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How social are you?

February 16, 2011

I remember hearing the whole buzz about Twitter over a year ago and wondering to myself, “What on earth would I need something like that for?” I signed up nonetheless, because  I was assured that, as a writer, I did in fact need it. If you look in the official Writer’s Guidebook, I’m sure Twitter and Facebook  are listed under required accounts.

If left up to me, I would only have a Facebook account (and I do have a personal one in no way tied to my author Facebook account), which I use infrequently. No, I have Twitter and my author Facebook account purely to stay in contact with readers and visitors to my site and my blog. In this new day and age and the ever shifting electronic landscape, for new authors like myself, both are must-haves and I accept that. But every now and then I sit back and wonder, just how many readers, visitors, book enthusiasts do these platforms really reach. Do fans feel the need to follow their favourite authors? And if they do, what precisely are they getting out of this exchange–and is it even an exchange per se?

So my question for you today is do you have a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon or another type of social media account? If so, do you follow, befriend or link up with authors, musicians, actors etc or do you limit that kind of interaction to friends? If you’re following authors and that lot, what do you get out of your interaction with them?

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  1. I used to use LinkedIn for work — considered that strictly professional networking. Now I’ve got Twitter and Facebook accounts. I follow many of my favorite authors and publishers on Twitter…it helps me keep track of what’s coming out when. Also love to see the creative process at work…authors tweeting about how they are trying to make characters ‘behave,’ etc can be intriguing (I’m not a writer and will never be one.) Also, the tweets about book giveaways or contest are great — I’ve won several that way. I follow favorite bloggers like @SmartBitches and @jane_l because they cover topics of interest to me. As for Facebook, well I do ‘like’ certain author pages to again keep up with what is coming out when. I don’t interact that much in terms of commenting or posting via Facebook.

  2. Where to start? I have a MySpace account (that I haven’t looked at in over a year), two Facebook accounts (one for my writer self and one for my “other” self…y’know, the original me, which I never use), a Facebook Page, two Twitter accounts (one for author me and one for the anthology I’m in–I’m the technology person), and two blogs on my website (one for general blogging and one for my serial story). Eez reediculous! Oh, and I run the anthology’s website for which I have the Twitter account. And do writer’s forums, like Absolute Write and Authonomy count? On top of all that, I also follow about 50 blogs that are writing-related, either by authors, ezines, agents, or writer friends.

    All of this is professional in capacity. I talk to other authors, bloggers, aspiring authors, agents and publishers. I’ve learned so much and continue to learn. I’ve had opportunities to get my name and work out there, which I’d never be able to do without these platforms. Though it’s a lot of work, but my job is part-time and from home, so I have the time. Just checking blogs and commenting takes me over an hour in the morning. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s enabled me to meet other like-minded people across the globe, and that alone is manna from heaven.

  3. I’m right there with Noelle…where do I begin? lol

    I had a Myspace account that has been pretty much abandoned and I’ve been meaning to close because it no longer serves any purpose. I have two Facebook accounts: my personal one that I use to keep in touch with friends & family and just have fun with and our “Book Soulmates” account that we use to network with authors, fellow bookworms & bloggers and to promote our own blog. We have one Twitter account that my co-blogger manages because I just don’t “get it”. For some reason, I get on Twitter, see the insanely long string of random comments and end up with a headache, lol. I do know that she gets to rub elbows with authors. It’s been very useful in gathering fun info to share with our followers and to actually make new bloggy friends. We also have our own blog, which is in effect like a social network and our individual Goodreads accounts. I had LibraryThing and Shelfari accounts, but closed them simply because I liked Goodreads best.

    So let’s tally up…that’s 5 accounts that I have access to!! It seems a bit much when you break it down, doesn’t it? lol. I do feel they all serve a purpose and I enjoy having them. In such a modern world, social networks is probably the most reliable way to keep in touch with, well, everyone!

    Aside from our blog, Facebook and Goodreads are the ones that I use the most. I ‘like’ my favorite authors on both and occasionally follow their blogs, which allow me to keep tabs on what they’re working on, release dates and other relevant info. I feel that it all this gives us (the fans) a sort of connection with authors. Most other celebs (musicians, movie stars, etc) don’t connect one-on-one with their fans the way authors do :)

  4. I only use Twitter. I am not on Facebook, Myspace, Goodreads or Google friends. I follow my favorite authors & blogs. I have been able to relate to them as people and not just as writers. Twitter helps me to be more social during my day. I am usually home alone during the days. By being on twitter I feel more connected to people.

