How do you use Facebook? And is it effective?

Thoughts about social media have been rumbling through my head lately. How much is necessary? Which ones are most effective? Do we do them just because we’re told we should? There’s a list now of what? Like 50?

Here’s Sierra Godfrey and a bit about what she thinks.

But of all the social media outlets I use, Facebook has been the most troubling.

Facebook’s main problems, in my opinion, are two things: privacy and accounts. Facebook forces anyone who wants to have a public face (by public I mean published author, celebrity, or anyone else in the public, accessible domain) and still interact with people on a personal level to have Fan pages, which are clunky to use and administrate. Worse, if you want to interact with a certain set of people, like say colleagues and coworkers, and also keep a separate set of people like your drinking buddies, you can’t.

Facebook will probably be the first to tell you that they aren’t built for people with public and private lives–like authors–and yet authors and businesses use it. They have to. Well, MySpace certainly isn’t doing anyone any favors! It’s against Facebook’s user policy to have two accounts, so you can’t even try to keep separate circles through accounts. It’s a huge failing in my opinion, and why I no longer use Facebook for my writing social media.

Recently I read this article by Andrew Keen about Facebook’s “creepy” mode of revenue, which consists of sharing our personal data to advertisers. Keen argues passionately that “the impact of Facebook on our privacy is deeply worrying…Many other people are now worrying about Facebook’s cult of radical transparency and its willful disregard for privacy.”

Later, she goes on to say:

This is certainly something to think about–and if I’m honest, it’s been simmering at the back of my mind for some time. It’s why I refuse to “allow” any apps to access my private information for any reason on Facebook, ever. It’s why I no longer use  Facebook as part of my public online footprint–Sierra Godfrey the writer. It just doesn’t afford me the kind of inner and outer sharing I’d prefer. For my private use of Facebook, I don’t engage in any apps that access my info, and I have delisted myself from public view. But is Facebook ever really private?

Read the full article at her blog.

How do you use Facebook? It seems if you want be an author on FB then you have to let it all hang out. No privacy. Or do fan pages solve that problem?

How effective are FB fan pages?

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40 Responses to How do you use Facebook? And is it effective?

  1. Kris February 8, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    I do have an author account. I usually share articles of interest that are too long for twitter, but that I don’t want to blog about. It’s linked to my twitter…and my blog.

    It doesn’t add a ton of time to my social media time.

    Not sure if I’m using it in the best way–but it seems to work for now. I’m not promoting anything in particular–yet–but it’s building a network. I guess. Curious to see how everyone else is using it.

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      I don’t use it to build a network either. If people find me great. Once I have an author page I might make it a little more known that I have my FB page. and I barely say anything though I do try and respond.

      I love that it’s personal and I have my face to face friends on there from high school and college. I can’t imagine they want an invasion from the writing world.

      • Kris February 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

        That said, though, I do post stuff about my books on my FB personal page. I figure that my friends don’t mind hearing about my career success. After all, people post a lot of ridiculous stuff… 🙂

  2. Natalie Aguirre February 8, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    I do post personal things on it and link to all my blog posts. I haven’t been able to get on it as much lately because of my busy blog, work, and my daughter’s swim.

    But I do connect with a lot of authors that way in a quick way. And I think for kids, it’s one of the best ways to connect with them. Because they are all on it and not that many go to blogs, websites or are on Twitter.

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      Good point, Natalie. Though I would think an author would have to have some kind of reknown for readers/teens to reach out to them.

  3. Jessica Bell February 8, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    I don’t feel this way about facebook. It has been wonderful for me. And honestly, the privacy thing is just a personal preference. The WORLD knows what we’re up to from all the things we purchase online and with credit cards etc. I think facebook is safer than purchasing things electronically. And if you don’t want the world to know something about you. Just don’t post it! Simple. I think so.

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      It does simple, doesn’t it? So far I haven’t had a problem with the privacy. But I probably have mine on stricter controls than some. Still deciding how separate I want to keep it.

  4. Louise February 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    I only use FB for personal use. Twitter and my blog (and Goodreads!) are for my public face. I’m not a huge fan of “liking” pages on FB anyway, so for me, trying to keep a public profile is a waste of time. FB is for posting pictures of my littles for the family so I don’t have to spend hours sending emails to everyone every month – Twitter and my blog are for building relationships with people as an author.

