Social networking is one of those fads that has taken over our culture at lightning speed. And as it should: what a great way to keep in touch with everyone you know at the click of a button or two. Yet the faster technology moves, the harder it is for me to keep up.
My most social network to date is the online chapter of the Guppies, which stands for the “great unpublished” and is a branch of the mystery writers’ organization, Sisters in Crime. Despite the name, many of its members are published and a good portion well on their way. As a member, I subscribe to a yahoo group and receive a digest of emails on any number of topics that come to my email account a few times a day. While I’m not as active a participant as I probably should be, I learn something new from reading through the other emails just about every day. I’ve also met and become virtual writing pals with other mystery writers, who help me offline with line edits, manuscript swaps, brainstorming sessions, and pep talks.
As for other networks, I’m pretty limited. I’m not linked in, I don’t tweet, and I only opened my personal Facebook account a little over a year ago to find out what all the hype was about. In the first weeks, you couldn’t pry me off it. (My kids told our friends that I worked for Facebook, which they really believed.) In less than two months though, I was just about over it.
It was wonderful reconnecting with people and seeing how great old friends were doing after all these years, but beyond that, I didn’t really need to know what they had for breakfast or how their morning commute was on a day-to-day basis. And I had little news of my own to share with the world. Prior to December, I was happy to have a chance to peruse the news feed once or twice a month.
Unless of course, I have news of my own. Like I have lately, and then the social network and all its various attributes takes on an entirely new significance.
When it came time to publicize Wicked Writers, I was glad to have all these connections. The day I updated my Facebook status and notified my Guppy friends about my first blog post, our site had over 200 hits. And since we launched just over six weeks ago, we’ve had more than 3,500 hits. That’s quite a bit of traffic for five writers trying to generate some buzz. We’re thrilled, of course, with our success and hope to keep the energy going. I’ve also had some folks—both long-lost friends, other writers, and some potential fans—who’ve reached out to me personally, making the excitement about my book and my writing life feel more like a reality than it had earlier as well as making me work harder than ever.
I may be a long way from publishing my book, it’s hard to tell with that decision not entirely within my control, but as I wait, my perspective on social networking keeps evolving. I’m learning more about all the exciting resources for booklovers, such as goodreads.com, for example. But I have a long way to go.
Any blogs, online book review sites, or other places on the web you can share with us? I would love to hear your recommendations.