In 2009 I attended a writers’ conference in Washington, DC which opened my eyes to the advantages and disadvantages of social networking. Now, my kids have been users of Facebook and MySpace for years and have enjoyed being able to share thoughts, photos and music with their friends. I had always viewed these social networking sites as being mainly for these young folks to maintain friendships and had never actually thought of them as sources of networking for work.
In setting up my Facebook site, I was still wary of putting myself out there on the internet. As I have said in an earlier post, it is hard to leave a permanent footprint online when I have always been such a private person. But in order to become a writer…to become a published author…I wanted to learn from experienced writers and to share thoughts and ideas with others who hoped to become published. My Facebook friends began to multiply, and I have to say today some of these people are dear friends…even though I have yet to meet most of them.
Social networking in the age of computers, Twitter, emails and texting has become part of the norm. Not only do almost all people in all walks of life do it…but it is incredibly helpful. Do you need to know about a specific part of the world? Most likely one of your friends has been there or perhaps you actually have cyber-friends in that area. Are you curious about the path to publication, the ways royalties work? Many of the published authors and even agents and publishing houses are there to answer your questions. Perhaps you will get some helpful information or a simple “How was your day?” from your favorite author.
One of the pitfalls of social networking, at least for me, is the time that should be allowed for the maintenance of a page on such a site. First of all, you must keep it up to date….don’t allow months to go by without updating your status. You also should keep up your friendships that are acquired online…if I make a friend then I feel that I should make attempts to maintain that friendship. I have often been caught in that vise of being almost addicted to my site…did someone write me? did they see my latest status or answer my messages? shouldn’t I check my site just one more time?
As I become more comfortable with myself as a writer and as an Internet participant, I have discovered myself setting limits on my time spent “talking” to my colleagues and friends online or blogging on here. I check my online status and pages a couple of times each day, then usually in the evening. As in this blog, if a thought comes to me to ramble about…then I blog. If I hit a writer’s block…and that is a total possibility from time to time; I stop to take a break from writing and may or may not look at posts on Facebook or comments on this blog.
I am thankful for learning about Facebook and about blogging, albeit several years after anyone else. It has given me great friends, wonderful advisors and potential readers. I just need to remember to spend the majority of my time on my computer doing what I do best….working with my writing.
Thanks for being Internet friends,