Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Social network

My Cure for Social Networking Anxiety


There are many reasons to pursue social networking.

There are as many reasons to not pursue it.

One thing I’ve learned is that social networking can induce anxiety

Readers use it to find books.

Writers use it to find readers.

Publishers use it to make money.

I’m a self-published writer who would like to make some money but would, at least, like to have folks read my books.

I’ve been involved in social networking for over ten years and heavily involved for the last year and a half.

I’ve written quite a few posts about it. Here are just a few:

Social Networking and Insanity . . .

Social Media and Authenticity

The Author’s Platform ~ Community of Interest

Selling Your Soul With Social Media

Book Promotion & Social Networking Frenzy ~ Pondering Google+

I’m the last person to tell anyone they should use social networking sparingly or, perhaps, not at all.

I’m the first person to tell everyone that social networking can cause anxiety

It began for me when I started acquiring “friends” on FaceBook. I think I stopped at 1,500. I couldn’t keep up with what they were posting and what they considered important enough to post was, to me, trivial.

Yet, I had a book that would be published and I needed people who knew me and, eventually, my book.

I added the task of acquiring “followers” on Twitter; tried to make the work easier by incorporating my FaceBook stream into an app called TweetDeck–had four columns of mostly trivia pouring down the screen.

Yet, my book was near publication and I needed to attract folks to it

Eventually, because the interest I was generating was less than overwhelming, I stopped using both of them.

That’s when Google Plus became available.

I fooled myself into thinking it would help me more

Then, I discovered an open-source social network called Diaspora.

It only took a couple months for me to experience the same lack of interest and notice the same lack of deep response.

Two things to keep in mind:

* I still feel there are valid and productive reasons to use social networks.

* I know there are some wonderful people on social networks.

Still, my book was published five months ago and sales are still slow.

I should point out that I consider this blog a social networking platform–less obvious, perhaps, yet more capable of in-depth engagement

Please understand, there are a few “passive” things going on, too. Mostly, this blog feeding into GoodReads, Amazon, and a few other spaces.

Then there’s my work as Events Manager on Book Island in the virtual world, Second Life.

EDIT 10/7/13: [I no longer work on Book Island but am still very active in Second Life]

If you’ve never created an avatar for yourself and walked down a street full of shops run by authors, editors, publishers, and artists; never sat your avatar down in a virtual cafe, ordered a cup of espresso, and listened to a poet, then engaged with them in discussion; never stood in front of a group of people from many different countries and shared your written work; never just hung-out on the beach or at the houseboat or up on the mountainside and chatted and laughed with friends; if you’ve never experienced the Reality of a virtual world, you’ll find it hard to understand why Ive made a firm decision to halt my attempts at interaction on the familiar social networks and use that time to visit more places in Second Life, make more real friends, let them discover, naturally, that I have a book they can read, with another to follow

Of course, my new wanderings in Second Life will be mostly as an “ambassador” for Book Island. I work there, I love it, it has value for Readers, Writers, and Publishers, and it has more capability to generate lasting friendships and memorable experiences.

I let the prevailing opinions of the value of common social networks invade my planning, upset my life, and keep me from the activities that can help me find worthwhile interaction without the anxiety of sweating out ineffective attempts to engage in what, to me, has become the most raucous, disrespectful, tiresome, and time-wasting Space on the Internet—FaceBookTwitterGooglePlusDiaspora………

I’m going to shift gears–from overdrive to cruise–settle back and enjoy the ride–right here on this blog and in Second Life :-)

I certainly don’t disrespect anyone who finds value in social networking. There is value there but, very personally, I can’t take what comes with it
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Social Networking and Insanity . . .


Do you care about the people you’re connected with online?

If you answered Yes, how deep is that caring?

I ask because we often need a shock to wake up to realities—to bring us to our senses—to cure us of electronically-induced ills.

Recently, a well-known social networker committed suicide. Those he was connected with thought they knew him………

Certainly, there are cases of folks in non-electronic relationships who shock their friends with actions completely unexpected but I would venture they’re fewer than the shocks from social media “friends”.

Jay Baer recently wrote a blog post, Social Media, Pretend Friends, and the Lie of False Intimacy, in which he talked about that social media suicide.

Jay is a man who proudly displays his book about social media at the top of his blog and says, in his profile, that he’s a “hype-free social media strategy consultant and speaker” and “a digital marketing pioneer”.

Yet, in the blog post linked-to up there, he says: [There is] “…the underlying premise that interacting with more people is inherently better than interacting with fewer people. I have always believed this to be true, and in fact have delivered the lines above in presentations and on this blog. But today, I’m no longer convinced. Instead I wonder, what if we have it ALL wrong?”

A bit later in the post he says: “Maybe we should be focused less on making a lot of connections, and focused more on making a few real friends?”

Ever since I began a push to connect with more people on-line, well before I began to write my recently-published book, I wondered about the quality of the connections.

As I was digesting all the information about “building an author platform”—working to increase my “friends” on FaceBook and my “followers” on Twitter—I struggled with the lack of Relationship in the connections.

I finally dumped FaceBook and Twitter, joined Google Plus. It didn’t take long to feel the struggle against what felt like wasted time.

