Monday, March 26

Do I Need it? Why I'm Considering Deleting My Facebook Account


You hear so much about social media these days. You must Tweet, you must been on Facebook, you gotta try Google+ and Pinterest. But after doing four years of "this author thang" as my husband calls it, it's all getting to be a bit much and I wonder about the actual real value of it all.

When I first joined Facebook, I did it because everyone said I had to try it, that it was a great way to reconnect with friends and keep in touch with people. The social media gurus also said it was vital for authors. We had to connect with our readers.

I gave it a try.

Well, it was fun. I reconnected with friends I hadn't seen in years, and I got to keep up on what was going on with my friends and family.

Then the "author marketing" part kicked in.

Everyone said send your blog posts to your social media sites, so I started Feebdurnering my posts to Facebook. Then life got busy and I got caught up in other social media sites like Twitter, and I just didn't get on Facebook as much. I went through a phase where I played a lot of Facebook games, and added a lot of game-only friends which gunked up my feed with game requests.

Jump ahead to now, and my Facebook feed has been nothing but blog links for ages. The last few weeks I've posted status questions and not one person has responded. I highly suspect most of the people I actually want to keep in contact with have turned off my feed because they don't care one whit about my blog posts.

So what do I do about it?

I've thought a lot about what I want from Facebook and other social media applications.

1. To connect with people. Friends, family, fellow writers, readers.

2. To promote my blog and books.

3. To have fun.


I've discovered that I have two very different brands. One is as an author of teen fiction, the other is as a blogger talking about writing. My online presence is much more geared toward the blog than the books, because my readers don't really go online and hang out with authors. But other writers do.

If you're a writer, odds are you know me through this blog and Twitter. You might have me friended on Facebook, but that's not where you interact with me.

If you're a fan, odds are you've friended me on Facebook but don't interact with me at all (because I'm not there as much these days), or connect with me through e-mail.

If you're friend or family, you interact with me offline, because nothing I say online is of any relevance to you.

So where does that leave Facebook?

I've heard folks talk about just doing a Fan Page, and I do have one for The Healing Wars. All of 23 people belong to it. I want to delete it but have no idea how. I'm worried that if I create a Janice Hardy Fan Page, it'll languish out there like the other page. If I have nothing to post about, what's the point?

How does it benefit me?

I've no evidence it helps me sell books. None that it drive readers to my blog. If the point of social media is to marketing yourself, then it's failing miserably. But I am willing to accept it could be because I'm just not using it right.

Facebook for me was the most fun when it was friends and family and fans, and I got to keep up with people and be a part of their lives. If I can get back to that I'll be a happy girl. But that'll probably involve telling all my friends and family that I've stopped linking my blog posts and won't talk about writing stuff anymore (author stuff, like I just got good news or whatever is still valid, as it's part of my life) Perhaps just "deleting" it as a form of author marketing is the best bet. If you want to know about me as a person, friend me on Facebook.

I've toyed with the idea of doing a weekly post on my website as a way to better connect with fans, but again, A) do I have the time? and B) would they even care? All the research suggests teens (especially the middle grade variety) aren't interested in interacting with authors online. But blogging has been my favorite of all the online outlets, and a weekly journal-type post might not be so hard to keep up with. It would also give the fans that do go online an easy place to comment and interact with me without having to join anything.

It's all a bit of a quandary, but I want to do something at this point to streamline my life and do the things that allow me be a successful blogger, writer, and friend.

What do you think? Has one social media outlet become more useful for you? Less useful? Have you found different audiences use different outlets?

43 comments:

  1. I know what you mean Janice. It's hard to find the balance.

    Since Facebook is so popular, maybe don't delete it. While I agree that middle grade kids don't interact with authors much, if you ever write a YA book, kids might look for you more on Facebook than anywhere else. Because I don't think they Twitter, read blogs, go to websites much. They're too busy. Maybe try to link your blog posts and tell your family to ignore them. And post something a big more personal a few times a week and be done with it for now, but know you can use it later if you need to. Just my opinion.

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  2. Hi, Janice.

    I think it's OK to make choices about how you're going to interact.

    For me, I try to do my professional networking with other writers on LinkedIn. But some people I want to network with, like you, aren't on there.

    I try to keep Facebook personal only. I don't want every contact I make to be able to see photos of my kids, know about my travels, hear my neurotic inner thoughts, etc. I know there are privacy controls I could use, but I'm not keen on investing the time and energy to segment my friends out.

