Thursday, January 29, 2009

When is New Media Too Much New Media?

I've been contemplating this question for a while...I feel like I could spend my entire day on things like Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, MySpace (which, actually I never really deal with anymore), but there are so many new sites/tools out there to connect with other writers and/or readers that it's almost become a job in and of itself.

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I decided to join Twitter....and to be honest, I'm not sure if it's for me. I suppose that you get out of things what you put into them, but between writing my book, working on my celeb interviews, doing TOML stuff (still doing that months after its release) and the 1000 other things I have to deal with in the time when my sitter arrives and when she leaves (including but not limited to: walking the dog, squeezing in a workout, planning dinner, running errands, going to meetings, going to dr's appts, going to a million different things, oh...and working), and I'm not sure that I have it in me to keep up with this tweeting thing. But, on the other hand, as someone who recognizes the value of these online marketing opportunities, I'm hesitant to discard it altogether, even though I fully recognize that it probably isn't my bag.

It's interesting what the internet has done to book promotion and author accessibility. Gone are the days when book tours were a must. Now these days, what is a must? Tweeting? Facebooking? Blogging? Websiting? I don't know - where does it end? It feels like every year, something new will crop up, and I'll be honest, I was iffy on FB originally and now I can't live without it, though I try to use it strictly for personal, not professional, reasons. (I.e, I don't use it for networking and don't friend people I don't know - and vice versa, but regardless, it's been invaluable in terms of promoting within my pool of friends and people with whom I'm back in touch.) So it's not as if these places don't have a lot of value; I recognize that they's just...where does it end? An author could spend all of her time networking and blogging and tweeting and whatnot and never actually devote herself to the important things.

I dunno. It's just food for thought right now. For me, this blog has been the best marketing tool I've opted for, but when people ask me if they should start their own blogs, it's hard for me to say affirmatively yes because, after all, who knows how well they'll use them? Maybe Twitter is a better choice or maybe nothing at all. Maybe they should just spend their time writing. I don't know. The possibilities are endless. Maybe it's just up for each person to decide. For now, I'm hanging onto my Twitter page, even if I don't make much of a tweet.


Debra Lynn Shelton said...

Interesting topic. I've also been considering Twitter, although I have a feeling it's not necessary and, as you say, probably isn't my bag. I've also resisted FB, even though I'm getting a lot of peer/family pressure to join. For right now, updating my blog every 2-3 days and, far more importantly, editing my book, are where I'm keeping my focus.

pamcl said...

I use twitter and it's one of my best tools. Play around with it, there are lots of applications you can use with Twitter than can save you a lot of time, such as an automatic message to people who follow you and an automatic follow back. You can also schedule your tweets ahead of time, so take ten minutes in the morning, do a few tweets and then they'll be delivered throughout the day and you don't have to think about it again. Twitter is most effective when you have a mix of content, so a little personal stuff, and the rest info of interest or links to articles that people might enjoy. Also commenting to others twitter posts, participating.

The best part about twitter is that you don't have to put much time into it. It's far easier to whip out a two line tweet, than to put together a thoughtful blog post. So it's far less time consuming or stressful than blogging, in that you don't have to worry about what your next blog post will be.

Another key to success on twitter is following people that you find interesting as well as potential people who might be in the target audience for your books. You have to play around with that, but this is really a key success for twitter. You don't want to just aimlessly follow people, you want people following you that might actually read your posts/tweets and retweet them, which will build your following with quality rather than just quantity.

Like anything, you get out of it what you put into it, and it can be as silly or successful as you make it.

I thought it was nonsense at first, until I realized how incredibly effective it can be, and now I'm addicted. :)


Hayley E. Lavik said...

I find the whole Twitter thing a little odd myself, and mostly use it to update on the never-ending progression of university work for friends who are curious about the workload.

In that respect, what I'm interested in seeing from an author on something like twitter is a sense of the day-to-day, the little details. What daily schedule do you follow? How busy are you? How much time do you devote to writing, as compared to other responsibilities? What sites do you browse and what links have you found? I think it's like a chance to gawk at another person's life without actually seeing anything intimate.

Of course it depends whether you feel like posting or updating via app as you go about your day. I've been following Neil Gaiman's Coraline tour, which has been very interesting, and he tweets a lot every day.

Anonymous said...

This is a timely topic for me because my blogging network is discussing ways to support and promote each other and social networking came up.

But time is a factor. My fiction has suffered because of the blogging now that I am a contributor on a grog and I really don't like Twitter. It's seems like pressure to be entertaining or engaging multiple times a day when in addition to writing there is family, home, errands and husband.

JA Konrath is constantly going on about the need to self-promote and keep in touch with readers and potential readers, so I am really torn.

Larramie said...

As a reader, I'd rather have quality comments from a writer as opposed to a random tweet.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with you on some level, however I also think that social media is really booming right now and will only increase going forward. This includes blogging. In fact, I read an article the other day about hot job skills for 2008 that showed how demand for blogging skills has increased by 4 times what it was the previous year. In this economy, that's impressive and shows the value that people, and businesses, are putting on social media right now.

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

I think Twitter is good if you want to get some info out fast to a group of people you think will find the info interesting. I wouldn't follow thousands. When I see people with 13,000 following, I'm like, what's the point--their tweets are lost in the shuffle. Stick with a small group of who you want to connect with. I like it just for quick announcements on recent articles or news that has been published, and a quick scroll-through gives me newsworthy info fast!

How's the writing coming along!? said...

I wonder if you can spend so much time investing in social networking that you lose time with family, friends, and the quiet time needed for writing?

Sher Matsen said...

I agree with the last post. When are we so involved with social networking that the most important things in life are forgotten.

Then again they are an amazing marketing tool. Like with everything I guess it's all about balance.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a book to promote, but I have been trying to promote my new travel blog, So far I have found Facebook very useful in the sense that you can join groups relevant to whatever you're promoting and then write on the walls. As long as it's helpful/interesting, people don't seem to mind (and seem to click on the links I provide). But I haven't gotten all networking-y in the sense that I don't friend people i don't know, etc.

I'm intrigued that some of you have seen success with twitter. It sound like that to have any success there you have to do a lot of posting and maybe only 10-25% can be promotional.

I have never wanted to get into MySpace -- glad to have missed that craze.

Are there any other sites/tools people are using successfully? I like Reddit, where you submit links. I like Digg less -- seems like for Digg and Delicious you need a following.