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      I totally get that! Do you keep your photos private to just family and friends?

      • Louise February 8, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

        Yes – and I also try to keep my friends list very small, or as small as it can be considering my enormous family, many of whom would consider it grounds for a feud to be un-friended. I am pretty lackadaisical about my own privacy, but am definitely Mama Bear when it comes to keeping my littles’ privacy protected!

  5. Matthew MacNish February 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Uh oh. I have two accounts. I had no idea that was against their EULA. Hopefully being published under a pen name makes a difference, but it probably doesn’t.

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      I would think that’s okay. Not sure.

  6. Stina Lindenblatt February 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    I have an account which my blog is linked to, but the only thing I use it for is to communicate with members of private groups. People friend me all the time. They don’t realized I’m not actually using the account like everyone else.

    I spend a lot of time blogging, and I tweet too (not as much as I should). If I want to write, I can’t do everything, so for now, FB gets no love from me. That will change, no doubt, if I’m ever published. But everything on my posts will relate to me the author, not me the person behind the author (the private stuff).

  7. Laura February 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Sadly, FB doesn’t get a lot of love from me either. That’s what I’m evaluating right now. How to be most effective with the least amount of time. And what platforms are worth the effort.

  8. Jessica Brockmole February 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    I’ve connected with more writers via Facebook than any other social media outlet. I feel I’m able to get to know them better on Facebook, through links that they post and the discussion that follows with their other writer friends, than I do on something so rapid like Twitter. That said, I don’t accept friend requests from just anyone. But if it is a writer I’ve interacted with on Facebook through a discussion or a writer who has mutual friends, I’m comfortable with that.

    You can organize your friends into controlled groups on Facebook. I have groups for family, friends, and writers, and, when I post something, I can limit it to one of those groups if I think it won’t be interesting or relevant to the others. I tend to not do that often, as I don’t get overly personal on Facebook anyhow, but I like having that option. On Twitter, I’m very careful about what I say, knowing that absolutely anyone can read it without my knowledge, but Facebook is limited to those I allow to see my updates and shares.

    Now I haven’t yet gotten to the fan page point in my life, so I can’t comment on that. But I really do like them from a reader’s perspective. I have “fanned” authors and I enjoy the ways that they interact via Facebook.

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

      Thanks for sharing. I think I’ll need to go on and make those lists to separate the writing community from my family and friends. though I liked mentioning good books that their kids might like! they appreciate that.

  9. Anna Staniszewski February 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I’ve been a little unsure of how to use FB, too. For a while it was just for people I knew in real life, but that’s been changing. I still think of it as being much more personal than Twitter, for example, but I’m careful of not posting anything too private.

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

      I think I’m the same way. I’d like to find a way to use it that is doable for me but still fun for everyone. Not boring. Not spammy. Just me. But not too much of me. I’m still thinking…

  10. Jill Kemerer February 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Over the last year I did not use Facebook much, but lately, I’ve been enjoying it again. I’ve always been careful about what information I allow up there, so I’m not overly concerned with privacy.

    I have a page and a regular account. Wherever I can connect with people, I’m happy. 🙂

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

      That sounds like a good plan, Jill.

  11. Ava Jae February 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    I use a FB fan page, but I use it mostly just to share my blog posts and make occasional comments. It certainly isn’t my top social media site, nor do I pretend that it is, but it’s useful at least for a little extra sharing.

  12. Ansha Kotyk February 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    I have a FB profile under my pen name so my personal life is completely separate. If FB has a problem with my two personas then I’d ditch the pen name identity and just manage a fan page. I think the major benefit I’m hearing is about FB’s ads. They’re cheap and if you’re good at targeting your audience you can see an uptick in sales. I plan to try an FB ad when I pub.
    Not sure if I’d really hang out on FB to promo…

  13. Patti February 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    I have a writer friend who only uses facebook to market to friends and readers. It seems to work for her. I have two accounts, but I don’t use my writer account as much as I probably should.

    I do think it’s a quick way to reach readers, because teenagers are on facebook all the time, at least mine are. They don’t go to twitter or to blogs nearly as much.

    But like all marketing, you have to choose what works best for you and what you feel most comfortable with.

  14. Laura Josephsen February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    I use facebook, but mostly to keep in touch with friends and family. Blogger is my main go-to for “writer social networking.”