    Your blog is a terrific way for a fellow writer like me to keep up with you, but I agree that teen readers wouldn't dig it.

    It's possible you could do a second blog, more like Lindsey Leavitt's (http://lindseyleavitt.blogspot.com/). It's written toward her readership.

    Of course, adding a fan blog isn't really addressing your problem of overload.

    But I agree with Natalie, that readers will look for you on FB, so at a minimum, I'd do a FB fan page. Then you could link it to the fan's blog, which maybe can just be updated 1 or 2x a month, but contain more personal information about you, more in-depth stuff about the books and such.

    I guess you could put that same kind of content on a FB fan page, but doing it on a blog gives you a lot more control of appearance and how it's organized.

    That's just my 2 cents.

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  3. I never joined FB even though everyone said I should. I only recently caved to the pressure of Twitter and don't really care for it. I post once a day at 6am unless I have something really important to say then I'll repost at noon. That's it.

    I truly honestly don't think social media plays any kind of part in selling books. I know before I became an author I had several favorite writers and I looked them up ONCE on the computer on their websites. It didn't really do anything for me.

    I like blogging best. I keep up with news I need, opinions, and friends. I have a writer blog where I discuss writing, and an author blog that doesn't get much traffic, but it's nice to have if a reader wants to see what I'm up to.

    In my opinion (having only been published for less than 6 months, indie at that, so take this for what it's worth) word of mouth sells books faster than any kind of social media.

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  4. I think that social media doesn't create fans or make sales but I think it keeps fans and encourages fans once they love your book and then can interact with you and there on FB or Twitter. But I agree with Anne that word of mouth and great writing is what sells books. I do think that social media helps create awareness but that's different than sales.

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  5. I think part of the reason other authors aren't interacting with you on facebook is because one's numbers on facebook have now gained cache. It's become another marketing thing, which means you friend just about anybody who requests it to build the number. At which point you end up with so many 'friends', the threads from the people you actually want to know about get deeply buried in the mix. I rarely see the threads from those I care about most these days. I don't see that as a reason to quit facebook, but I do see it as a reason to perhaps get rid of a lot of filler friends.

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  6. I asked an author friend yesterday how much time she spends on social media each day. She said that for author business, not including her personal fun time, it's about two hours a day. That's a big time investment.

    I think the question we all need to consider is whether this is the best use of our time. Would we be better using this time writing? Getting exercise? Reading books? How many useful contacts, growth in our writing ability, and sales do we make? How much satisfaction and sense of accomplishment does our social media contribution to the world give us? How much does it distract us from our own creative work?

    I think a personal facebook page should be for friends and family. A Facebook fan page or book page doesn't need frequent updating. And even with blogging, one needs to consider the cost-benefit ratio.

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  7. Janice,

    If it makes you feel any less alone, I too feel conflicted.

    I only just jumped on the social media thing last year, and while I don't regret it, it is hard to know how to use each network to your advantage without eating away at your book/article/story/song/essay/whatever else non-primary writing.

    Like you, I also prefer blogging to Facebook, since it's less manic to keep track of, even if in my case my blog posts are rare at best. Since my offline life's not as "Adventurous" as I'd like, and I really don't want to talk about the more scary parts of my life, I find it hard to write about myself outside my identity as a writer, but I know I need to grow in this area, so I'm not being too hard on myself there.

    I'm not sure I really buy teens don't use Facebook, and certainly they use Twitter, I hate being confined to less than 1,000 words, never mind less than 200, but that seems ideal for folks far more impatient/time-starved than I am.

    Unless most parents are paranoid control freaks, kids 8 and up use the internet and go to websites, even if they are not writer-centric, I did, but since I lived a lot of my teen years online (Not in dangerous ways!) due to my inability to do much offline without constant need of chauffeuring, my opinions are skewed.

    The internet was still in its infancy when I was growing up so I can't comment on some aspects of the "What's relevant to kids" debate.

    However, frankly, my life was more restricted OFFLINE than online, I always needed a ride to go everywhere, school, library, pizza place, grocery store, pretty much anything fun I loved always required a ride, and that still hasn't changed much, and I'm pretty much halfway to 30 here.

