Marketing, Novel, Promotion, Real Life, Social Media, Writing

A whole lot of networking … too little socializing!

It doesn’t take much to find a friend nowadays. One mouse click and you’re someone’s Friend. Or not. One mouse click and you’re in someone’s Circle of trust. Or not. One mouse click and you’re Following someone like a devoted puppy. Or not.

“Social” networking is mostly illusion. Have you ever taken a pre-schooler to the park and noticed that after five minutes of play with a child they’ve never seen before, they refer to that child as “my friend”? Yeah, social networking is like that. Cute, isn’t it?

If you’re a writer and read many industry blogs, you’re probably familiar with the use-social-media-to-build-your-platform message. I’d already started blogging when I first read that, but I took their advice to heart and joined Twitter. The advice said that I needed to have at least 1,000 followers before my book release date.

So, for the last two years, I’ve spent a lot of time on Twitter, which is why I’m focusing on that today. Yes, I tweet links to all my blog posts and, more recently, some book promotion, but I also retweet at least three times as many links by others as well as RTing their quotes, witticisms, and announcements. I try to have fun. I try to start or join in conversations. Months ago, I hit 1,000 followers and kept going.

I’m now at the point where I can avoid Twitter for a week and still gain 20-30 new followers. It has nothing to do with my brilliant skills at tweeting. It has nothing to do with me at all. I expect at least half those people immediately punt me to a list they never check. They aren’t interested in seeing any of my tweets … in interacting with me at all. I’m just a number they hope will follow them back and increase their counts—and, of course, read their brilliant tweets and buy their products. That’s social networking for you.

Until recently, tweeting links to my blog posts always generated a fair amount of blog hits, but even so, I have a feeling most of those hits were from people who read my posts anyway. The biz blogs led me to believe being on Twitter would be a big help to book sales, but I question that now. I can’t track all sales, of course, so I could be wrong. Still I wonder if the effort put forth on Twitter equals the benefit gained. (I could write a whole post on this, and I may, but for now, back to the social side.)

In my experience, except for blogging, there’s very little socializing in social media. No matter how many new followers I gain, interaction seems to come only from the same small group. “Coincidently” that group contains the same few who interact with me here on this blog—most of them since the early days. And most of those, I’ve also corresponded with by email. We might have even shared a thing or two about our non-writing lives. If they lived near me, I’d invite them over for lunch. Friends.

I’m open to new friendships, of course, I just won’t be as naïve as a four-year-old in recognizing them. I’m extremely thankful for those I do call friends. That’s why I’m rethinking how much of my time and energy I devote to my social networking “friends.” I think I’ve been short-changing my real friends—and that’s just not nice.

38 thoughts on “A whole lot of networking … too little socializing!”

  1. I’m hardly ever on twitter, but it seems those I interact with are people I already knew through blogging. I just don’t seem to have much interest in it, and often feel like I’m sitting on the sidelines while eveyone else is playing..Perhaps that will change in time. If I give it time. I quite like facebook although many of those people are people who knew me before I ever started a blog.

    I.

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    1. Sitting on the sidelines is exactly how I felt the first year on Twitter, Laura. Then I started speaking up more, but usually I was just talking to myself because no one responded. So the second year I tried looking at others tweets as if they were directed to me and I responded, but only a few times has that lead to any sort of real connection. I don’t know. Maybe everyone on Twitter is mostly talking to themselves. 😉

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  2. Well said Linda. I’ve never been 100 percent comfortable with all this social media, but I read, that if you were a writer, you were meant to do this, and that, etc.
    In the end, I’ve gotten bored with most of it.

    I still read blogs, and make comments, and I still have Twitter and Facebook, but I find I only communicate with a small group of people, who were around my first Here Be Dragons blog.

    Via Twitter, I have know one person virtually, who I want to meet up sometime in 2012 as she is in Austin Texas, for I am grateful for finding her via Twitter but I think this Social Media thing is just a fad, and like all fads, they fade away or evolve into something else.

    Think blogging is here to stay, but who knows about FB or Twitter. Now there’s Google + and who knows…remember Myspace? That’s dying & who knows…maybe one day Twitter and FB will go the same way, replaced by something else…meh

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    1. Yep, we writers have to get our names out there, Alannah. Only thing is, we need to get our names out to readers, but I think those are hard to find on Twitter. Right now, I like Google+, but maybe that’s just because I don’t expect anything from it but a way to connect with my “tribe” as Nina (below) calls it.

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  3. Hi Linda, this post really resonated. I wrote myself last night (before I read your comment on Christi’s) and you’ll see I’m struggling with the social media stuff. I’m “good at Twitter” and I like to give people advice on it. But I’m still not 100% that the gains are worth efforts all the time. I’m for sure on social media overload and way behind on my REAL goals (not to mention two months away from my due date with baby #4.) Anyway, what you said here makes sense . . . the idea that we sort of develop “tribes” on Twitter on on our blogs. Yet, had I not seen Chrisit’s tweet about her post, then your comment, I would not have found your blog. So through Twitter I manage to “meet” new people too.

    I don’t know . . . I’m going to experiment with how much I can stay away and still feel the same benefit. Because I do love it! Wish I didn’t. It’s the best procrastination too ever. And therefore the worst.

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    1. Nina, thank you for taking the time to comment here and at Christi’s blog. Real goals, like writing??? Yeah, I hear you on that one. It’s too easy to waste time on Twitter. I’m managing well on my time spent blogging, and I never spend much on FB or Google+, but Twitter just sucks down my time. That’s why I have to question its payback.

      It’s true, our reach expands through our tribes. That’s why I try to RT my friends’ posts, especially links to their blogs or books. I’m not going to quit Twitter, just scale back. (See you there.) And, of course, I can still tweet my friends’ blog posts without going on to Twitter.

      I have four children too, though they’re long past baby stage. Good luck with managing your time and getting your novel written. 🙂

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