Sunday, June 27, 2010

Social Call

Caffeine, courtesy of Starbucks. Check. Sugar, courtesy of Sweethearts Gourmet Donuts. Check.

Take a gander at these – where else would a romance writer buy doughnuts?

Ready to blog.

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media lately and how it fits into a writing career. What I mean by social media for the purpose of this conversation includes tools like facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, blogs, Flickr, My Space, YouTube, Podcasts, etc. You get the picture. Basically, any type of digital media.

A disclaimer: I’m not expert. This is all offered IMHO (in my humble opinion, for those not familiar). In fact, while many people use social media in their careers, I don’t think we can call anyone an expert just yet. It’s growing too fast.

The first thing I’m wondering is while digital media has already moved beyond the experimental phase and is being integrated into…well, basically, everything, is everyone ready for the cultural and communication shift it brings?

If you’re reading this blog, you’re more ready than you think. I’ve just connected with you via social media. So far, it’s been one-way communication. I haven’t necessarily engaged you yet. Unless you accessed that tiny url which took you to my facebook page to drool over my doughnuts (see how sneaky I am?).

So, I ask you, in what ways do you like to engage with writers and other readers? Are you a fan of the Goodreads book club? Do you enjoy watching video trailers? Do you ‘lend’ books on your nook? Do you follow funny video anecdotes from writers like Meg Cabot? Do you post or review work to online writing workshops? Tell us what you think.

Or are you resisting social and digital media? Do you still prefer snail mail over email? Or even email over social networking messaging capabilities or IM? Are you one who believes social media appeals only to the younger generations? Do you think it’s likely digital media can teach an ‘old dog, new tricks’, so to speak?

Or are you somewhere in between?

I’m a believer that social media will touch everyone eventually. And I think the majority will ultimately like or benefit from some aspect of it – regardless of which generation you come from. I just read a lovely post on FB from a slightly older, somewhat distant family member who had a great experience connecting with the descendants of a foreign exchange student from Guatemala her family had hosted through high school in the 1950’s. The woman has since passed away, but her high school experience in the U.S. had made a profound impact on her life. She shared her experiences with new generations, and her family ultimately reached out to my family member and linked up with her. They shared memories through an easy connection that would have been much more difficult to foster through traditional channels.

The possibilities of digital media are endless. Case in point, it even got my eleven year old to do household chores without being asked to.

She had clicked on a toilet bowl cleaner ad in the advertising space of some website she was surfing (via her wireless i-thingy, no less) and called me over to check it out. The ad played a few seconds of what I’d call traditional script such as you’d see on television, then it popped up a message which announced interaction was available. My child enthusiastically ran her finger up and down the screen with the toilet brush, and we watched it ‘magically’ clean the grime off a virtual toilet. She showed me a few more times, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything. I’m pretty sure she’d done it at least a half-dozen times before I came over.

All I’m thinking is: Wow. There is vast untapped potential to interact with customers/readers/friends/peers/whomever through these sites. And also…great. My kid finally wants to scrub toilets, and I get absolutely no benefit from it.

But, there are benefits to social media, I know. If we know how to leverage them. If you have not already done so, as a reader or a writer, I would encourage you to explore the possibilities. And if you have a moment while you’re online or mobile, be sure to look me up on facebook and friend me – don’t forget to mention I connected with you through the Avalon blog. I’m looking forward to meeting you.

Happy networking, everyone!


Sandy Cody said...

Happy networking to you too, Rebecca. I agree that the internet is an great way to reach readers - if I could only figure out how to stand out from the millions of others who are using the same tools. My biggest problem with it is the TIME it eats up. Like right now, I'm supposed to preparing for a workshop I'm teaching on Wed.

We'd be crazy to ignore its potential though.

Loretta C. Rogers said...

I enjoy social networking and can see it's great benefits, but like Sandy, I agree it eats up time that I should spend writing. Although cyber-networking is the up and coming tool for media promotion, I haven't experienced much benefit from it in book sales.

Zelda Benjamin said...

I like the donuts. Nice touch. Just proves there are somethings that you just can't get when networking on line.

Zelda Benjamin said...

I like the donuts. Nice touch. Just proves there are somethings that you just can't get when networking on line.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Good luck on your child cleaning toilets! You made me laugh!


Beate Boeker said...

I so agree, Rebecca! I wouldn't be published today if I didn't have access to the Internet and all it offers!