    While online shopping is "EVIL" to some people, it's for better or worse a blessing in my life. I'd never get half the treasured books and movies I own if I were solely reliant on offline ways of shopping since my mobility is dependent on others, and while some of you busy parents and students on the go may find what I say strange, it's what I have to deal with, and this year especially it's taking a serious toll on both my nerves and what little patience I have left.

    I may not be the only one, but I certainly know of any people online or off who struggle with this, and it's simply not a "Get a license" solution. Even if I had it, I can't afford a car, nor the mandated insurance, and defeatist as that sounds, it's the truth, and I'm just stating it simply, if not delicately.

    To put it simply-
    I don't know who I'm writing for most days.

    We keep hearing over, and over, and over and over, and one more time over AGAIN-

    MG readers don't read blogs (Or even go online, which I just don't buy, even if they don't come to author sites)

    YA readers are too busy with school and holding down 800 part time jobs (I didn't have a great school experience, to avoid ranting more I'll leave it at that).



    Which leaves me to wonder, who's reading our blogs? Tons of Grandparents? Aliens?

    It is frustrating when I read all the hoopla about social media and why writers HAVE to do it, when many of my favorite authors simply don't have an online presence, or even a basic website, and at best, a rarely updated blog or publisher profile, but that usually sums it up.

    Some are big names, but most I just discovered on my own and love their books, no matter if they sold 7 million or 7,000, and I'm certainly not apologizing for that!

    Sorry if I got off-topic a bit, Janice, but next to the "Boys don't read" thing, and especially the "No one over 13 likes the books I read and write" this is another hot button topic for me.

    I need to blog about this, if only to say I put my take on this issue out there, take it for what you will.

    Taurean

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  8. If you write for the teen/early 20s crowd you really need to be on Facebook. I know YA authors that do not blog, but instead post all their updates, news, status, etc. strictly on Facebook. That's where their readers are. If your readers are under 13, or older than 30, I think Facebook is a waste of time for the most part. Twitte? If your readers are of the technical nature, than that's the crowd using Twitter. Tweet away.

    Once option you have - turn your personal facebook account into a page. It's a one-click process. All your friends become "likes". This is something I have considered, because although I have reconnected with well over 100 people from my past, I really don't care what they are doing now (if I did I would have kept in contact in the first place), but if their "likes" can help the status of my Facebook author page I welcome them!

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  9. I disagree that YA readers don't have an interest in interacting with authors. I think that it may seem that way because most authors don't interact with their readers.

    My father and I are both authors, and we answer every email and letter our readers send us. We've heard time and time again how they appreciate it and how no author has ever responded to them before. We've heard the same from teachers before, too. Kids will be assigned to write about their favorite author, and to write to that author, but no one ever responds to them.

    My father and I both have fan pages on facebook. He currently has over 3,300 likes and I have 580 some. We update at least once a day, sometimes more. Fans really like to see how the writing process works, where we are in our stories, photos from our events, etc.

    I agree with the others about keeping pages separate, though. I have an author fan page and I have a personal facebook profile which is unsearchable so people can't add me easily.

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  10. INTERN had a related post earlier this month: http://internspills.blogspot.com/2012/03/follows-not-book-sale-though-its-very.html
    about her friend's experience with book sales and social media.

    FWIW, my daughter seems to match up with what you're seeing -- i.e. next-to-no online interaction with MG readers. She is in 7th grade and is a big fan of yours, but she just wants to know when your next book is out, and that's pretty much it. Other than that, she wants to spend time with her friends, not looking up her favorite authors. Perhaps you will see more online interaction with YA releases.

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  11. Hmmm, very interesting. Lots to think about, eh? I think you're absolutely right about what the point is for stuff like Facebook, and if it's not working for you, then change it up. If that means deleting it, then you do what you gotta do. Or you might try a Facebook cleanse. I don't add people I don't know, instead I have a fan page.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  12. I'm not a huge FB fan, so maybe I'm not the best one to ask.

    But as a fellow author I LOVE your blog. I feel like you are approachable here just as much as on FB.

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  13. As a writer I LOVE your blog, it's a must read for me.

