I hadn’t planned to Tweet.
In planning a social media presence for my books and authorness, I thought Twitter would be a generation of new social media outlets that I skipped. I subscribe to the theory that social media is being born so quickly that you can afford to skip a generation or two and still keep an online presence. But as the Twitter community continued to thrive, I realized I was letting readers slip away by not joining in.
To that end, you can now Follow Me in all my Twitter glory @JoanneRock6. It’s been interesting to expand my social network horizons this month. As I contemplate branching out from romance into YA under the J.K. Rock pseudonym with my sister-in-law writing partner, I’ve developed some new insights about social media and its uses. First and foremost, “skipping” a venue like Twitter is a bit like saying you’ll never do a booksigning as an author. You *can* do this and still have a career. But you sure are missing a lot of folks by cutting yourself off from a vast network of readers. Now I know.
Beyond that acceptance has been some interesting realizations on the way various people fit into a variety of social media venues. For me, Facebook gives me more social control and allows me to present myself in the best possible light. My posts are always given more weight on my profile than other people’s posts. I can block my posts if I don’t want some people to see them. So for the controlling types, Facebook is an easy tool for reaching readers. It’s the party where you are always the hostess and you always have time to clean ahead of time.
Twitter, on the other hand, is always someone else’s party. The volume is cranked up and the talk is a little more loose and free. It’s the social media choice of people who are a bit less scripted than I tend to be. Twitter lends itself to asides and laughter in the corner while the bigger party churns on all night. But I’ve found I like the impulsive aspect of it. The replies come fast and furious, and it’s easy to weigh in on a stranger’s daily dilemmas. You are more apt to throw in your two cents, possibly because- with only 140 characters to work with- no one expects your comments to be beautifully crafter pieces of prose. It’s enough that you’re *there.”
When all the chat gets to be too much, I head to Pinterest, land of visual over verbal. Here I can play with pictures and create beautiful boards without having to say much. I don’t have to be clever or witty. And in a job that depends on my talent with words, I love having that break once in a while. Pinterest is like browsing a giant Internet magazine- one with more pictures than words. I can search for cookie recipes or decorating ideas, unusual treehouses or astrological artwork, whatever strikes my fancy. It’s sort of like decorating my locker at school. I can hang up pictures of whatever I like, defining myself through visuals and preferences without ever having to create anything myself. At Pinterest, you’ll meet people who share your interests, but if you don’t feel like talking, that’s okay too. You can sit in the back of the classroom and doodle.
So in my social media time, I might chat on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I will post on Tumblr, write a blog and update my Goodreads page to be sure everyone knows what I’m reading. Honestly, I can spend hours this way and have fun while I’m at it. Only trouble is? I can do all that interacting without ever talking to a real person, face-to-face. When I raise a toast, it’s with a cyber drink, not a real one with fresh raspberries and moderately priced champagne. Online, empathy comes in the form of a cyber hug- mere words on the screen. Not a squeeze from a friend who smells like apple shampoo and cinnamon gum. And no matter how much I figure out about social media or how much I find my place online, I guess that’s my biggest gripe. At the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like hanging out with your girlfriends at a restaurant, clinking the glasses together and reveling in the knowledge that they are there for you—not just for 140 characters, or until the next load of wash is done—but for the duration of a shared meal. Salud.
***What social media do you like best and why? Chat with me today on the boards and I’ll give one random poster a copy of their choice of backlist book.