Thursday, October 2, 2014

Face Time

I’m on Facebook. A lot, perhaps too much on days I choose to procrastinate. I am careful who I friend, but my profile is public. Anyone can read my posts and comment on them. I keep controversy to a minimum, though I do love this planet and its inhabitants and wish I could save them both.

I read through posts on my stream as I sip morning tea, opening up articles I want to read on new tabs. I connect mostly with other writers, book lovers, favorite publications, writing related FB groups, a few television shows, organizations I have an interest in, and George Takei who can always be counted on for a good laugh. Facebook is useful that way: my own personalized morning magazine.

I share my blog posts, all Blood Red Pencil posts, and other blog posts I find informative. Many times these posts go without likes or shares. I have no idea if anyone has viewed them.

I admit my page is where forwarding schemes and chain letters go to die. I don’t want to know about your pretend farm animals or game scores. If the words “I bet you won’t” appear, I don’t. I do make a point of liking or commenting, sometimes sharing, friends’ posts as I go through. I’m not a stalker. I’m staying engaged with you. If I don’t, you’ll fall off my feed.

Facebook keeps changing its algorithm. Currently, they have decided that we must see what is “trending,” i.e. topics that are being liked and shared the most. So I like and share a lot.

The key to successful Facebook networking is participation.

1. Paying to promote is no guarantee that more people will see your post. There is no way to tell if it is successful unless people take the time to like, comment, or share.

2. Having an author page is no guarantee that people will see your posts. I don’t see your author page in my daily feed unless you are Anne Rice. I do see your profile page if we interact. If we aren't "friends" I cannot "tag" you when I brag about your books. Author pages don't work that way.

3. Though there are friend limits on your profile page, if your profile is public, anyone can read it, follow it, share your posts, and interact with you.

4. Unless you interact with people by liking and commenting on their posts, you drop from their daily feeds. If they never interact with you, they drop from your feed.

5. There are lots of groups on Facebook including MWA, historical writers, romance writers, thriller writers, SCBWI, etc. I belong to several. You will meet writers, bloggers, editors, and readers in that genre. My “to be read” pile is toppling with the books of authors I've discovered through groups. Interacting with groups gets your name out there and is a free way to promote your book. Not from obsessive “buy my book" posts, but through becoming a familiar "face," one they associate with "likes" and comments and sharing of useful information.

6. If your reason for not “liking” or commenting is because you don’t want to be bombarded with e-mails, you can selectively turn e-mail notifications off under your settings tab. You will still have the notifications section on Facebook itself to see what is new when you visit your news feed.

7. Facebook can be a great place for gathering a virtual literary salon/water cooler. Where else can you connect with so many of your favorite authors, learn about new ones, read articles to improve your craft, and make connections that can further your career while still in your jammies? It can be a book-lover/introvert’s paradise.

8. If you are a writer, you might consider having a separate profile that you limit to pages and people involved in the craft: writers, bloggers, editors, agents, fan groups, fans, reading groups, and genre-oriented promotion/information groups. This allows you to make your personal profile private and your professional profile public to gain more exposure for your work.

9. Prune it to control it. If you are seeing posts you don't want from people you don't want - cut them. It may be painful but necessary.

10. People never visit your personal or author page other than to decide if they want to friend you. They read what appears in their daily feed. If you aren't interacting, you are missing an opportunity.

It only takes one second to “like” someone’s post, comment, or share. Doing so frequently puts your name in front of other people, so that when you have something to promote, they are more likely to pay attention, perhaps share your information or promote your work. 

 Are you a participant or a spectator?




Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit DianaHurwitz.com for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

19 comments :

  1. We seem to use FB in similar ways, Diana. We have 50 mutual friends, so I've sent you a friend request (I won't be offended if you ignore it). But as we share a good deal of 'writing' and 'reading' information, it might make sense to be connected. As always, with The Blood Red Pencil, I'll be mentioning this post on Twitter and FB. Spread the word, help readers to become aware. Every little helps. Thanks for an informative and informed post.