    Social media is a struggle...where's the balance? I do have my blog linked through Twitter to FB but I don't focus on the craft of writing like you do. I'm aiming to keep FB more casual and reader related, for example Goodreads is linked to FB. I'm trying to get better about status updates on both FB and Twitter, LOL

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  14. Very interesting post. I've been having the same questions. For me, I look at the time to blog and respond to comments and it is time consuming. I don't want to blog to other writers - there's lots of blogs like that out there. So I had to find something else to blog about. it's interesting. the people who are following my blog are not really readers, but people who want the info i'm sharing on the blog. So while I'm glad to be helpful to others, I'm not so sure it's helping my fiction sales. I've had a couple people tell me I should put these in a non-fiction book and that's interesting but it's not what I write.

    i think we all have to decide and it's a hard question.

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  15. Thanks guys! Awesome thoughts and suggestions.

    Natalie, that is a good point, and I do have a YA in the works that will hopefully be out next year-ish. Those are great suggestions, thanks!

    Dori, the more I think about it (and read here) the more a personal FB Page makes sense. I also think I might try to do the weekly post on my website. Once a week can't be too overwhelming, right?

    Anne, word of mouth certainly does. My online presence is mostly for the blog at this point. The book fans can find me, but most folks know me as the blog Janice. I think I'm okay with that :) Makes it easier to figure out where to put my focus.

    Laura, thanks! I probably will end up keeping the FB page, just as something different. I do want to be able to connect with fans when they want to find me.

    Elizabeth, that was part of the problem. I have lists I use to keep folks organized now (also in Twitter), but it's almost impossible to keep up with everyone you might be friends with. I did go through and delete all the pure gamer friends. The ones friended just to play FB Games with. That cleared it up some.

    Penny, that is a lot, and I was doing at least that if not more for a while. I've cut back, but it's still a lot of time. Your questions are awesome dead on. I enjoy some aspects of social media and not others. Makes sense to trim out the stuff I don't enjoy and stick to what's fun. That's what I always recommend to others, LOL. Need to take my own advice Thanks for reminding me. :)

    Taurean, I think teens use FB, but not the middle school age. Or at least not more than chatting with friends. Older teens use it more. But I suspect texting is more prevalent than online stuff. From what I've read, most of the people reading blogs are other bloggers, and those who like to get news and info online. That includes all ages, but even if you love to go online, you might not visit an author's website or read their blog. I'm sure they're are exceptions, but even teen blog readers are reading other sites, not so much authors blogs unless they're already a rabid fan.

    Dan, my next book is a solid YA, so I guess FB will have to stay :) Right now, I think my readers do indeed fall into the under 13 and over 30 ranges.

    Amanda, I think they DO interact, just not online through FB or Twitter that much. I get emails all the time from readers, and I answer every one. I have quite a few I have ongoing chats with. It's rare when I hear from a reader through social media platforms. If I could keep a ran page updated, it might be a nice middle ground. A FB account for me, a fan page to keep in touch.

    Khanada, I loved that post. Extremely eye opening. It's probably what got me started thinking about this whole thing. It'll be interesting to see the difference (if any) with a YA novel. (and tell your daughter thanks for reading!)

    Sarah, I like the idea of a cleanse :) Not a bad thing to do a few times a year in all aspects of life actually.

    Angela, aw thanks! The blog feels like home to me. I just worry non-writer folks won't feel comfortable about posting here if it's not about writing.

    Raelyn, thanks so much! With so much out there it's hard to know what to focus on. It's even worse being split into two writer/author.

    Louise, responding to comments can be very time consuming. There are times when it takes me a few days to get to folks here, even though I read them all as they come in (I get emails on every comment). I've gone back and forth between responding to everyone (my preferred way) and giving a blanket comment, but the blanket ones feel impersonal to me. Sometimes I do because I don't want folks to think I'm ignoring them and things are just too swamped for personal replies. The blog takes a huge amount of work, but I love doing it. It's not for everyone for sure, but it fits me. Thanks!

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  16. I never joined FB, but I fully expect a new social media site to appear any minute. We seem about due.


    mood

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  17. I never see you in Facebook anymore. It's not that I unfriended you or that I ignored you. It's that facebook has some way of only sending posts that are the most popular through. Even though I tell it I want to see all posts, I suspect I don't get them. Because I used to see stuff from you, but after they made the change a few months ago many of my friends dropped out of my feeds. I don't think it's who I like best that shows up. It's the people with the most people liking them. Because I get stuff from authors I don't know and I've never commented or liked any of their posts. But they still come through.

    To fix this you might be able to start liking other people's stuff and if you do that enough it might pull you up in their feeds. I don't know. It would be good to find out. I have no way of knowing who sees my feeds, and it kind of bugs me.

