Thursday, September 18, 2008

Social Networking

The other day I started working on the next installment of my France travelogue and realized that I have so many good pictures of Carcassonne that I should split my discussion into two posts. One for the city, the castle and its ramparts and another for the Basilica of Saint Nazaire. I have started cropping and resizing the photos, but those posts will have to wait until another day when I have time to chronicle it properly.

Until then, I thought I would bring up a topic about self-promotion and online social networking since it is something I have been involved with recently.

I have seen exhortations by Joe Konrath for writers to have not only websites and blogs, but to also utilize MySpace, Facebook and the like. (By the way, Joe's fabulous blog A Newbie's Guide to Publishing has been turned into a free PDF file with over 750 pages of tips and advice for writing, promotion, and hard won wisdom. Download it here.

Trying to follow literary blogs, write my own blog as well as write my novel has been challenging to find enough time, but I knew there would come a day when I would join one of those social networking sites.

I had gotten repeated invitations from several of my friends to join LinkedIn and Bebo, I had not responded.

Then I read Aaron Sorkin was going to write a movie about Facebook and that he had joined Facebook for research purposes.

I joined that morning. Because, well, I wanted the opportunity to write to Aaron. For those scratching their heads and going "Aaron who?" - he wrote the play and then screenplay for A Few Good Men, The American President, Malice, and Charlie Wilson's War.

However, I first took notice of him with his television series Sports Night. That was such a great series. It was only on for two seasons, but I loved it and own the boxed set of DVDs. If you have never watched SportsNight, rent a disc from Netflix and enjoy. His comic timing is excellent and then there is a depth to his stories that make them rise above his contemporaries.

Sorkin is truly an amazing writer.

And well, I could not pass up the opportunity to write to Aaron. I had been wanting to do so for a few years over a nitpicky thing from an episode of The West Wing that I wanted to write to him about for years, but had never done so because I did not want my letter to become lost in the NBC mailroom.

So I joined Facebook and posted my message to him on his group Aaron Sorkin & the Facebook Movie. He didn't reply to it, but then again my post was more of a statement than a question.

Either way, that was the nudge that made me join Facebook.

I discovered as I joined that I had many email addresses in my Gmail account of Facebook members. I wound up sending out invitations to them and within minutes I had received confirmations from several people to be my friends. Truly the first few people who replied were my friends.

I also started feathering my online nest with interests and joined other groups. I know this could be a major time sink, but I wanted to spend enough time so that it was more than just the bare minimum of a page.

As I accumulated friends I would look to see if I recognized any of their friends and if so, I would send a notice to add them as a friend. Soon I had a few dozen friends on Facebook. Most I know, but there are others whom I really do not know.

Some were undoubtedly email addresses that I culled from positive reviews from my Harry Potter fanfiction. I am hoping those who liked my past writing will be interested in purchasing a book once I have one published. So this is one of my attempts at cultivating a fanbase.

It was fortuitous that I joined Facebook prior to attending the East of Eden Conference for I wound up adding more friends to my profile from those I met and schmoozed with in Salinas.

One aspect that I found interesting about this social networking thing is that some of my writing colleagues who have belonged to Facebook far longer than I, have only a few friends. Some have only a handful or so.

There is a button to suggest friends for others. My ingrained networking instinct kicked in again as I would suggest those who I thought might know each other already, but were unaware that the other one was also a Facebook member.

Just spreading the love.

Then this past weekend after my writers club meeting I was chatting with Ann Wilkes and she strongly suggested that I join LinkedIn as well.

So I did.

I now have quite a few friends on Facebook and contacts on LinkedIn. If you are on either and would like to friend me, my contact name on both sites is Linda C. McCabe. Be sure to use the middle initial C. or you are likely to meet up with other Linda McCabes. One of which is my cousin Al's wife.

I uploaded the same picture from my blog taken by Cindy Pavlinac, so it should be easy to identify me.

I feel like such a newbie about these things and would love to hear people's thoughts or feedback on these and other social networking sites.

Also, does anyone Twitter? Does anyone follow Twitter? If so...why? Just because it is there does that mean that we have to avail ourselves of it?

Linda
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