Monday, November 15, 2010

Three Seconds of Fame via Social Networking

Bruce on Manzanita Beach

Bruce mentioned the idea for this post, hence the picture of him above. Social networking is all the buzz right now. Or at least it's the buzz I'm hearing because I have one short story out in an anthology, L&L Dreamspell Nightmares, and two more coming out in other anthologies in the next couple of weeks, plus a couple of articles in e-format. I'm also shopping two novels and working on a third during NaNoWriMo.

I've been reading up on platforming, branding and social media and I've come to the conclusion that six billion of us know each other now and we all get three seconds of fame. Okay, maybe because my mind is spinning with all this stuff, I'm exaggerating. I find all this a bit overwhelming...and a bit frustrating, not to mention time consuming. I could use some opinions about all this brand new world.

So, I'm asking my readers--what do you think about social networking? What do you do with social networking? What works for you? What doesn't? Any advice on how to focus efforts/time/whatever in this vast world? Help!

It's also been suggested that now is the time to set up my writer's web page. Once upon a time, I had a web page for my exercise classes. This was not a great experience as I never had the time/knowledge/ability to change/update the page. I'm not a techie, I struggle with doing new things and updating the old on my blog! I've heard good things about wordpress, the best being it's easy to update, change, publish more--more like a blog than a webpage? Dear readers, what do you think? What do you know about webpages? Again, any help is truly appreciated!


Anonymous said...

I know absolutely nothing about web pages! My son does, but he's too busy to help. I got a little bit of help from him when I tried to do WordPress. Then I went to Blogger. At least I can do this. And Facebook. That's about the extent of it right now for me. There's also Goodreads for advertizing your work. It IS all very confusing sometimes--and very time consuming. I think you just have to sit back, relax, and do what you can with the tools. That's about all I can think of to say!!!

Except, hang in there, and have a good, productive week!!!

Carol Kilgore said...

I have a webpage, but I didn't set it up myself. Every time I want something changed or added, I had to email my web person to do it. Right now, she's changing things around so I can do everything myself once it's set up. Yes! I'll post on the Tiki Hut when the new version is up and after I've tried it out. I don't Facebook or Twitter, but I may try Facebook before too much longer. I think Twitter might drive me around the bend.

Jim Murdoch said...

I designed my own webpage. There are plenty of free readymade templates out there so I found one that had the shape I liked and then stripped out all the detail, changed the colours and the images and replaced it with my own. If you have basic HTML skills you can have a fairly decent site up in a few hours. It just depends on how much work you want to do. I’m not very happy with the one I have at the moment because I made it a little involved and it takes a fair bit of work to add in new pages, time I can ill afford. When I get a bit of time I’m going to look at it again. My biggest problem was designing a separate page for every review – looks good but it’s a lot of work.

I know nothing about WordPress so I’m afraid I can’t advise.

Cynthia Reed said...

Hey, Conda, I know a bit about web pages (the 'static' kind, not terribly whizzy bangy but you probably don't need that) and have done some for others, have my own for Alaskan Malamute rescue in the UK.

The stats are incredible; it's about how you set up searches, tags and all that. AND how you support it with Social Media.

I've had the good fortune to 'sit at the feet' of the former Cisco UK maven of all things social media and learned a lot this year, now have three or four accounts I work with 'pro bono' so I can learn as I go along. I'd be happy to work with you on your campaign and efforts, too.

In fact, I'd love it! I think Social Media, in general, has its place, is great for building relationships and 'brand' and sharing a wealth of information. And, for the most part, it's free unless you get really sophisticated.

Happy to help you get going--you'd be a natural, I promise! And you could coach me on my blog; I've just started getting determined to be consistent and do it instead of talking about it.


Conda Douglas said...

Ann, I'm like you, I signed on to Goodreads, but somehow it got into a group and started sending everyone in the group multiple e-mails every time I did something on Goodreads--annoying, so I un-signed and will try again...

Conda Douglas said...

Yes, Carol, Twitter has definitely twittered me around the bend!

Conda Douglas said...

Jim, good info--I really like the look of your website. I think it represents you and your writing well. But my problem is yours--I'm looking into Word Press so I can change my page quickly--no time!

Conda Douglas said...

Cynthia, thank you! I'd appreciate all the great help I'm sure you'll provide. And I'll be happy to "coach" on your blog.

Conda Douglas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Enid Wilson said...

I like facebook better than twitter. I've engaged in great chat with fans at facebook. Readers also notice when I post update of stories. So I think it's working for me.