    I'm not published and my facebook people are evenly split between writing contacts and real life friends and family and church friends. So it's a little weird. But I figure people can ignore me or unfriend me if the don't like my professional or my personal stuff.

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  18. Wow you've got loads of advice for this already and I wish I had time to read it (go figure) but I have to say that I am liking FB more than ever right now because of Facebook groups. You can talk shop to like-minded people, get immediate feedback and your question doesn't go away for ages like it does so fast on Twitter and it leaves your main FB page free for more spontaneous personal posts. I have noticed recently that hardly anyone comments on my writing related posts, possibly the odd writer that I know really well, but I have lots of almost strangers on Facebook now, and they connect so much faster with a fun post on what you are doing than anything else, jokes etc, a close second. I am nervous of Twitter at the moment because it is a lot of white noise and I get hardly any traffic from there considering how much I can be on there. I love Pinterest because it is fun. I don't go round so many blogs religiously anymore since I read interesting posts about not having time to go round everyone and facebook is for the others. I guess if you're having a hard week but you still want to connect, chatting with a FB group is like meeting everyone at the pub instead of going to each person's house. Yikes I'm rambling now, no more pearls of wisdom. I'm not a good example of balance at all :)

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  19. I'm a teen writer. I have a facebook fan page for my blog and one of my books. But I never really use them. I have 40 blog follows but only 6 or five facebook fans. But that's okay cause I just don't use facebook a ton. I used too, but now I don't. I only use it to keep up with distant friends or to talk to people in groups.

    Online terms, I read some author blogs, a lot of writing blogs, and I just generally stick to blogs and websites. They're much more interesting and helpful then facebook, twitter (which I have NO IDEA how to use), and Google+ or whatever else.

    I keep my friends and family on facebook and if my readers or other online writing people want to talk to me, they can email me through a email specifically for the purpose, contact me through my blog, or my Facebook fan page. But that's about it.

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  20. I have FB fan page(s) for various different things, plus a personal FB account.

    I'm using Networked Blogs to bring content to my FB fan page, plus sharing something someone else might post on my regular feed from time to time.

    FB is still the biggest beastie out there, and for some of my family and friends, it's the ONLY form of Social Media they use. I don't worry that I'm not active on Digg, for example, but I do want to have a "presence" in the bigger areas.

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  21. I'm a fan of Kyra Davis...she's a fan of Janet Evanovich, and if I'm lucky my novel will share their sense of humor as well as be a romping good tale of murder and mayhem. Kyra Davis is traditionally published and has chosen to go e-publishing with her latest book. She has used FB very effectively. Somehow I even get posts on the right side of the feed (like advertising to "like" this will show up) and they keep us updated on her efforts to get an audio version out next. It's not a fan page; it's her personal (mom-is-a-FB-friend-too) page. I recommend you check her out to see how she has used them. I don't follow her on Twitter because I'm rarely there nowadays. That may change. So, she might have a twitter account, too. If you pepper your FB Posts-about-blogs (which can come from your twitter postings on your blog) with things about the weather, the dog, etc. (also postable from twitter or your phone), then it might start some of the dialogue that keeps a fan reading about favorite authors. Best of luck, and thanks for blogging about this.

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  22. My FB account is for family and friends - friends do include writers in my writer's group, but we mostly use FB to talk about our kids, coming home with a trunk full of groceries to find the power is out and things like that.

    Occasionally, I'll post a link to my blog, if I've written something I think would appeal to my friends and family, but I'm careful not to overdo it. I do get hits this way and friends will often repost my link to give me more exposure.

    Someday I'll get into Twitter and use that for social networking from a writing perspective. But for now, I'm busy enough!

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  23. Hi Janice, I love your posts but I have always been a silent follower on your blog. I have struggeled with the same question. I am a recruiter and writer so I struggle with trying to balance each position so I dont only post jobs or just writing information. I believe it is all about name recognition and creating a reputation you want people to see. I have rarely interacted with a reader online, so I network with other writers instead.

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  24. I touched on this subject briefly in a post (http://lived-inlife.blogspot.com/2011/10/reclassifying-past-from-fiction-to-non.html) about the effects of social media on the generation currently being born, but I'll elaborate on the relevant parts here.