  15. Stacy February 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    I have been trying to figure out how to use FB for my writing for a while. I originally integrated my personal and writing account, and then got an author page because I was told that’s what I was supposed to do. But like the author above said, it is clunky and I don’t like asking people to ‘like’ it.

    I’ve also been wondering about places like Goodreads and Book Blog. There are so many places people say you should be, and it’s hard to figure out what words the best.

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      I think we just have to pick and choose and go with what we enjoy!

  16. Stacy Henrie February 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing this.

  17. Karen Strong February 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    I’m one of the few people who don’t have a FB account. I doubt that I will ever get one. Maybe an author fan page?

    I guess since I work with public data records and know deep the rabbit hole goes with deep web data and web analytics, it just makes me sort of queasy.

    However I do have a Twitter account and honestly that’s can be just as bad as far as privacy. I cringe sometimes when I see certain tweets.

  18. Laura Marcella February 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    I have FB for only the family and friends I know. When I’m published one day I’m sure I’ll make a fan page. I don’t really see the big deal. If you have a blog or website, your info is out there. If you’re published, your info is out there. If you use the internet for anything at all, your info is out there. The only way to truly remain private is to be a recluse like J.D. Salinger. He’s proof that if your story is good enough, you can still sell books and be popular without engaging much with the outside world! But I doubt most modern writers are going to take that route.

    As a reader, I like to see that an author has a website. Twitter and blogs and FB are great, though, because they’re fun bonuses to connect with fans. But I don’t care if an author has those or not.

    • Laura February 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

      So we just have to accept the privacy thing and move on – is that what you’re saying? It seems to be coming to that point.

  19. Sherrie Petersen February 9, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    This is a huge part of why I quit Facebook. I originally went on there to look up friends from high school and college. But then people who knew me through blogging wanted to friend me on there and there wasn’t a way to have a “public” face and a “private” face. Photos that I’d marked for only certain people to see were visible to the world and it made me uncomfortable so I quit. I also don’t like that Facebook owns whatever information you put up there. Not cool, in my opinion.

    • Laura February 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      I understand. And all those movies that show the govt. taking over in the future and knowing everything about us doesn’t help!

  20. Lydia K February 9, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    I do not have an author page on FB and not sure if I will. It does seem clunky and not good for conversing…will have to think more about it.Great post!

  21. Susan Kaye Quinn February 9, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    FB mystifies me. Srsly. I use it all the time, have separate author and personal pages AND a FB author page. And it still mystifies me. Right now, I’m getting the most mileage from groups where I interact a lot (a bit more privately) and general event postings, that give me a chance to contact a lot of people at once. But till don’t understand it.

    • Laura February 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      I agree. I’ve never used FB enough to totally get it. The random stuff people share is not very interesting to me. Which is why I don’t post random stuff no one cares about which mean I end up not posting. Not a good plan.

  22. Traci Kenworth February 9, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    I keep my private life to myself–well, most of the time. I’m always aware that agents are looking at me, readers too, and I don’t want to influence them not to. I haven’t had a prob with fb other than the gaming apps which I don’t bother to open the requests for anymore. I get hundreds of these everyday, but don’t bother to open them. Sometimes people get glimpses into my private life, but they are few and far between. Mostly, it’s “me” the writer up there. And I wouldn’t say anything I want a potential agent/editor to see and be upset about.

  23. Ghenet Myrthil February 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    I got rid of my personal Facebook page last Fall and haven’t looked back. There were many reasons I decided to deactivate it, and privacy is one of them. However, I might create a fan page at some point because it seems like a good way to connect with teen readers. I don’t think it’ll be useful until I’m about to be published, so in the meantime, no FB for me.

  24. Carolina Valdez Miller February 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    The privacy issue is definitely a concern with Facebook–which is why I don’t ever use apps or post personal information or photo on my account. It is a bit creepy and limiting, but it’s also helped me interact with people in ways that my blog hasn’t. Ups and downs to it, I guess.

  25. Leslie Rose February 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    I only use Facebook in my private life. It seems to have too scary a density of unnecessary activity to use it professionally. I have enjoyed finding people from my past, but there is a creep factor with some of the surprises that show up in my stream.

  26. Lisa Nowak February 13, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    I have a fan page, but it doesn’t seem to get a whole lot of traffic. I’m probably not using it effectively. But then I’m not using my personal account effectively, either. I just don’t have time.

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