Thursday, April 23, 2009

Options in Social Networking

Okay, here it is. I have a website and I blog and I do lots of research on the Internet for my writing. Plus, I have several e-mail addresses for different purposes.

Last weekend, I spoke at a writers’ organization where at least one person strongly suggested that I tweet on Twitter, and maybe put my face onto Facebook. I’ve been resisting both, since I already spend an inordinate amount of time on the Internet--time when I could be writing or plotting. Or even doing something else productive, like letting my Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Lexie and Mystie take me for a walk.

I suspect that Kendra Ballantyne, the protagonist of my Pet-Sitter Mystery series, does them both, for her pet-sitting company and even for her lawyering. She hasn’t admitted it to me. But, then, she’s much more efficient in her use of time than I am these days.

So... I decided to ask for opinions about Facebook and Twitter, both from readers and from other writers. What do you think? Is it helpful for an author to have a presence on either or both? What are the advantages? The disadvantages besides the additional time it takes to keep them up?



Monica Ferris said...

I'm a troglodyte, as remarked in my blog earlier this week, so take my opinion with that understanding. I think Twitter and Facebook are for amateurs. They eat up a whole lot of time with small reward. Blogging and a web site are the two most rewarding sources of information about an author.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I disagree. I find Twitter a useful way to send out an announcment. I use it to tell folks about our guest bloggers, about my appearances, and to offer journaling-prompts which are sentence starters to help scrapbookers keep journaling (writing) in their scrapbooks. My numbers of twitter followers keep growing, and I can tell from their addresses that they are scrapbookers, so I know I'm hitting my target market. The TWEETS only take me minutes, whereas blog posts take much longer. By keeping the TWEETS relevant to my audience, I try to provide value.

But...Monica, you might be right. It might all be a big waste of my time.

(I primarily got on Facebook because my son in college likes that as a communication medium, and I'll do anything to stay connected to him and his girlfriend. Other than that, all my old boyfriends seem to joined! Now that's a topic for a blog post.)

Linda O. Johnston said...

The person at my talk did suggest Twitter over Facebook, so I'm considering trying one and not the other initially, Joanna. And that's interesting about your old boyfriends...

And, Monica, I'll just have to see how much time it occupies and decide whether to keep up with it or not.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Linda, I have a theory: I think they just wanted to know if I'd aged well. Frankly, I think it's just plain WEIRD that they'd want to "be my friends."

I forgot to add my twitter-link:

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm at the same place you are, Linda. I haven't got a Facebook page or a Twitter presence. I have also resisted getting a BlackBerry, though now that I'm going to be updating my phone, I'll probably get one.

I'm kind of old school. I like to be where I am when I'm there, as opposed to certainly family members of mine who are walking around beautiful parks, scrolling through their messages or frantically typing in text messages.

Ricky Bush said...

Everytime I flip the television on, someone is mentioning Twitter. The newsmen twitter, the weather woman twitters, the sport casters twitter, the political swags twitter...twitter just seems to be all the rage. I have a blog and I've have a myspace account. I just started typing my handwritten manuscript for my first crime novel and it is all consuming and my blog is calling me and I rarely pull up my myspace and here I am reading someone else's blog.

Bottom line is that I've had thoughts of Twitter, but I may not have time to type my comments to blogs such as this one. Let alone get back to the job of trying to be a publish type author. Anyway--

Linda O. Johnston said...

Hmmm. My tally here seems to be more in favor of spending time writing than tweeting. I'm going to need to ponder this some more.

I'm not sure how you used to be, Joanna, but I'll bet those guys are sorry now that they didn't stay in touch!

I think that texting anywhere, just about, is here to stay, Betty--even if not all of us indulge. And definitely keep writing, Ricky!

Janie Emaus said...

Hi Linda,
I'm on Facebook, but primarily to connect with family members and play Scrabble!! And I have joined Twitter, but have no idea how it works. Let me know what you find out.

Camille Minichino said...

So much for my keen sense of technology: I posted this initially in the wrong place!

I twitter and Facebook and a few others -- I teach the history of technology and can't help making a parallel with so many "unwelcome" inventions over the centuries.

At the beginning of telephone technology, e.g., the US congress did not allow telephones in representatives offices since it would discourage them from walking down the hall for a face to face! Hmm, maybe there's something to that.

I admit that I embrace a lot of new technology simply so I won't be left behind.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'd be glad to let you know what I learn, Janie--assuming I figure it out. And, Camille, I like to embrace new technology but I'd rather understand it first--and not get bogged down in too many sites or ideas. It dates me, but I remember, at my first law job, when the big buzz was about a client with a revolutionary new technology--cell phones!

Ricky Bush said...

See what I mean? I just read my previous comment and noticed the typos that I didn't bother to take time to proof before hitting send. I guess that just make me a twit. Oh, well--Anyway.