    If you want to figure out how best to use a social network it helps to think about the way it works. Facebook works by leveraging the relationships you've already built in "real" life (meat space, call it what you will). It is very uncommon to meet someone new through facebook. Facebook takes your real-life connections and creates online versions of them.

    A site like Google+ generally helps you create new connections based on interests. It is very common to interact with new people on Google+ and generally less common to have a real-life history with the people there.

    My advice (this is what I do) would be to use facebook for keeping in touch with personal relationships, and use twitter and Google+ for promotional activities. Divide and conquer.


    PS. If you circle me on G+ I can share some awesome circles with you. I've got a great circle of writers, and another fantastic circle of readers.

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  25. Great article! I ended up having a facebook page for just friends and family, and one for my 'writing' self. I invited my friends and family to join me there too, but let them know that it was a more public site and that I'd be posting many marketing stuff and blog links.
    I too find myself using social media for linking with other authors and gaining support from the connection.

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  26. Very interesting, and yet, the comments are also conflicting. haha!! Just like Social Media.

    Just tonight I was advised to have a fan page, but what I most love about Facebook is the connections to both old and brand new friends (yes, I've made a lot of new friends on there). I probably use it more like a Free-flowing Blog and am always trying to generate conversation, frequently through photos and quotes, and often youtube videos. It's a good fit, so maybe the question is: Why change what ain't broke?

    Thanks for being so honest and sharing your frustrations. As you can see, you're not the Lone Ranger!

    Good luck figuring out your next move! (Writer Thang, haha. "Like" that.)

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  27. I joined Facebook to connect with old friends from high school and college and I loved it for that. People from my blog started friending me and I was okay with people I know in real life through blogging and even bloggers that I've emailed personally, so I friended them back. But then people started friending me who only found me through other people. I didn't even recognize their names and I had no idea why they would want to friend me. Suddenly it wasn't just about connecting with real friends, but building up friend lists. And then personal photos were getting tagged and becoming public and that really bugged me. So I quit. That was more than two years ago. And I haven't missed it yet.

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  28. I use Facebook to keep in touch with family (many of them overseas), distant friends (in time and place) and people I share interests with. I hardly ever link to my blog there. Facebook is definitely my personal online space.

    Twitter is where I'm trying to build a more business-like brand. I have a modest 500+ followers there, and unlike Facebook, I don't know a single one of them in person.

    Google+ I just haven't figured out yet.

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  29. I think this is a question that's coming up more and more, as writers realize that the hours they spend in social media are hours spent away from their writing. For those of us with full time jobs, writing in the wee hours of the morning or late at night, or any time in-between, those moments are precious. They must have an equally precious pay off. So far, my blogging and social media have earned me some amazing online friends, but no sales. So like you, I'm looking for ways to streamline. Thanks for raising the question everyone is afraid to ask.

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  30. I think I would keep it "for the fans" when you do publish. I keep a page and a separate (family) account on FB. But Twitter's where the business side of things is from what I can see. I'm not published yet, but I do see a lot of success from twitter stories. I haven't gotten into Pininterest or anything else because there's only so much time and you do have to write if you want to be an author.

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  31. I do most of my posting on my Personal FB page but gave up on the idea of just having personal friends in my list a long while back; it took too much time to check each person who sent a Friend request. Now I check our list of mutual Friends instead.

    If I didn't have a FB account, I likely would never have started visiting my publisher (Simon & Schuster) in NYC. My publisher/editor follows my FB personal account (or at least checks in every so often) and noticed that I was going to be attending the SCBWI conference in NY last year. As a result, he asked if I wanted to come visit the S&S office while I was there. I said yes, of course, and have visited several times since then.

    I don't just use FB for work/networking but also for keeping tabs on friends, family and non-work acquaintances.

    My @inkyelbows account on Twitter, however, is almost entirely work-related (I have several Twitter feeds).

    Good luck with your social media decisions! There is no one right answer -- depends on individual time constraints, personality & needs.

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  32. I never signed up for FB in the first place because of my concerns over the ever-changing privacy issues. But I am a very active Twitter user (@jwindh) and I have found it really useful.

    I don't consider any of the social media sites to be a plan for simply marketing books. But I have found Twitter to be really useful for me to build an international community of people who I otherwise would not have ever known - some who are useful industry contacts, some who have become supportive writing friends and critiquers, and some who are just interested in the things that I am interested in and in what I do.