My Darcy Mutates

Conda Douglas said...

Enid, interesting--I'm wondering if it's because Twitter is almost too short to "hook" anyone?

Tara McClendon said...


I think social networking is really about finding the things you can handle. Websites are nice because you only need to update them in order to keep the information current. You can always link your blog to your website and allow the blog to be the site where your fans can go for updates. That way, any time you update your blog, you update your website, too. Good luck.

Swubird said...


As to your first question, blogging is about as much social networking as I'm willing to do. I know a lot of good folks on Facebook, My Space, and other such sites, and they all seem to enjoy "social networking." But for me, it's a little too much exposure. It makes me feel a little like being undressed in public. Tweet? I don't think so. How could I tell my macho man friends that I tweet and still keep a straight face? Maybe I'll change in the future but for now I prefer to keep my tweets to myself.

Web pages, websites, or whatever you want to call them, serve a good purpose. They get your name or your product out there in deep cyberspace. That's a good thing. But one must remember that websites are difficult to build, difficult to update, and they aren't interactive. Basically, they're static pages that present either content or a service, and they never change. Joe the plumber might have a website. Call his number and he'll be right over. Great. It's a Yellow Pages on the Internet. You can even look at his site with your G3 cellphone. Fabulous. Convenient. Amazon is another great website. I buy their products all the time. Again, super convenient. I love it. Amazon has a lot of content, and the content is constantly updated. That's why I keep going back to the site for more stuff.

So websites have positive benefits. But for a writer, I don't think a static website is exactly the best place to present your work. At least that's my opinion. Of course, if you have a book or two that you'd like to advertise you could hang it on a web page in sparkling color and show the whole world that you've written a book. Yeah, we all applaud your great achievement. But why on earth would a person return to your website if it only shows one or two books? Why not just put them on Amazon? I say this because it seems to me that the content of a site needs to change frequently to attract a continuous flow of visitors. After all, business is all about attraction and retention. But with a website it's difficult to keep changing content. Try it, you'll hate it.

But a blog, now that's different story. Blogs are easy to build, and easy to update. Plus, they're interactive. And don't forget, many blog platforms are free. You can have all kinds of blogs if you want to. And a blog has the benefit of providing instant feedback. That's something right there that we humans seem to need more that sleep. And knowing what your readers and customers are thinking allows you the opportunity to adjust your content accordingly, in real time. How can you beat that?

Happy trails.

Unknown said...

I have had quite a few stories published over the past year and I have to say that social networking is becoming an obsession with me. I would like to start publishing stories for e-readers, so I would like to have an audience ready for them.

I have found that Facebook is more fun than I thought it would be and I plan on diving into Twitter over the holiday weekend. I've also joined a couple writing networks, but I'm not sure how helpful those have been vs. the time I put into it. Good luck with your venture into social media!

Conda Douglas said...

Tara, welcome to my blog! And excellent suggestions, all.

Conda Douglas said...

Swu, thanks for the great mini-course in the difference between blogs and webpages, very, very useful.

Glynis Peters said...

I used for a website setup. It is not too bad to use.

I like Blogger for blogging, I found wordpress harder to use.

Good luck with the tech stuff and NaNoWriMo.

Conda Douglas said...

Glynis, thanks for the tip, I will have to check it out.

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

I also use and have found it user friendly, and they have a free sites. There are also sites you can purchase including a domain name. It's easy to use and update for those of us non-tech types.

Lynda Lehmann said...

I tried Wordpress and found it harder to use than Blogger.

Social networking sites have, I think, gotten out of hand. While I love keeping in touch with my artist friends on FB, I don't like posting personal info on there. Not too much of it, anyway.

Twitter is so vast that I find it to be virtually useless. I'd have to monitor it constantly to find updates from people whose work/product/news I'm interested in. And vice versa.

But if you have the time and patience, I guess you can make it work for you?

I think a good way to get your writing "out there" is to join one of the large writer's sites or a critique group, if you haven't done that already. That would enlarge your circle. When I participated in the Critters workshop for writers of horror, sci fi and fantasy, I had 26 critiques from all around the world on one of my stories. It's great exposure and skill building, whatever your expertise, to find such a workshop.

Also, LinkedIn has loads of great discussions going on for artists, so I'd imagine it's the same for writers.

I know how you feel, Conda. We have so many choices, yet we feel overwhelmed and technically challenged.

I wish you all the luck.