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    1. I share our BRP posts on FB, Twitter, Linked-In, Google Plus and some FB groups that allow that sort of thing. I admit I don't spend much time on Twitter or LI. I have never mastered the hashtag. :)

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    2. I've made only small inroads into the world of the #tag. But it does seem to increase the RTs, so it's worth the effort, I think.

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    3. By the way, I hate Twitter. I do it, but I hate it. It seems like preaching to the choir. Yes, I know, writers are readers, but it's too time consuming and not really interesting. I have a friend who has 50K followers and does well with her books. She contributes it all to Twitter. I contribute her success to cute cozies with cute covers that people like to read. Getting to that many followers is more time than I care to invest. She loves Twitter, so it works for her.

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    4. I get new followers everyday, so I think by posting my blog weekly and the BRP blog daily I am gaining some traction. I keep forgetting to add hash tags. I need to make it a habit.

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    5. I see I'm following you on Twitter, Polly. If you want to follow back (I RT quite a lot) you'll find me here: https://twitter.com/stuartaken
      #tags are very good at gaining RTs, so worth a little effort. And it often works to follow someone who RTs you - they will often follow back. The more followers, the wider the circle of people you reach. As long as you restrict yourself to a certain amount of time each day, you should find it doesn't become too onerous. And, if you use a free system like Hootsuite you gain a lot of useful tools that enable you to make your tweets even more shareable.

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    6. I am now following you on Twitter. :) Mine is @Diana_Hurwitz

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  2. I LOVE Facebook, for all the same reasons you do, Diana. I spend too much time on it though, but I've made lots of friends. Stuart, I just invited you to be my friend.

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    1. An invitation I've happily accepted. Thank you, Polly.

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  3. Don't get me started on FAZEBOOK ... yeah, I'm socially-media awkward, but I cannot figure out who is talking to whom about what ... very confusing to moi.

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    1. I enjoy the "conversations" I have on Facebook. Some posts start quite the dialogue. Twitter feels like coded messages passed around a classroom.

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  4. Hi Diana, I just asked to Friend you on FB and started following you on Twitter. Thanks for this post. I've blogged about using Twitter. Some of the readers here might be interested. Twitter is hard but once you get used to it, it's not so bad. You do need a scheduling service. I use BufferApp. Anyone interested in knowing more, friend me and send me a message.

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    1. I need to become a better twitterer. :)

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  5. I have an author page and a profile page. I have no idea who gets what or how, but at least my author page shows me the stats of who's seeing my posts there. I tend to have more 'writing-related' stuff on my author page, but I think the best way to get any traction at all on either a page or a profile is by sharing. My author co-op tries to do that, and, as one member said, 'Sharing is Liking on steroids.' I'm closing in on my limit of friends, but I'm happy to accept anyone who requests that connection. However, I'll send you a message (I won't post on your wall) and ask you to like my author page, because that's where we have fun. That's where I'll ask you for character names, or play the 'word of the day' game, or show snippets from the WIP. I'm at http://facebook.com/AuthorTerryOdell

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    1. I also use the FB author page, and share as much writing based info as possible on there. I'm at https://www.facebook.com/StuartAken You and I, Terry, have been connected for a while.

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  6. Participant or spectator? Actually, I am both. It has taken quite a while to begin participating--and it was initially limited to those I actually know--but that's changing. An introvert's journey toward extrovert activity comes slowly and with some trepidation. However, it's often worth the effort when I get a positive response to a comment made on a stranger's post, rather like a wall flower coming out of the corner and finding herself in a vase on the center table. Now can wall flowers learn to tweet? We'll see.

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    1. It's amazing the support and new information that can come from comments on blogs such as these. I know I've learned a lot by participating. Definitely worth the effort.

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  7. What a wonderful post, Diana; chock-a-block full of helpful hints! I do have an Author Page, but I've considered switching it to a different profile. The lack of control over who sees the posts is massively annoying. And hey, I'm on Twitter too at @elspethwrites.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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