Thursday, December 10, 2009

Navigating Social Networking with "Friends" and Friends

When I first started this publication journey, I had no idea what social networking even was. Facebook? Twitter? I just thought they were places where college students hung out, and being 30ish myself, I’d always deemed myself too old. But I began to notice a lot of other writers were on MySpace, and then Facebook, and then Twitter, and once I dove in, just a little over a year ago now, I realized all the plusses to social networking. My favorite is being able to meet and “talk to” other writers and readers.

Like Maureen said, social networking makes writing a lot less lonely profession. I find myself chatting online with other writers that I’ve met, through e-mails or Facebook responses or tweets, daily. There are, in fact, many writers that I feel like I “know” well, though, I’ve actually never met them face to face. There are even a few local authors who I first “met” on Facebook, and then later in person, that I now consider close friends. We see each other in person a few times a year, but of course, we keep in touch regularly through Facebook.

Another really amazing thing about social networking is the way it can connect me to readers, readers I know I’d never hear from otherwise. For instance, I got a Facebook friend request a few months ago from a girl in Denmark who’d read the Danish version of The September Sisters. I was thrilled to hear she loved the book and also that she was doing a book report on it! How cool is that, that Facebook enabled me to connect with her, in a way I otherwise wouldn’t ever have been able to? I love that social networking makes me accessible in this way, and lets me converse with readers, all over the world.

And then there is the downside. Facebook is sometimes hard for me to navigate because I don’t completely use it just as a writing social networking tool. I also have Facebook friends that are real-life friends, close friends even, some that live far away, that I would like to share pictures of my kids and sometimes, snarky comments with, but I also have a lot of “friends” that I don’t know at all, readers, writers, fans. And, as I said above, I love that I can connect with them this way, but I’m also generally, a really private person. I don’t want people I don’t actually “know” to know about or see my kids or even, be offended by something I might say. So I often find myself thinking twice before updating my Facebook status or tweeting and try to keep things general, light, and book-related. I often have to remind myself that Facebook and Twitter are great networking/promotional tools for my writing career, and to keep more distance than I might want to. Before I post something, I find myself thinking about all the different people that will see it, and, as a result, I’ve deleted many a tweet/status update before I’ve actually posted it.

So I’m curious, how do you navigate between your "friends" and your friends with your social networking?


Anonymous said...

One way....Poorly.LOL.

That's right!!!Jessica Rabbit is back!Watchhhha!

jess said...

great post. I'd like advice on that too!

Maureen Lipinski said...

I agree. I've heard of authors having two Facebook profiles--one public and one private.