Navigating social media – the right way!

The first time I went to the NESCBWI conference I felt like a total dork.

I hadn’t started blogging, so I didn’t have any blogging friends to meet. My current critique groups hadn’t formed, so I didn’t have them to meet, even though they were there. I knew one person somewhat well and was just thankful she let me sit with her at lunch. But I survived.

And this year it was so much better. I knew people. And I got to know even more. I’ve never felt so connected with other writers and it truly makes me appreciate all of them. Writers truly are a group of very giving people.

So many conference goers have blogged about the NESCBWI conference. They’ve included quotes and some sage advice. I have to be honest. There were too many good quotes for me to quote. This would be a 5,000 word post. Or longer!

Today, I want to focus on one workshop. It was all about social media tips and techniques for using Twitter, Facebook, blogs…etc.

Mitali Perkins and Deborah Sloan co-taught the workshop. They knew what they were talking about. So if you’re confused about Twitter or not sure how to use it, or if you’ve crossed Facebook off your list – think again!

Here is the link to Mitali’s blog where she has made accessible the hand outs from the workshop. And she’s included a bunch of other helpful links. Check it out.

Thanks Mitalie and Deborah for sharing your wisdom!

To my readers, how do you feel about Twitter? Facebook? What are your questions about social media? (not that I can answer them)

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34 Responses to Navigating social media – the right way!

  1. Kris May 19, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Thanks for sharing the link to the handout, Laura. That’s good stuff. I wish I’d gone to that session! I’m printing out the handout to help me try to tame facebook before it “runs amok!”

  2. Stina Lindenblatt May 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    Thanks for the link. 😀

    Last year I went to the LA SCBWI conference and knew no one. Though I did bump into someone who recognized me from my blog. This year, I know tons of people going. The question is whether I’ll see them there. 😉

  3. Laura May 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Kris – now you have all the info. I missed a chunk of it too due to the ms crit.

    Stina – It’s very hard to find people! And the LA one is huge compared to NE. Have cell phones and pick a meeting place! How exciting!

  4. Ansha Kotyk May 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    I wish I had attended Mitali and Deborah’s class. I am so uncomfortable with twitter… and I could use some guidance on using FB for my writing!
    And I loved being able to hang out with you guys this weekend, it was truly awesome!

  5. Patti Nielson May 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    I wish I lived close enough to go to either of them. Twitter and facebook are not my favorite. I’d rather stick with the blogging.

  6. Laura Pauling May 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    Patti – I can see sticking with the one you like best. And Mitali even said that – if you really don’t want to do it, then don’t. But after seeing how powerful Twitter was compared to blogging…if and when I have a book coming out, I’d jump on the social media bandwagon. Her examples were pretty powerful.

  7. Jonathon Arntson May 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    KIDLIT writers are allover the internet and I can barely maintain my Facebook. I am not anti-Twitter, I had an account two years ago, I just don’t have any desire to use it. I think my blog is sufficient at the moment, but maybe in a year, when I am finished writing my book, I’ll jump back in. I kind of think Facebook should be for personal use. I have so many irl friends on there and they are like, “What’s up with all those weird people you’re friends with?” I takes me one second to say, “Who the writers?” as of last week, though, my writer friends outnumber my irl friends.

  8. Creepy Query Girl May 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    I haven’t touched twitter yet. I spend SO much time on the internet as it is- my husband would kill me. And my facebook account is only being used to keep in touch with friends and family in the US. That leaves blogging and my writer’s network that I’m a part of, not to mention the criquing group. That’s all I can really keep up with at the moment!:)

  9. Laura May 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    Jon and CQG – My facebook right now is separate from my writing too. But Mitali showed us how to create lists, so I can keep groups of people separate. I can control what shows on my wall. I can make a comment just to a certain list or a certain person. So my family doesn’t get flooded with comments from writers. It just takes playing around. And then she showed these awesome example of how a tweet led to speaking engagements, more sales…ect. I do think it’s important for writers trying to market their books and themselves to be savvy with social media.

    I’m not there yet. I do Twitter but not excessively. But I’m learning how to do it so when I have to market I won’t be fumbling around in the dark. The great thing is – this is a personal choice. The most important thing is a great book!

  10. Paul May 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Laura, Thanks for the link. I’m glad you had a great time at the conference!

    I use twitter mostly to connect with other writers. And yes, I have a facebook account. My general take on Social Media is that it is about relationship building and helping others without worrying about helping yourself or expecting anything in return. If I see something that I want to share, I share it. And that slow and steady is better than fast and furious. And hopefully, it will be fun, too. I’m on a pretty steep learning curve w/social media and I’m sure that some needs change depending on where you are in your writing career.

    I attended three writers conferences before I had any online presence and they were all totally enriching experiences and I felt like I was in my element. It will be interesting when I attend the next one because I have made a lot of online writer-friends the past several months.

  11. Laura May 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Paul – You hit upon a point that Mitali focused on. Social media is not about the person, it’s about connecting, branding, encouraging, sharing, supporting…all that good stuff. If someone makes social media all about them, they won’t get very far. So, it sounds like you’re doing it right!

  12. Kris May 19, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    I love this post. I’ve already commented this morning, but it’s so useful for new bloggers as well as seasoned ones. Connecting has been the best thing about getting on the blog bandwagon.

