Musings, Real Life, Social Media

The good ol’ days of communication

Don’t get me wrong, I take as much advantage of communication technology as I can. I email. I text. I blog. I juggle as many social media accounts as possible. But how often do I really talk to anyone?

I know. I know. Yes, this is another post bemoaning my mixed feelings on social media. Sorry, but I’m trying to work something out. I love that line in a current commercial where the man says, “Fiber makes me sad.” Well, I think social media makes me sad.

Recently, when I had to sort through all the accumulated email after being pretty much offline for over a week, I realized that the ratio of personal emails to “business” was about 199 to 1. How did that happen? I used to have real friends. We kept in touch. We used to actually converse by email. Before that, we wrote letters. By hand. On paper.

Now, my “friends” and I wave at each other on Facebook … if even that. I see their photos. I know what games they play. What trips they take. I read the funny things their children, or grandchildren, say or do. I might even know what they had for dinner. All that deceives me into thinking we’re in touch.

The reality is people don’t pour out their hearts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or even their blogs, as a rule. I had penpals way back in the dark ages … er … the 80s. We corresponded via twelve … fifteen … twenty page letters! Some of those women became true, if long-distance, friends. Two of them are among those I wave at on Facebook. The others have fallen by the wayside.

How did I get to be this friendless person with a thousand acquaintances? Really, that should make me sad. Truly sad. I need to do something about that.

I wish for you an abundance of real friends … and if you have them, don’t just “wave” at them.

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.

Fun Fridays, Life, Memory, Real Life, Writing

A little fun on my blog … for me, at least

In the early days of this blog, I would occasionally declare it a Fun Friday. Sometimes I would kick off a weekend party, which amounted to silliness befitting the bunch of fiction writers who used to hang out here.

No party this weekend, but neither am I throwing out a serious writing topic or asking a heavy question. I’ve been thinking of two previous “incarnations” of me. My recent contact with two old friends brought back these memories.

One of these friends, I met in third grade. She was my best friend for many years after that. We drifted apart, after high school, seeing each other a couple of times during our young-mother years, and then we lost contact. We reunited at a childhood friend’s 50th birthday party. Then a few years ago, I had started beading jewelry and found out through email that she had already been through that phase and was selling off her supplies. She gave me an excellent deal on some silver components. So, for a while, before I started writing seriously, I worked daily on things like this:

The other me came before the jewelry maker me. From the time my two youngest sons were teens until I became a grandmother for the first time I sort of reversed time and became a “rocker chick”. (Don’t judge.) The second old friend was part of that life … though neither of us thought of ourselves as old then! I went to concerts and collected rock memorabilia and found that rock fans would pay decent money (or trade collectibles) for portraits of their idols. So, for a while I worked daily on things like this:

Now, I’ve grown old up and you all know what I work daily on.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]

Reflections, Writing

A Tapestry of Writers

When I started blogging, I knew only two other writers who blogged, then I coerced a third to join in. After a short while, I got the hunger for more writers’ blogs to read.

If WordPress bloggers use tags on their posts, they are sorted into categories viewable at the main “dashboard.” As soon as I published my measly posts, I’d go to WordPress.com and see if mine was visible. While there, other bloggers’ posts caught my eye and I would visit and comment. Usually, they reciprocated.

Because half the party is in the comments, I would read theirs and sometimes click to visit the author of an interesting comment and probably leave a comment on their blog too. Those who came to my blog did the same. So, my blog friends became your blog friends became her blog friends became his … and so, the weaving began. Now, we’ve created a tapestry of writers.

That’s a beautiful thing, don’t you think?

[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]

Musings

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Or, to be more accurate, where have all my blogger friends gone? Not so long ago, I had a hard time keeping up with my favorite blogs. But now, except for Judy and Karen who usually post every other day, sometimes I feel like I’ve drifted into that Twilight Zone where all humanity has vanished, but I’m just now finding out.

abandoned

The dark part of my mind always suspects the worst—or at least swine flu. I know one blogger friend closed down completely. Another is preoccupied with upheavals at work. I miss their posts. And I’m a little anxious about the rest of you. Of course, it’s entirely possible, since most of you are writers, that you’re too busy with your novels, poems, and stories to write a blog post. That’s good. Write on.

Or maybe it’s true, blogging is passé. But I haven’t been trendy for ages, so what do I care? Anyway, I prefer to think of myself as part of a select group. Though I would think that if any group would see the value in blogging, it would be writers. I mean, duh.

So I’ll just keep scrolling through my blog reader index looking for bolded blog names and anticipating your next fascinating posts. Come baaack! I’m so very lonely. [sniff]

 

Update: I now realize that I had forgotten to subscribe to a few new friends’ blogs [me smacking forehead] and some of you were posting, I just didn’t know!

 

Photo credit: StephenPaul