Sunday, 10 June 2012

Social Networking Differences

A few people I've met on Twitter have said to me lately that they don't really 'get' Facebook.  In the old days (3/4 years ago, eons in social networking) when 'MySpace or Facebook?' was the big question, alot of people said they didn't 'get' MySpace.  People on Facebook say they don't 'get' Twitter.

This is not a 'how to use' guide for the sites - I would never presume to write such a thing about a subject upon which I am not an expert; these are just my impressions of the purposes/functions of sites I use/have used, which may or may not be helpful/of interest to some.  I may have missed out several important points, but cut me some slack; I am writing this at a quarter to four in the morning because I couldn't sleep.

1. Twitter

I used to not 'get' Twitter - which has led me to believe that you only really get to know a site by using it a lot.  It's only recently that I've started to use hashtags, even, and I still forget (and feel slightly self-conscious when I use them).  For the first two months I kept thinking #whatthe #f**k #isallthiscr*p, and wondered if it was some secret code.

Before I had my books on Amazon I thought the idea of Twitter was to say frightfully witty things, so everyone would think you were frightfully witty and follow you - which I thought seemed a bit pointless, and, anyway I couldn't think of several frightfully witty things a day to say.  When I actually did start to tweet I thought it was just a lot of people posting sales links.  Then it clicked.  I shan't go into how it ought to be used; this has been said before by so many, and it is not my place to do so, anyway.  I would just like to say that I have met so many nice, interesting, amusing, helpful people since I've been using Twitter - who would have thought that would be possible, in 140 characters?  Some of these have become people I email with, or correspond with on Facebook, too - who knows, one day I might meet one or some of them!  I've also, of course, discovered so much good stuff to read on this site.  So glad someone's suggestion that I needed a Twitter profile if I was going to flog my books has led not only to that, but a whole bunch of other stuff, too.

To sum up - the best promotional tool in the history of the world, and so much more!

2.  Facebook

Facebook is a social networking site.  The main pages are not promotional tools.  They are for re-discovering those with whom you had lost touch, easy interaction with current friends and family, and the making of new friends - the last part tends to be a delightful by-product of the first two.  Via Facebook I have got together again with people I haven't seen for years.  Without Facebook they would largely be a part of my history; I've moved around a bit and who the hell bothers to write letters, these days?  Sad, but true.  I've also met new people - I don't know how, it's just happened. Maybe we played a game of Scrabble, or made each other laugh on someone else's status update.  Or had a similar interest, so met via a group.  Anyway, some of these people who live in the computer have now become 'real' friends.  Like, we've met.  Lovely.

People do not go on Facebook because they want to be sold to.  It is not Twitter, and it is certainly not ebay.  If you have a business/book/band, you can 'create a page' for it, or you can join a group for people who might be interested in your product, but the pages/groups with the most followers are not the ones that just post constant links to whatever it is the user wants to bring to your notice.  Trying to flog stuff on a constant or 'in your face' basis is more likely to get you unsubscribed from, unliked or 'defriended' than get your stuff flogged.  This does not include, of course, groups/pages that are there for the purpose of bringing you offers/news of free stuff.

To sum up - it's for keeping up with the old and current, and, if you want to, making friends with the new.  Facebook is about social interaction - FORGET the rest!

3. Goodreads

What a marvellous site!  It's for people who love books.  It's also for authors and readers to interact, and for authors to help other authors.  Because of those things,  authors also get to sell books via it.  Very nice indeed.  Things I love about Goodreads:
  • From an author's point of view, I love that I can see who has written me a good review/given me lots of stars, and thank them.  How frustrating is it when you get a lovely review on Amazon but don't know who the hell it's from, so you can't thank them?
  • It's very hard to 'hard sell'.  People do try - you know, the ones who manage, during whatever discussion in which they are participating, to turn the subject round so they can post all their book links, but I doubt it does them much good, anyway!  
  • You get to be reminded of all the wonderful books you have ever read, and recommend them to others, and be really boring about how great they are.
  • Again, from an author's point of view, you get your books known, but in a way that is not so full on - people see that someone else is reading/about to read it, and have a look at it, read the reviews - and hey, they might even buy it! Even if they don't, they have now heard of you.  It's how it should be.  It's a lovely online library.
  • As with the other sites, you get to know new people on there - readers and authors alike.  It's an obvious follow on from lumping people with the same interest all together!

4.  MySpace

The best of the lot, and sadly no more.  Well, it's still there, but few use it - it's changed out of all recognition from the site I first joined in 2006, when someone told me that my richly vocal and beer swilling toy rabbit (no, I'm not being rude) ought to have a MySpace page.  The site has since changed ownership, is difficult to use and doesn't even look the same. Very sad indeed.  The people who I met on there (some of whom have become my closest friends) and I still mention the glory days with nostalgia at times. There's the 21st century for you - we talk about the passing of a social networking site, not a pub we all used to use!