    So when I do my next book launch, I think my Twitter community will be supportive of it in many ways. Perhaps not by buying books themselves (hopefully a few will) but probably in other ways, such as suggesting media contacts, or venues for my next tour.

    I did sign up for G+, because I thought I "should" (and, at the time, Google did not seem to be as evil as now apparent...) I never go on there any more. I found no use for it. I don't need it to keep up with my "real" friends, and it just seemed to be repetition of what my Twitter friends were already posting on Twitter.

    I agree with Elizabeth's comment, too, about most of the SM sites being so flooded with content. The posts you do want to read, from people you do care about, disappear in the flood.

    That's why I like Twitter. You can organize lists. So I politely follow back anyone who follows me who seems to be "real" and who has at least something in common with me (i.e. who is not following me only to make me follow back and increase their numbers). But then I can put the ones who I actually want to READ on a list... so I get a separate stream of the content that I value, while still not snubbing anyone but not following them back.

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  33. I used to enjoy Facebook more than I do now. It seems like I see fewer personal posts, and more links to online articles, photos, videos, memes, etc. This isn't just from authors. It seems like a lot of people have run out of things to say, so they are just sharing links to whatever intrigued or amused them.

    I sympathize, as I started feeling like I don't have anything new and interesting to say, and it's certainly easier to repost links or share my blog links. But Facebook isn't as much fun anymore since it's less personal, and it's a lot more time-consuming if I actually follow links and watch videos. I wonder if Facebook is on the way out.

    That said, I do like keeping in touch with people -- I have a lot of acquaintances I wouldn't contact personally, but I do enjoy hearing their news. I have a Twitter account, but I just don't get how to use it, and Google + seems to be pretty much a wasteland after its initial flurry. I blog, but like you, my followers are writers, not readers. I blog more to promote my editorial business and writing craft book than my fiction books.

    People seem to be enjoying Pinterest now... hmmm...

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  34. Chris, good point about Facebook. It's sort of turned into Tumblr. I've moved in that direction myself, reposting rather than leaving "true" status updates. Either I can't think of anything interesting to share, or the stuff that's interesting isn't something I want to share (like the nitty-gritty of wedding planning).

    I do like reading news on FB from people I don't talk to regularly.

    Pinterest is fun and addictive, but if there's a way to use it to actually interact (besides "repinning"), I haven't found it yet.

    At the moment, my widest network is definitely on Twitter. But once your follower numbers get past a few hundred, you can't interact with everybody. I'm still working on making lists.

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  35. You know what I want as a reader? A fan page of the characters I love in a book. You know, where I can post fun questions like (for example): Hey Nya, what's your favorite color? Are you learning martial arts? What do you think of suchandsuch? Or, hey, if you go to Hogwarts, where do you think the sorting hats will place you?

    Readers care for the characters. So why don't you give a way to interact with them?

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  36. You guys have such great advice!

    Mooderino, LOL isn't Pinterest the new hot thing? That's what I keep hearing about now.

    Sally, yeah. I've been bad. Part of it is my fault for dropping out. I didn't know about those rankings, that could explain it. I'll try being more active and see if that helps. Thanks!

    Catherine, I haven't played much with groups, but I'll have to look into it now. LOL ramble away, I don't mind. You had something helpful to say!

    Sareh, thanks! Good to hear a teen perspective on this.

    Beverly, that does make sense about the size. People do use it even if they have nothing else.

    Di, thanks I'll check those out. It's so hard to figure out the right approach. I keep waffling, LOL!

    Cindy, thanks! I keep going between that type of FB Page and being more "writer +" Both have appeal.

    Renee, thanks for speaking out now :) Writers do seem to be who I interact with most, but that might be because they're on more?

    Mike, thanks for the link! Nice breakdown. And you're right, FB does seem to be more for folks I know in some way vs unknown comments like on Twitter. I'm not on G+ yet, but if I do, I will!

    Debra, two pages makes sense, but then I wonder if I'd ever be able to keep up with them. Do you find it tough to manage both?

    Patti, I know! But everyone has their own tastes. I probably need to really think hard about what I want from it.

    Sherrie, very interesting. That's a real concern, because you never know who might friend you.

    Wendy, I'm clueless on Goggle+ myself. Twitter is my online space for sure. And my writer space.