  5. I am on facebook and twitter. However, I don’t really use twitter, just follow a few celebrities and such. Have to figure out the jargon for it! Follow some blogs as well.

    I visit facebook quite often and use it to see what is up with authors (and my friends, of course). At this point, I think I would miss it terribly if I couldn’t use it anymore!

  6. I had a MySpace page and like several have mentioned, I hadn’t visited it for over a year. I finally removed everything from the page and closed the account. I resisted for quite sometime opening a Facebook page, but finally as several of my favorite authors were doing more and more on FB, I relented and opened a page. Most of my friends are authors and all of the pages I ‘Like’ are authors. There are some pages I follow daily, most I don’t….I don’t even check my own page all that often. I am still not a huge fan of FB because of what I believe to be privacy issues. I’m a reader, not a writer and I’m just not sure I want myself out there that much.

    I don’t have a Twitter account and won’t have one either. I just don’t see the sense in that product. I don’t have a high-tech cell phone and I personally believe it is an item that iPhone, etc users would be fond of. I could be wrong on that perception. I’m sure someone will let me know.

    I sometimes wonder how authors have enough hours in the day to keep up with their day jobs, if any, writing the next novel, editing the current novel, reading for pleasure and/or research, keeping up their webpages, blogs and now FB and Twitter. I mean, come on people, just how far is someone willing to stretch oneself to accommodate their buying public?

    Just call me old-fashioned and being dragged by the hair into the 21st century…blah! Bah Humbug! OK, I got it out of my system……I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  7. I don’t use twitter and I have to admit that I only “like” few authors to my facebook and don’t use bother trying communicated with through facebook.

  8. I’m not on any of these sites. I have been thinking about getting on Facebook because my friends keep telling me to. I think I would enjoy Twittering.

  9. I have two facebook and two twitter accounts one for personal use and the other for my blog. Like many my myspace account fell flat, I haven’t log in since I don’t know when. I like to be updated and interact with others. With my social disorder I dread large groups so this allows me to stay semi social.

  10. I only facebook. I use it to keep in touch with family and friends but also authors that I love reading.

  11. The only reason I still have a MySpace account is that there’s a link to it on my website. I can’t remember the last time I checked in (altho I did have fun picking out the wallpaper). Lately, I feel I’m bad at almost all networking. I used to bloghop & comment. Rarely do anymore. Post on my own blog maybe once a week tops, unless something earth-shattering occurs (like a new book cover). Tweet infrequently because I’m so damn wordy I find the 140 characters inhibiting…and somehow my natural wit & charm just don’t shine through. 😉 Facebook is a little more satisfying. Sometimes I feel everyone is spinning and swirling in soup–going around & around. But the instantaneous nature of Twitter/Facebook really is a marvel to behold.

  12. I’m not very social. I recently got a facebook account to follow the romance community some but that’s it. I have no interest in twitter (maybe I’m just too old, but I don’t get it). I tend to be private by nature, my mom always said yours and family business is not one elses business so I kind of have that attitude. Besides my life is hardly so interesting that everyone out there would be interested in whats going on, nor so boring that I need to know what everyone else is doing constantly. :)

  13. I haven’t joined Facebook yet. As others have said, I don’t like sharing tons of personal information on a social media site. I joined Twitter because it’s less invasive. You’re only posting tweets not pictures and personal tidbits. I mostly use it for contest giveaways.

  14. I am very behind the times. I don’t have an account with any of the social thingies you list. My preference is still interaction with authors in online chats and question and answer on guest blog posts, as well as chatting in Yahoo groups.

  15. I use Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with family, friends, and fellow writers. Social networking can be a real time sucker, so I only log on in the morning for a short time.

  16. I have Facebook to keep up with my friends and my favorite authors. I do not see the point of Twitter and I very rarely post anything on Facebook.

  17. I had a myspace that I don’t use anymore and I am now on facebook. I only joined these because I have two daughters, one married and one away in college, and it’s a great way to keep in touch with pictures and my one daughter’s artwork. I have a small amount of friends – I just wanted people I really knew. Lately I have been adding a few authors here and there. I must admit a contest probably got me to add them in the first place, and I do read what is going on here and there. I just don’t want to be overwhelmed.

