Sunday, August 11, 2013

I'm On Twitter. Now What?

Last Friday I had an opportunity to get some Twitter advice from a family friend and made the jump. User name gail_gauthier  I have a list of links to Twitter articles in my journal to read. I've only managed to get to What's the Best Way for Authors to Use Twitter?  Among the suggestions there? "Post an inspirational quote or message." I'm afraid the Twitterverse will wait a long time to hear something inspirational from me.

Should A Writer Do The Same Thing On All Platforms?

Oddly enough, earlier in the week I was involved in a brief discussion at the Writer Unboxed Facebook page about writers sending blog posts out over multiple platforms. A few of us were not at all crazy about that idea, because many receivers end up getting that post several times. Most writers keep joining more and more social media sites believing that each new one is going to be the one that brings them to a large audience. In reality, though, we're finding the same people at each site. Therefore, if we post the same message everywhere, the same people get it. How does this duplication happen?

Let's use Gail as a case study, shall we?

  1. First social media site. I decided a couple of years ago that I wanted a Facebook page. I just wanted a professional-type page to do short bursts of professional-type writing, similar to this blog but much, much shorter. After looking into the situation, I decided I wanted what some people call a fan page these days, because those pages turn up if someone does a Google search of "Gail Gauthier." The personal pages, according to the information I could find, could only be accessed by people who were members of Facebook. That is a finite group, whereas the whole world can use Google. I couldn't see spending any time at all on a Facebook page that could only reach a finite number of people.
  2. Second social media site. However, at the time I was doing this, my understanding was that I couldn't get the "professional" fan page without first having a personal page. I've been told by others since then that this is not the case. Still, this is how I immediately ended up with two social media sites. With the personal page, I could start Friending people. With the professional/fan page, I had to wait for people to Like me. I told the Friends at the personal page about the professional/fan page.
  3. As a result, almost half the followers of my professional/fan page are friends at my personal page. If I routinely post the same information at each page, those people have to endure getting the same message.
  4. Third social media site. I joined Goodreads. Guess what? There's a connection between Facebook and Goodreads. When you join Goodreads, a bunch of your friends from Facebook automatically become your friends at Goodreads. If you send your blog posts to both your Facebook pages and to Goodreads, those poor friends are now getting the same message three times.
  5. Fourth social media site. A couple of friends invited me to become active on Google+. A lot of people I know are also on Google+, so if I've been sending my blog posts to my other three social media sites and start sending them to Google+, too, we now have people being hit with them four times.
  6. Fifth social media site. When you join Twitter, who do you suppose you're going to find there? That's right. Your friends from all your other social media sites. Send your blog posts there, or any message that is the same, and you now have the potential for hammering the same people five times.

Now, media people will tell you that individuals need to hear a message a certain number of times before they remember it. But they don't necessarily mean the same exact message from the same person. This is why people do blog tours and hope to get reviewed at journals. They want readers to hear about their books multiple times, but the multiple times are coming from different sources. That's buzz. When it just comes from you, that's painful. Tedious. Hard sell.

A Social Media Protocol

I've developed a sort of protocol for my social media efforts.

  1. Original Content--Short-form nonfiction on writing and literature and promotional material related to my work.
  2. Professional/Fan Facebook Page--Professionally-related material. The blog is not linked to it. I include blog posts occasionally if there is information I want to get out--a new publication, for instance. I post links to my professional reading. Rarely do I post the same material that I post at my personal page.
  3. Personal Facebook Page--These posts project me personally, but only in relation to personal creative activities and some travel/fitness. I include blog posts occasionally if there is information I want to get out--a new publication, for instance. Rarely do I post the same material that I post at my professional/fan page. I Friend other writers, litbloggers, family members, and nonwriting friends.
  4. Goodreads--This is specifically about reading. I do have a blog there, Gail Gauthier Reads, but it is primarily about reading, including my nonchildren's book reading. If I want to include some promotional material there from the blog, it is a total rewrite. I rate books I've discussed here at Original Content, using quotes from here and a link back to that post. I also friend new litbloggers I've found, not the children's litbloggers I've known for years, in order to create a new base of people.
  5. Google+--Original Content does get published directly to the Google+. What I'm trying to do there is reach new people, building circles of still more new bloggers and developing a self-publishing circle. Google+ is about new people.
  6. Twitter--What? I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do here. The blog is not going to be automatically linked there, I'll post my own links occasionally. I also plan, at this point, to keep Twitter extremely professional. No pictures of cakes I've made or trails I've biked. I'm going to share reading I've liked, such as the Salon article I wrote about here last week. Twitter would be a place to share the article, Original Content would be a place to discuss it. Since I don't have a giant audience at my Professional Facebook page, I feel pretty comfortable using reading links from there on Twitter, especially since at the Facebook page, I can make a brief commentary about them, making what goes there a little different from what goes on Twitter.
Yes, I have given this an enormous amount of thought. And, once again, there are no metrics for determining the value of social media, so this may be time and effort for which I will get very little in return. However, it just seems so incredibly wasteful to have all these platforms, to refuse to use them mindfully, and to send out the one message everywhere, risking turning receivers off, because they keep hearing it over and over again.

Okay, I'm off to Twitter!

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