It was fab.  You could design your own page, call yourself what you wanted, and when people clicked onto your page they could hear your choice of music playing.   There was room for all the creativity you wanted; for instance, I used to have a page on there called 'Serial Killer of the Week'. If you find that sort of things distasteful, stop reading now.  Please.  If you're still reading, I researched them well and each week I would change the background and the bio and introduce, say, John Wayne Gacey.  He would put out a bulletin (on the Bulletin Board, that everyone could see all the time) and say "Hi, I'm John, and I'm pleased to have been chosen for SKOTW', etc.  At the end of the week I would have the judges from The X Factor/American Idol assessing each one; Simon Cowell would say "I don't know, for me you're just a one-trick pony", or Randy Jackson would say "Hiding 'em in the crawlspace?  No, that just ain't workin' for me, dude", and stuff like that.  It was VERY popular.

You could blog on there.  Your favourite books, films, videos were all on your page. Then, for some strange reason, people stopped using it and started to use the far more bland Facebook; I dunno, maybe it's just that the more bland will always be the more popular.  On the other hand, maybe it's good, because I've put all that creativity into writing novels instead - I certainly wouldn't have the time to do a Serial Killer of the Week, now, anyway!  During a short period when I was living alone and too broke to go out, MySpace became a large part of my social life.  One night, on the Serial Killer page, I got talking to someone I presumed was a young punk rocker.  He presumed I was a bloke - because middle aged women don't make up 'funny' pages about Jeffrey Dahmer, Les McKeown of the Bay City Rollers, and Coronation Street Lothario Ken Barlow, do they?

I got to know him quite well....


  1. Great post and some interesting points. All what you say is true, if you have a book out, like we do, then these form of social networks are so important.

    Love the last bit about Barlow and oh, the Bay City Rollers...

    Also following you now, care to follow me back?

    Okay, good luck and I'll be checking your posts!

    Bye bye Baby, baby, bye bye!!!!!

  2. Ha ha, nice on, David, of course I will follow yours too! Oh, and my Les Mckeown page was an absolute scream. Unfortunately, I was daft enough to send friend requests to 'serious' Bay City Rollers fans, and MySpace removed it...

  3. I have an extensive background in retailing and am looking at various ways to adapt the strategies used there to market eBooks. My problem with the social media is that it has become much more heavily used in just the past few months and those who used it to successfully market books weren't faced with the same amount of clutter back then as there is now. For example, in just the past couple of weeks I have been assaulted by requests to follow by Tweeple who aren't even people. They're products and services.

  4. Terry Tyler (why am I having to give my name on my own page, huh?)12 June 2012 at 00:21

    Oh gosh, yes Jack! Oh, I suspect they've been around for a while.. ah, for everyone you block, another 5 spring up, don't they.

    I think one of the main problems with the ebook marketing is that every day, another hundred agent rejected manuscripts are dusted off and stuck on Amazon, another person who won a short story competition is told, hey, you ought to try writing a novel and self-publishing, you can make a lot of money at that! And so, re your blog I read yesterday, it become harder and harder to stand out from the crowd.

    I just checked to see if you were on Goodreads and you are, and have probably been so for a lot longer than I - I am new to the site. I find that site most helpful though, with getting myself known without the horribel selling bit - I don't have a backgound in sales at all, or any sort of retailing, and it's the self-promotion bit I find the hardest.

  5. Ah, I remember My Space. No doubt Rupert Murdoch as well, 'cos he paid several squillion pounds for it.

    At one time or another I said that I didn't 'get' all of these, especially Twitter, but it just requires throwing yourself in the deep end.

    Though, if I am honest, I don't use any of them enough.

    Goodreads has been the best one for me.

  6. Very interesting to read your straight-forward take on these sites. I still haven't got to grips with Twitter. Sometimes I send a link to my website but so far I've never linked with anyone there. I'd love it if you told me how to mention your book, You Wish, and get other people's interest. I'll do it now and see if anyone bites.

  7. I think it's a matter of keeping on doing it, Francene! And the way you present the link, too. I mean, if you just post links hardly anyone will look, but if you make it sound wildly fascinating people sometimes do! Of all the tweets I see, I perhaps click on 10 links a day. I've found some interesting blogs like that. You need to keep on doing it, though. As I was reading Rachel Abbott saying, earlier on, you have to approach it like a business, not a hobby. Well, you don't HAVE to. Sometimes I think I'd quite like to just sit back, write, chat to people a bit, and if they sell they sell, and if they don't....! Thanks for mentioning my book, anyway! And thanks again for enjoying and reviewing it! x

  8. Thanks for the update you have nicely covered this topic. keep it up