  18. I have both a twitter and facebook accounts. I love facebook and find that it is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. I have also become “friends” with many authors through it. It has also helped me become aware of many different authors that I probably wouldn’t know about without it. As for my twitter account. I only use to keep up with what’s going on in the world of books. The only people that I follow are authors and a few bloggers. I started my twitter account because I find out about a lot more giveaways on there. Also, some of my favorite authors mainly write on twitter and not facebook.

  19. I used to have every account on earth from friendster to stumbleupon. I have since deleted them all mostly for security reasons and I don’t want anyone and everyone having access to what I do, whom I’m talking to, what sites I click on, etc. Besides I don’t want to make a mistake and find it on lamebook.

  20. I’m not very social though I do have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn accounts. I created the accounts thinking I would discover what all the talk was. Unfortunately, they are not really my cup of tea.

  21. Twitter: none of my real-life friends are on it. Oh well.
    Facebook: many of my RL friends and my family members are on this. I have a separate account for writers, musicians, etc. – people that I don’t really know.
    I have accounts on other social networking sites but I don’t check them as often.

  22. I don’t have a facebook, twitter, etc. acounts. I do have a Goodreads acount. That site is fun because it is book based.

  23. I have Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads accounts (and a MySpace that I don’t visit much any more). Yes, I follow quite a lot of authors as well as friends and family. I love hearing about what is going on in the author’s lives, snippits about the publishing industry, talk about new books, book signings, etc. I find it all fascinating.

  24. I have an author website and I have a Facebook account. I do have lots of authors and fellow writers as friends and some of those I only communicate with via Facebook. Others I communicate with via e-mail, etc. I do like Facebook in that I can get updates about where authors are going to be, what sorts of projects they are working on, their latest sales to publishing houses, etc. It is easier than going from author website to author website and it also lets me know when I NEED to go to their website to check something out. I don’t have an Iphone or any of the other gadgets. I don’t Twitter. Facebook is all I can manage at the present! I am techno-challenged and my head might explode if I try more!

  25. I have Twitter and Facebook but I really don’t use them. Maybe I just do not understand them

  26. I like being updated on the new releases of authors I like, finding out about new contests they’re hosting, and just reading some of their opinions in general. Most of my favorite authors have awesome senses of humor.

  27. This is such a great question Beverley! One that I have actually been pondering myself when I read on one author’s blog (her personal website blog) that all of her most recent info had been posted on Facebook….not on her website.

    I have a Twitter and a Facebook account as well as a blog, but the only reason I ended up with a Twitter account and a Facebook account was because I knew some readers prefer that type of communication. I have feeds that update both automatically so they are always current to my most recent blog post. But that’s it. There’s just not enough time in the day.

    My preferred method of interacting with an author is through their own website or blog. I subscribe to their feeds and read them whenever I see there is something new. I KNOW that Facebook is seen as the end all and be all and many authors are practically abadoning their personal blogs and focusing on Facebook and/or Twitter, but I think this is a HUGE mistake. I think it’s shortsided. Facebook and Twitter are all the rage now, but so was Myspace not so long ago and I think you can see by the comments by many others here that they are closing Myspace accounts left and right. Will that happen to Facebook? probably not, but one thing I know for sure. When I find an author that I want to learn more about, look at their backlist, or contact….I don’t go to Facebook or Twitter first. I go to their website. That should in my opinion ALWAYS be where there most current info is because it is DEDICATED solely to them with no other ads, or distractions. Authors who are spending their limited time focusing on Facebook will find themselves always chasing their tale.

    I’m not saying these social media tools don’t have a purpose, because getting your name out there is important. I’d be more interested in knowing how many books are being sold via Facebook, or whether it’s just more social interaction. When I go to Facebook it’s to win something or read a comment, not to buy. But when I’m on an author site and I can see the cover, read the blurb, read the excerpt and any other extras that entice me to spend my money….and there’s a handy buy link right there….I’m gonna use it. I think a better use of Facebook is to entice potential readers to visit your actual website where you can really wow them with your books, not have their interaction with you begin and end on Facebook (but I’m sure Facebook is happy about that).

