Confessions of a Facebook convert

Before I became a Facebook user, I thought it was for my students, not for serious adults like myself. It was a way for them to interact with other young people and promote their youth culture. I didn’t see any benefit for mature adults with busy lives. It seemed a silly distraction and waste of precious time. Continue reading “Confessions of a Facebook convert”

Confessions of a Facebook Convert

Until recently, I thought Facebook was for my students, not for serious adults like myself. It was a way for them to interact with other young people and promote their youth culture. I didn’t see any benefit for mature adults with busy lives. It seemed a silly distraction and waste of precious time.

But then I published a novel, and all of the marketing gurus insisted that authors needed to have a Facebook page as part of their platform. They also must join FB groups and regularly interact with others in that medium. I complied and made checking out FB a regular part of my day, including periodic posts that include my blog entries. I visit several different Binders of Women groups (freelance and travel writers, women of a certain age, fabulists, Bay Area binders) as well as those that have similar interests, like magical realism and other groups for women writers.

fb-copyA strange thing happened. While I know some of the people outside of the FB world that I have become friends with there, many aren’t part of my everyday life, and I don’t interact with them outside of FB. However, I’ve discovered that even strangers from that milieu have become a peripheral part of my life. It’s a little like reading a novel where you engage with various characters as you read. They don’t actually exist outside of the narrative, but they take on significance as you learn more about them, lingering in your unconscious when you finish the book.

I eventually realized I had become part of a community, even though most people aren’t posting things that are particularly revealing. Even so, I get a sense of the person and what he/she is like and begin to feel a connection to him/her. One women posts images of her vibrant paintings. Another shares photos of the many different sunsets she has seen over a lake she visits each summer, communicating the amazing variousness of a daily occurrence. Others share valuable information about politics and health that I might not have found elsewhere. FB is like living in a neighborhood where we only get glimpses into one another’s lives through our windows/posts, but those peeks bind us together though common interests.

I don’t know if FB has helped me to sell any books, but it has introduced me to individuals I otherwise would not know. Some are also using FB to market their products. But others seem genuinely interested in the various posts they receive. I’m happy to confess that I’ve become one of the latter, so do become my friend on FB!

Marketing Madness!

Publishing a novel has forced me to embrace the world of social networking. From it, I’ve discovered a whole other culture that I haven’t experienced before.

For a few years, I’ve lived on the periphery of Facebook. I started a Facebook page awhile back and friended (a word that didn’t exist a few years ago) a handful of people, not understanding what was required of me in this new environment. Mainly, I felt like a voyeur, reading others posts, though they weren’t aware of me lurking in the shadows. I didn’t know then about “liking” posts and leaving an imprint. I felt more comfortable staying on the sidelines as I often do at large gatherings. I’m an observer. I like to watch people and maintain my privacy.

But if I wanted to connect with people I had friended and find new friends, I had to make a shift. Luckily, my Facebook savvy stepdaughter enlightened me on what’s required in order to have a presence in that space. So she added me to Binders Full of Women Writers, as well as Binders and Book Marketing. Since then my publisher has also created a group his authors that I am part of.

Of course, I went overboard at first. I thought I had to gather a herd of friends and began requesting anyone who was acquainted with one of my actual friends to become mine as well. That meant I had tons of posts each day screaming for attention. There was no way I could handle that load. So I finally learned how to hide many of the posts that weren’t invigorating. How many casseroles and cheesecakes can one person make? Now I spend the majority of my time in the groups I’m part of because we have more in common, and I’m learning things from their posts about writing and publishing.

Twitter? I’m still a novice on how to tweet and follow others without ending up with a meaningless bunch of twips (my word). There’s definitely a learning curve and more information than I could possibly follow in one day far less a week. How does one keep up with all of these social-networking demands? At the moment, I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all and wonder how others manage to keep their writing lives going at the same time as they are marketing their books.