Thursday, October 02, 2008

Facebook--Another Marketing Tool Or A Quick Way To Make A Fool Of Myself?

Getting back to my day out with the writers, which I found so incredibly stimulating:

I got into a brief discussion of Facebook with a writer who had just joined a month or so back. She said she was connecting with librarians. I wondered if joining Facebook wouldn't be an easier marketing effort than, say, driving around the state to visit booksellers who might not be that eager to see me. I was concerned about having to maintain another site, since I'm already blogging nearly daily and updating a website every few months, but she said I could just flip my blog posts over there. So I thought about it.

I've had two reservations about Facebook in the past:

1. I first heard about writers joining Facebook a few years back. Some close to middle-aged women YA writers were joining Facebook to try to connect with their teen readers. I found that mildly disturbing. You know, adults going where the kids to young figuring out you're old enough to be their mother and telling you to get lost...

In the intervening years, adults have been moving into Facebook in significant numbers (or so I understand), so I don't feel that kind of concern anymore. As my friend said (and I call her a friend because she said that if I join Facebook I can invite her to be a friend) on Saturday, she's connecting with other adults, not kids.

2. I don't like the way any of those social networking pages look. I'm all about communication. And I want quick communication. I don't even like those high-class websites with arty intros that take a long time to load. I don't have time to sit around waiting for that garbage. I want to see author websites with a coherent homepage that tells me who the author is right away and then clearly directs me directly to specific categories of information.

I don't see that happening at the social networking sites I've visited. I find them incredibly chaotic. I want to know what authors have written, when the next book is coming out, what led them to write what they wrote, how they got where they are. I find the social network sites' user interface, as my computer guy would call it, disorderly. What does the term "Posted Items" mean? And "The Wall?" What's that supposed to be?

Forgive me for being misanthropic but, quite honestly, I don't care who their friends are!

So, as you can probably tell, the beginning of this week, I was still on the fence about joining Facebook. Then I stumbled upon Old People Facebook Disasters at Salon, and the contest was over.

I'm not saying I'll never join FaceBook. But I'm definitely not joining it right now.


tanita✿davis said...

Thanks for the link to the funny Salon piece.

I guess I have fewer fears about Facebook -- and a more realistic understanding that it's not really going to do anything for me as an author. I'm actually very limited in what I do on it -- no uploading pictures, no actually posting personal news -- because for me the blurring between public and private behavior is actually unnerving, so I treat it like I do blogging: it's part of what I'm thinking, but by no means everything. And after reading this, I'm going back into my settings to disable a few more "sharing" attributes of the site!!!!!

If I were writing for MG, I'd worry more about being available to YA's online, and try to be available; MG kids seem saddled with so many book reports that they need a quick and coherent place to find author information. (Facebook: definitely no help there, either!) But, since I write for older YA, few of them will need to contact me for school, and I'll eventually get a basic page out there for those who do. Facebook, though -- that's just to keep in touch with my friends and family, and if I wasn't in the UK and far from home, I doubt I'd spend the time. It's a lot of fun, but another time-waster, for sure!

Gail Gauthier said...

If it's a time-waster, I'm surprised I haven't been drawn to it. I seem to go for that stuff in a big way.