Friday, May 20, 2011

Hooked on Facebook

RHYS: Okay, confession time. I admit it. I've become a Facebook addict. I started using it tentatively. Now I'm a huge Facebook fan. I post at least once a day. I get new friends all the time and I find it a wonderfully immediate way to connect with my readers, fellow writers and fans. If I post about something, I get zillions of responses within a minute or so. What other medium can do that? When I broke my wrist I got hundreds of sympathetic replies including TEN people volunteering to type my manuscripts for me. I was overwhelmed by how kind people are.

Having said how wonderful Facebook is, I have had my share of creepy guys wanting to know me better, come from Africa to live in my house etc etc. They are rapidly unfriended. I also, on the advice of my friend ex cop Robin Burcell, removed anything personal from my page--no telephone, nothing about my kids, no hint of where I am.

I know Hank is a big Facebook fan. I read her posts every day and often answer them. I enjoy Deborah's photos from England. But how about the rest of you Jungle Reds? What are your feelings on Facebook? Is it your favorite social medium? Any suggestions on others?

JAN: Facebook can be fun at times, but it's basically a distraction. Like hanging out at the water cooler. I have connected with long lost friends - but you know, the reconnection is pretty superficial. Also, I am not really comfortable with the notion that you are supposed to be selling yourself all the time. So I go on Facebook a few days and then won't go on for weeks. Which I think defeats the purpose.

ROSEMARY: I have both a personal and a Fan page although dang if I can remember how I let someone talk me into the Fan page. I know I can do outbound marketing to Fans but that's what my rarely-sent newsletter is for. It's fun and I do appreciate it when readers connect. I just hate to have to have five places to write "And tomorrow I'll be at the CT Book Festival!!" And I always seem to see posts from the same ten people...what's that about?

HANK: Yes, I do like it. YOu know why, I think? I'm actually pretty shy, talking to people in person. Yes, hush, it's true. So Face book lets me chat without that worry.

It is a HUGE time suck, though, and that's sometimes annoying. And it's a lit-tle scary, privacy-wise. But I enjoy seeing what everyone is doing.

(Am I supposed to have a fan page? Someone? Anyone?)

DEB: I have a personal page and a fan page, my idea being that the fan page should be strictly for promotion (news about the books, signings, etc.) and that anyone could look at it. Of course, as it turns out, I have five times as many friends as fans, and many of them overlap. And I do enjoy Facebook, although I try to limit my time on it. I like keeping up with what other people are doing, and sharing things I think are interesting or fun.

I think it was Nathan Bransford who said that the point of social media is being "social." It doesn't work if you only use it when you want to promote your own work, and I will pretty quickly block someone who does that.

RHYS: I tried having a personal page and a fan page and found I just coudln't keep up with both. So now the message on my fan page directs everyone to my personal page.Actually it's only fellow writers and fans who are my FB friends anyway. I keep my personal life out of it.

JULIA: I only got on this past winter, and on the advice of my web guy, I started a fan page. No limit to the number of fans (isn't that optimistic of me?) and I don't have to always be approving people's friend requests. Anyone can join and anyone can view/post.

My favorite thing about FB is that I can dash off a one-line answer to a reader's question or a simple "Thanks" if someone compliments my work. I always felt email had to be more meaty and well-written, and as a result I let them pile up... and up...and up. FB helps me respond so much more promptly.

HALLIE: I do love Facebook. Love that it feels like...friends talking? I can unobtrusively follow my kids, though I'm careful about what I post since both my fan and friends page are so public. The other day I posted a photo of the screech owl that took up residence for months in the tree across from our house. Got a huge response. And then the owl disappeared. I wonder if it's something I said?

ROBERTA: Yep I like facebook--it's the water cooler thing, definitely. Drop in and catch a slice of life--although a thin slice. Hank, shy? Not a chance. You are very good at asking the right leading question. Lucy Burdette has a fan page but she doesn't have the hang of that at all. So any tips welcome...

RHYS: So join in, please--who loves Facebook, who hates it? Any creepy experiences (worse than my African friend who wanted to live at my house?)


  1. I love facebook. Too much. For example, today is my one day dedicated to writing. I've been up for 30 minutes. 20 of those have been on facebook. Okay, I know what Jan says - write first!

    But I do love the overlapping circles of friends, new and old, writers, and the messages from pages I have 'liked,' which include the Dalai Lama, Northeast Organic Farmers, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (did you know Peter Segal ran the Boston Marathon this year?), my local indie bookstore, and others.