    As a reader it kind of makes me upset when authors do this. I’ve seen this happening more and more and I really don’t like it. Mainly because you never know which author is choosing to do what at what point in time. At what point will an author decide to focus their efforts more on Facebook than anything else and how will I know when that happens? If I happened to only follow Myspace and an author hadn’t updated it in a while, should I just assume that there’s nothing new to tell? What happens when the next social media frenzy starts? All those people that followed you on those social sites will be left behind…maybe to find you somewhere else….maybe not. Which is why I will always say your website as an author should always be the most important AND consistent marketing tool they should have. It should be the most comprehensive and interactive way for an author to interact to their readers. The others should be supporting tools that get them to your website and if they are fun while doing it, then all the better.

    Sorry for the rant, but it’s been on my mind.

  28. Great question, Bev, and I’m sorry I’m late to the party.

    Like you, I couldn’t understand the point of Twitter before I started using it. I had to have a friend at work explain it to me, and I only got on because a writer friend kept telling me, “Agents say they hate X” or “Editors keep saying they love Y” and all those conversations were happening on Twitter.

    Now that I’m on Twitter, I think I’d die without it. I’ve made fantastic friends and have a lovely network of supportive, funny people. Some of them are published, and I think that’s the most surprising thing – that authors I really respect would take the time to encourage me and chat with me.

    I use Facebook, but since I live in a different country than most of my family, my rule is that I only use it for real friends/family. I don’t accept friend requests from anyone I don’t know, or from my colleagues (as much as I love most of them, I see them all the time). I never ‘like’ authors or companies because I don’t want professional updates clogging up my stream and keeping me from seeing what my real friends are doing, since I only get to see them once every few years.

    So for me, Facebook is where I connect with people I already know, and Twitter is where I make new friends.


  29. I don’t have an account with any of those places. I think most are silly and Twitter is totally pointless and narcissistic. I get really angry when bloggers offer extra giveaway entries if you ‘follow’ them on Twitter.

  30. Bev, you’ve hit on a touchy subject here and it is creating good commentary. So I’m bouncing back in with more humble opinions.

    I totally agree with what Booklover1335 said. I believe everyone is ‘taken in’ and forced to comply with Facebook to keep up. As I previously mentioned, most of my friends are authors, but I NEVER hear 99% of them nor do I check their pages to see what’s happening in their world. So what’s the point in ‘liking’ them if they just sit there like a lump? When they post, if they do, is there must be some way for them to broadcast to their friends that they have posted something. I get messages from Beverley that something has been posted to FB. Why can’t others do this? Do they join just to say they’re there but let it die on the vine? Why bother? Any media an author takes part in must be developed and nurtured if it is going to do them any good. Why should I waste my time visiting if she is not going to offer me a reason to visit?

    IMO, websites are, and should always be, the first line of exposure for an author and it should be maintained better than any other social media including blogs. If an author only has time for one or two notification type activities, I think a newsletter to her subscribers and a blog hop for exposure are probably the best ways to go.

    I do pay attention to the blogs and blog hops, hearing about them from several of my yahoo groups (I belong to about 75-80 groups), authors news blips, emails, etc. When I discover a new-to-me or debut author, the first thing I do is check out their website. If I like what I see, I’ll bookmark their website & their blogs, if any. I’ll mention here that I also visit FreshFiction, NovelTalk, Writerspace and AccessRomance on a regular basis and have bookmarked those sites. I try to make a monthly circuit of all my bookmarked authors just to see what I can see. Sort of like the bear going over the mountain…LOL Anyway, I get fed up when I run across a website that hasn’t been updated for months or even years. Those authors are scratched off my visitation list and probably my TBB list as well. If they don’t care enough about their website, newlisters, etc to maintain current info, then they just don’t care about their faithful readers. A rule in sales is it costs more to attract new customers than it does to keep old ones. So many authors are fixated on trying to obtain new readers, and that’s ok, but they should keep in mind to do what they can to keep the old ones happy. I’m the one buying your books and probably have all of your backlist too!

    Thanks for listening to my rants. This is tender subject with me. I’ve even been considering cancelling my FB account…but like Scarlett says, “I’ll think about that tomorrow”! LOL Have a great day everyone.

  31. I have a Twitter and a Facebook account. I check the Facebook account several times a day. I connect with friends I don’t get to see often and follow several authors and review sites. It is just another way to keep up with books that are coming out.

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