about me by viewing my LinkedIn profile, it’s that I don’t take myself too seriously. Oh and I didn’t give out my home telephone number, my email, or my mailing address. Seriously people? You might want to read “How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of an Internet Serial Killer…101.”
So that’s my two cents on Social Networking and the Big Four. Twitter is a great marketing/branding tool if used properly, Google+ is seemingly pointless so far, Facebook is a potential time sucker but a fun way to stay connected with friends and family, and LinkedIn is a great place to go pat yourself on the back. Maybe my opinions will change as I get more playing time but for now I’ll focus on the writing life. Unless of course there’s a headhunter reading this who wants to throw money at me while I write my stories. In that case, I’ll update my profile.