    I set up a fan page, in eternal optimism for having a book published, so I try to put writing stuff up there and personal stuff on my personal page. Not sure how effective that is.


  2. So far, I have left facebook alone but I know the day is coming. I spend too much time following my favourite blogs - yours being at the top of the list - I wouldn't get anything written if I joined up. Sigh, what's one to do about all these social network communities?

  3. Write First.
    But I spend an hour or two a day on Facebook. I love seeing what people are up to, looking at new pictures, being guided to a funny clip. I have four or five "friends" who make me laugh every single day. I guess I'm just a social butterfly.
    But I think writers should be careful with Facebook. If their posts are primarily about new career triumphs -- new book, new review, new appearance, new award -- I block them quickly. I think others do, too. It's so boring when you see a dozen of these things a week. Maybe I have too many writer friends.

  4. I'm cool with Facebook and post during mental or business breaks, which I have to take about once an hour. That's my schedule.

    Facebook is an excellent tool if you need quick peer response. Last night, for instance, I asked my mystery reader/writer friends about positive male protagonists. Within minutes, I had a bunch of posts (thanks, Edith!), with more this morning. It would have taken me hours to do the research, when all I needed was a casual list of names. I did the same for a while asking for recommendations on regional stories.

    You can use it for play, which I certainly do, but it can be helpful, too. I get a lot of Facebook traffic to my website and event announcements.

  5. Yeah, I got enticed onto facebook about a year ago (by a friend insisting that writers needed it). Soon as I opened an account, high school friends that I hadn't heard from in years sprang out of the woodwork. Found out about an upcoming class reunion that I would have missed, because my contact info had been lost. ALL were extremely interested that I had a book in the mill. Now I've got author friends, hobby interest friends, new friends...all sharing and caring.

  6. I love Facebook!

    I'm an introvert but being on Facebook and making friends with the authors of the books I read is great.

    I went to Malice last year because an author encouraged me and I had a blast, and now Malice is one of my scheduled events that is a must.

    Facebook has opened up my horizon and I'm enjoying the ride.

  7. Love facebook. Fabulous way to be in touch with people on a daily basis (rather than realying on/scheduling a phone call every now and then to catch up, which admittedly seems harder and harder to swing these days).

    It's also been interesting to observe how the people at work who are facebook users seem to have a different kind of relationship (more connected) than the people who aren't on facebook.

  8. Er...make that "relying"!

  9. Put me in the "love too much" column, as well. It's a huge time sink for me.

    However, I have also reconnected with high school friends, and for the first time in my life I know more about what's happening with extended family than my mother does.

    When I look at the lists of friend suggestions FB gives me, 90% of them are authors. I guess that's because 30 or more of my "friends" there ARE authors. It just happened that way.

  10. Yes,I's really fun to see how everyone's doing, and I even like the birthdays. I get all teary when I see people "liking" me or things..

    Huh. I wonder if it has to do with instant gratification. Instant appreciation.

  11. The biggest problem with Facebook is Facebook itself. Its policies make me remove all personal information (as someone else mentioned), but I'm even reluctant to "Like" pages because Facebook then starts sharing my profile and posts. I'm probably overly cautious, but Facebook's policies choke my use of its product.

    Most of my usage is limited to (re)connecting with friends. Yes, this means I haven't "liked" any of your pages, even though I do like them and I do look at them from time to time. Seems like Facebook would catch on and improve its policies...but no.

  12. I have a personal FB page, and a fan page but I'm not a friend or fan of the place. Their privacy policies are a HUGE red flag for me. I had an acquaintance email me privately to say my private phone number was showing. I removed all but the basics of my personal info at that point and backed away. I'm seldom there now and I feel sort of bad because I have friends who "live" there. Me? I'm a twitter gal. I don't always tweet but I usually have Tweetdeck open in a window on the big screen and I'll catch bits of news and comments as they roll by. If there's something happening in the world, I tend to go there first to get news. Weird, huh?

  13. I only reluctantly joined FB last year to see the photos & keep up with family members scattered hither and yon. As a few others have stated, I object to their policies,and enjoy my privacy, so I really don't spend much time there. I guess I am still somewhat of a Luddite!

  14. How interesting about the privacy issue. And of course they keep changing HOW and WHERE you control that stuff. So complicated. And then how do you even know if someone posting IS who they say they are. We take it all on trust.

  15. Ricky, my experience has been more like yours. A great way to connect with old friends.