I’ve most recently joined Diaspora and I’m still struggling

I’m an author (a poor author) with a book to promote in a world that publishes over 2,000 books a day and I need to make connections.

I may eventually dump Google Plus and Diaspora if the Relationship Factor declines much further

I feel more comfortable right here, inside this composition box on WordPress, writing  from my heart and knowing that, of the 50 or so people a day who arrive here, a few of them read what I write and Relate to it.

Naturally, I post teasers with links to my posts on Google Plus and Diaspora—sometimes they spark discussion

In Alcoholics Anonymous there’s a definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting different results.

I’ve tried to do Google Plus and Diaspora differently than FaceBook and Twitter but I’m starting to feel the signal-to-noise ratio is still too low.

Perhaps this blog is my most sane response to making on-line connections, even if I may not know I’m connecting due to the fact that most folks who read a post never comment, even if they liked it

I’m actually finding more meaningful connections in my work as Events Manager on Book Island in the virtual world, Second Life.

Curious how the most “unreal” thing I do gives me the most Real Relationships………
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Too Much Advice Can Be Dangerous


Back in June I wrote the post, Taking Advice ~ Who’s Experience Do You Trust?  I featured advice from Joel Friedlander about publishing success.

I also shared some of my experience in learning how to take advice–basically, weigh it against the giver’s experience.

Regular readers of this blog know I’ve left Facebook and Twitter behind and am utilizing Google Plus as my social media platform. [EDIT: I’ve since dumped Google Plus, too…]

I got a share from Sue Van Fleet yesterday that led to a post from the literary agent Rachelle Gardner, How To Market Your Book.

Lo and Behold, it contains links to 33 blogs posts by writers about marketing and promotion. Whew!!

I’ve already spent over a year reading and digesting advice from more sources than I can remember; but, I will read through all those posts. Even though I know enough from my previous studies that I won’t find much new. Even though most of the advice will be things I can’t or won’t do. Even though much of that advice will contradict itself. Still, I will read them.

Why?

Because, my experience of marketing and promoting my writing is only a little over a year old and I may just find something brilliant that actually fits my situation and temperament :-)
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Social Media and Authenticity


Many might disagree that a blog can be part of the social media landscape. Many blogs aren’t written to fit into that terrain–they’re personal outlets, sales tools, or showcases.

I consider blogging a social endeavor and I’m working to integrate it into my activity on Google Plus.

Certainly, I’ve written my share of (mild) rants that contain no hope of reader response–though they’ve still gotten that response.

Still, most of my posts do want readers to interact; in fact, are written as “incomplete” unless commented on.

Reader comments can spur new posts and often contain information more important than the post they append.

Amy Sundberg has a blog called The Practical Free Spirit and recently wrote the post, Social Media: Do What You Love (or at least like).

If you blog or like to read blogs, you’d be doing yourself a favor to read that post. Let me share a couple nuggets to peak your interest:

“I’ve been hearing a lot in the past year about the craving we as a society have right now for authenticity, to the point that it has become something of a buzz word among certain circles. But jargon or no, I think it’s relevant to the conversation. We can tell when someone cares deeply about what they’re saying or doing, and their authenticity draws us in.

“We can talk about how much we love blogging all we want, but it is our actions that show whether we’re being genuine. Do we post regularly or do we tend to find excuses to avoid it? Do we write about subjects that we obviously care deeply about? Do we engage in the comment section with thoughtful discussion? Do we approach the writing of a blog post as though it is one of the most important things we could be doing right now?”

Do read the rest, leave Amy some feedback, then come back here and tell me how I can improve your experience of this blog :-)
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My New Social Network . . .


One week ago I was pondering Google+, a new way of doing social networking, in the post, Book Promotion & Social Networking Frenzy ~ Pondering Google+.

A few hours after I published that post, my blogging-buddy, Lindsay Buroker, sent me an invite for Google+ :-)

I gave a couple introductory links about G+ in last week’s post and I’ve been reading all the articles I can on what folks think and what it means in the Web’s social landscape and how to do things inside it.

That last part generated the best news I can offer, being only a week old as a G+ user–it’s not hard to get used to it :-)

All I had last week was a bad taste in my mouth from Facebook and Twitter and the hope that G+ would come through and create another dimension for my book promotion activities.

At the one week mark, I’m extremely satisfied with the Google+ experience and can see many ways to use it to broaden my connection with folks I already know and those I’ve wished I could know.

As far as finding people to follow, check out this G+ Directory; and do notice the links on the left side to narrow down your search

I also found 40 Google Plus Tips for Newbies.

And, for all you Readers, Writers, and Publishers, there’s literary/book people lists on Google+.

If you’d like to try Google+, I still have a few invites left to hand out–send me an email at amzolt@gmail.com and hope I still have one left for you :-)

G+ is still in what they’re calling the “field test” stage but, heck, if it’s as good as it is right now, I can imagine it can only get way better!!

And, if you want to check out a bit of the insides of Google+ before committing to try it, use this G+ Search tool

Does Google+ intrigue you?

Are you going to try it??

Have you already gotten in???
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