Friday, April 16, 2010

On Social Networks

I am not afraid of the technological age. I don't feel that I can afford to be. If a writer wants to be successful in today's age I feel that one must be knowledgeable about technology. For the up-and coming generation (those of us under 40 years) technology has grown with us. We have no excuses. Computers invaded our work environment and proved a typing standard for academic papers. We are more familiar with the medium than any other generation, and rightly we should be. While I pour over blogs relating to e-books and e-reading devices, this is only a segment of the new era.

Many of us are versed in using social networks and gmail (with all its fancy bonus features) for our social lives, we need to adjust these behaviors into the professional sphere. We can garner attention for our writing by joining groups and actively participating in forums and commenting on blogs. Reaching out to others enables us to find markets to publish short stories, learn about contests and generally grants us the benefit of others' knowledge. Connections are important, and right now it is easier than ever to network.

Also, it should be easier to find the knowledge to help us get published. Writers need only find the right groups, online or offline, whose members have access to the needed information. Functioning as network hubs, groups can provide services to their members.

But active participation in social networks is required to achieve this. I am slowly doing this myself, as well as participating in forums and blog-reading/commenting. This is part of the difference from the romantic notion of what a writer *is* and what sort of work it actually takes.

The research is not only "who sells what" & "who represents what," but also "where can I connect with others?" & "how can I enter the conversation?" After picking your modes of communication, it becomes about learning how to do it well. Social networking may be the least time consuming of options. There aren't a million forums to sort through, on Facebook. There are discussions on the pages you participate in, and you can read the comments and post your own. The organization is much more convenient than most of the forums that I have signed into. Further, when someone replies it can be e-mailed to you.


I don't think of the "Notes" section of Facebook is blog-worthy. The font is ugly. While it may be bearable in short posts, lists, or some such use, it is hard on the eyes in extensive passages. This is why I post links. Come see us on Blogger, where I have control of the presentation of the posts and entire blog!

If you join a group, participate in the discussions and check in on the page. Not only is it advantageous to your career, but you help the group with every post you make. Traffic and visibility go hand in hand on the internet. If you enjoy belonging to a group, help that group be successful by engaging online. Leaving the discussion boards hanging, and not replying to messages or topics serves to make the site less visible and engaging to those who might come across it and be interested in joining.

Posting sensitive info on your FB page. If you have religious or intellectual bias' and are using your Facebook page to connect professionally, be cautious of your content or maintain two pages. With two pages you could maintain a public profile and private profile. What you run on your private is your business, but with a more public profile it is easier to connect with other writers.

Still, we are connected. This connection will only intensify as the net of technology grabs the world and tightens. This isn't something to resist, because in resisting people will always be left behind. Success depends on not being left behind, but rising to the top. Ideally, there will be a bunch of us who do, who succeed and give the readers fresh new material to feed their eyes on.


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