  13. Crystal Cook May 19, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    I so relate to feeling like a dork at new things, I feel like that about 99.9 % of the time! This is a great post, I love my blog and facebook is ok, but I have no clue how to twitter. It just seems like one more thing to add to my already packed list. 🙂

  14. Sarah Mullen Gilbert May 19, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    Thanks for the great link to Mitali’s website, Laura! My second SCBWI conference was way better than the first one, too, although now my struggle is recognizing people based on their Twitter icon (some awkward staring and stalking ensued).

  15. Jeff Baird May 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    I spend waaay too much time on social media. It keeps me connected though and I meet lots of great people!

  16. Laura May 19, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Good luck, everyone!

  17. Karen Lange May 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Thanks for this; I’ll have to check it out. I ditched my Twitter account because of unseemly followers that wouldn’t quit, but I do have a FB account. Am interested to see what Mitali has to say. And as for feeling like a dork, I’m with you on that. Happens to me on a somewhat regular basis. 🙂

  18. Laura May 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    Karen – You can block followers!

  19. Lyndsay May 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    I’m so new to blogging that I’ve never heard of this conference…so I kind of feel like a dork, haha. In fact, all of this “community of writers” stuff is even more new to me than my blog. It’s so fun though, being able to read what you have to say and being inspired to write myself! As far as facebook goes, I’ve had that since my Freshman year of college as a way of connecting with people, but not for writing purposes. All of my friends use it as a substitute for email. As for twitter…I’m still trying to understand this. Do people just “tweet” random updates about what’s going on in their lives? I do have to say, I believe blogging makes our generation so unique. Never before have the small people been able to be heard. I’m so fascinated with life and history and wish I knew about the personal lives people have led throughout history.

  20. Elana Johnson May 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm #

    I really like Facebook, but I could live without twitter. I do it, but I could live without it. 🙂

  21. Serenissima May 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    social media
    necessary marketing
    or is life too short?

  22. Dena Daw May 20, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    Hey laura

    AGHH this post makes me want to go to a conference so stinking bad! But I just can’t afford to go to one anytime soon…hopefully one day I’ll be able to meet some of my blogging/critique partner friends at one! That would be awesome!
    I personally loooove FB, but not so crazy about twitter. Obviously, I love to blog 😉

  23. Nandini May 20, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    Hi Laura,
    I had the same feeling, this year, of being surrounded by friends at NESCBWI. And I met many of them through blogs, twitter, and the Verla Kay blueboards. Facebook terrifies me though!

  24. Jackee May 20, 2010 at 2:45 am #

    Thanks for sharing this, Laura. I skimmed the doc they made and it looks wonderful! I’m going to read it and get better at facebook and blogging. Maybe it will even convince me not to be so skittish about Twitter!

    Thanks again!

  25. Sherrie Petersen May 20, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    Facebook and Twitter were huge time sucks and I have so much more fun blogging than tweeting. I do tweet every so often. But it cracks me up every time someone new starts following my tweets because there isn’t much to see!

  26. Laura May 20, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    Clearly, not everyone is sold or comfortable with Twitter. And that’s okay!

  27. Tina Lee May 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks for the link. I love this stuff! Not that I necessarily do it all well but I love knowing(trying to know) and the theory behind it. I think Lyndsay said it makes this generation so different. I do believe it is the great equalizer. We cannot know what all this media will bring but I am excited.

  28. Stina Lindenblatt May 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    I have something for you on my blog. 🙂

  29. PJ Hoover May 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Isn’t it amazing how much our view of things can change in just a year. Networking has been huge in helping me with my writing career from all view points.

  30. Shannon O'Donnell May 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    It is one of my major goals to make it to a conference within the next year. I SO want to go! 🙂

  31. marcia May 20, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    So many writers are fretting about how to balance just writing, family, and day job, and on Verla’s board and several blogs there are entire threads/discussions on how to wean yourself off FB, how to keep it under control, and even how to delete your account if you’re nervous about recent developments. What this mostly says to me is that it’s SO easy to get sucked in to a point where you’re fooling yourself about how much writing you’re doing. I was seriously considering FB when suddenly Twitter exploded on the scene, and I thought, “You know what? I’m always going to be behind” and dropped the whole idea. FB I at least understand. But to me, Twitter is like texting the whole world. For now, anyway, no way. Because of everything we can do online, it’s now easier than ever to “live like a writer” without writing. It just seems to me that time is limited and blogging makes the most sense. And just yesterday I heard that there’s a new social networking thing for kids — I forget the name. I’m wondering if this is meant to appeal to the under-13 crowd who isn’t supposed to be doing FB? At any rate, there’s always something ELSE we’re supposed to be on.

  32. Theresa Milstein May 20, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    I attended the conference and the same workshop too. So far, I’ve written two posts and a guest post about the experience. I may write one more on dialogue. You’re right that there are too many good quotes from the conference!

  33. Laura May 20, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    Marcia – Well argued. I think before a book sale – twitter, FB and blogging aren’t nearly as important learning craft and writing a great book. And I think you can sell a book and still not be online.

    But, I think having on online sales presence can help with sales and connecting.

    Every writer must be honest with themselves about how they spend their time.

    The wonderful thing – it’s a choice! Choose wisely. Thanks for sharing, Marcia!

  34. Terry Lynn Johnson May 21, 2010 at 12:31 am #

    thanks for the link. I haven’t really figured twitter out yet, I have an account though. I’m with most of the commenters here – only so much time. But I think it’s good as long as you’re still enjoying the networking and not feeling like it drains energy from your writing.

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