    Suzanne, I think things have changed from when it all first became popular. Just like blogging. It's so popular now that it's easy to get lost in the flow. We do it, but is it worth it? For some it probably is, for others no.

    Traci, I have thought about an author page vs a person page. But at this point, the books have been out 3 years so the page is all mixed now. Might be an option though. If I can keep up with both.

    Debbie, I use mutual friends as well, especially since I fell into the game pit for a while. If I see obvious game accounts as mutual friends I don't accept. My publisher/editor is also on FB, and it's nice to see what's going on with her as well.

    Jacqueline, I totally agree about the international community. I tend to hit Twitter early in the mornings, and I have all sorts of folks from the other side of the world I chat with. I make lists in both FB and Twitter, which do help a lot. But the FB list don't seem as organized. That might be due to that "popular posts" issue mentioned.

    Chris, I've noticed that too. It's kinda like Twitter with the link fest. Haven't tried Pinterest yet.

    Siri, lists really do help. But the FB list don't always show everyone. :(

    Eve, that's a fun idea! But goodness, that might be harder to keep up with lol. A very interesting idea though, thanks!

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  37. I'm not on Facebook, so I can't say what the value of it is, but I can say that when I showed my teenage nieces that their favorite author has a website and blog, they looked at me like I'd pulled out a pair of his underwear. They had no interest in it at all - they cared about the characters in his books, not him.

    I'd say do what you enjoy, 'cause that in itself will make it worthwhile, and you're not enjoying it, it's going to show.

    Also, I'm reminded of this quote from Laurie Halse Anderson, who's practically stopped blogging.

    The best thing any of us can do for our careers is not to network, not to attend workshops, not to go to writer’s group, or read a blog or enter a contest or work on a website.
    The best thing we can do for our careers, and more importantly, our souls, is to sit down, every day, and write.
    - Laurie Halse Anderson

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  38. Maine, there's a lot of wisdom in LHA's quote. I've been tempted to just stop everything but the writing. I enjoy the blog too much to do that though. But some weeks I vanish from social media.

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  39. "If you're friend or family, you interact with me offline, because nothing I say online is of any relevance to you." Love this! I started Facebook after my blog. I did it for personal connections with old friends and family, and I think I'll keep it that way...I have mostly personal stuff on there, but I do make professional announcements too...I figure I'm still marketing my work to more people I already know than I would have in my pre-Facebook days.

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  40. Janice: The thing that most concerns me is that I do feel I've lost contact with people I care about because of the barrage of blog posts that come to my page. I think a bunch of people have hidden me.

    Which bums me out.

    I think Mike Manz had a great suggestion in trying Google+. I just hate hopping from site to site. I have a fan page, and I just started it in December. I have people helping me write my current WIP. I ask people for their input on things. And they love it. I went from 0 subscribers to 450 very quickly. I've locked in to other blogging friends with pages and we interact and encourage people to check out other author pages. It is working to grow my page. And I think people who have helped provide input for my character will be interested to see how her story turns out.

    So...

    I'm considering turning the WordPress blog off my main page and just letting the posts go to my FB fan page. Then maybe my real friends will talk to me again.

    Otherwise, I may just kill my Facebook page, too. I've been on since 2004. It's lost a lot if it's appeal for me.

    Great post.

    But

    I hate the new Facebook format.

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  41. Janice,

    I've only really been on social media for a year and, while I love it, it does take a ton of time.

    The best find for me so far has been Triberr. It gathers my fave bloggers into one spot so I can promote them and read them easier. That is all it does. And the time I save? Priceless.

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  42. I have given blogging workshops, here in Japan, and I always advise that people find the social media that works for them and stick with it. It's better to have no blog presence than to have a bad one. Ditto Facebook, Twitter, and everything else.

    PS, I still haven't figured out what Google+ is meant for.

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  43. Jennifer, I wonder it's worse for folks who joined as a personal account and then try to turn it into a professional account. I never really thought about it when I first joined.

    Renee, I looked briefly at G+, but I honestly couldn't figure out how to sign up. That alone turned me off, though I might have to take another peek one of these days. Totally with you on the new FB format. Bleh.

    Jenny, thanks, I'll take a look at that. I've heard a few folks mentions Triberr.

    Claire, ironically enough, I give that same advice to folks who ask me. Do what you enjoy, cause it's just too hard to keep up with it all. I used to enjoy FB, which is probably why it's hard to kick it to the curb.

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