I Can’t Face Facebook

Facebook makes me crazy, so I never go there which is bad because I have a page there. Also, that’s where my tweets come from, so when I don’t go there, there are no tweets. Which is okay because Facebook stuff makes for lousy tweets. Mollie says I can stop, which is good since I really already have just from being overwhelmed, but I feel guilty. Which leads me to Twitter. 140 characters. I wouldn’t have to do it that often. And you don’t have to answer tweets, right?

How do you feel about Twitter? What do you like about it, either as writer or follower (or whatever they call people who read other people’s tweets)? How much damage could I do to my career tweeting whatever comes to mind randomly? What’s the best advice you could give somebody (say, oh, me) who’s contemplating doing it? “Don’t”? That’s what I thought.

93 thoughts on “I Can’t Face Facebook

  1. Honestly, I don’t know how much value there is to Twitter except that it seems to be fun for fans of shows, actors, musicians, etc. I don’t tweet for myself and it was the part of social media that I couldn’t get to for work. Recently we added an assistant to my department. She’s the designated tweeter.

    Could you do damage to your career? Unless you started tweeting a constant barrage of offensive crap, I can’t imagine it could be damaging. If every day you insulted your fans and readers, you’d be at risk, perhaps.

    Will you damage your career if you give up both Facebook and Twitter? I don’t think so.

  2. Wait, the goal of you going on Twitter to tweet thoughts would be what, exactly? What’s leading you to contemplate it? (I ask this for context only.)

    1. There’s a big push to use social media to promote. Some PR idiot at my publisher told me I had to blog, tweet, and post updates to Facebook a couple of times a week. I said, “Fabulous. And I assume since I’m doing your job, you’ll be writing the books for me?” WTF?

      It actually came up because of those buttons at the top right hand side of the page. If I’m not going to use Facebook, the button should go. Mollie asked if I wanted to put up Rav or Pinterest buttons since I do use those sites in my work, and I said sure. Cherry Forums have moved and I’m not getting back there like I should, Popcorn Dialogues is on hiatus, so I thought “140 characters, I could do that.”
      And then there was silence.

      1. Without having read all the replies…
        You should not use social media simply to promote yourself or your books, no matter what the publisher’s social media person says. Some authors are overly social, imnsho. They post to FB all the live long day and I want to say shut up already. Love her books, am unfriending her on FB because, for, she doesn’t add value., in one case. Others use FB to point to a blog post. That can work. SBSarah uses Twitter as both running commentary on her life and as a pointer to new stuff on the site. Works for her.
        I use FB to stay in touch with family, former colleagues, and far flung friends. I don’t really use it to buy books (some do, of course) or spend any time at all on fan pages. But we’re all different. Listen to Molly and do what works for you. And consider advice from your publisher, but if its not you, don’t do it.

        1. I like Facebook for the above from Glee–you said it perfectly–but will not Twitter. I know there is the push for social media but then you have to be inventive all the time and I also would rather you have the time to write. Besides I recommend your work to my friends all the time.

  3. What is the purpose of you tweeting?

    If it’s mainly to remind your fans that you exist, have you gotten any actual evidence that it expands your audience or maintains your fanbase? I would have guessed that all your fans are here: people who read novels tend to prefer long-form reading over the 140-character format.

    In any case, saying a stupid or mean-spirited thing and having it ruin people’s opinion of you can happen in any communication medium: you are just as likely to put your foot in your mouth on a blog as on Twitter, so don’t worry any extra for Twitter.

  4. Facebook is a massive waste of time in my opinion. I had an account. I got rid of it (not easy. If you go to facebook for any reason during your two month count down, they reinstall you as a member). And most of the information on it is pretty pathetic. Plus I got tons of spam and junk while I was a “member”

    Having said that, people I know are totally addicted to it – particularly the 30 or less age group. It seems to be the internet equivalent of those radios that were so popular in cars about 20 years ago.

    Remember the dynamic conversations:
    “Hello. This is Skunk Rat. Anybody out there. Yep. I’m aheading for the store for the old lady. Got to get some bread and milk. And there was something else oh yeah peanut butter. Traffic is kind of light. Well I am pulling in to the lot now. Over and out Good Buddy.”

  5. Love Twitter. HATE Facebook. I can’t navigate it, I can’t get the settings right, I don’t think people really need to know when I go to the bathroom…hate it. I don’t like the fact that every other day, I’m having to change something else in my privacy settings because now, they’ve teamed with some marketing company to track you when you’re on Facebook or off by following your email address…they’re ridiculous.

    I love Twitter in part because it’s real time, I can do a quick connect with people, if I have a writing/research/grammar/miscellaneous question or problem, the answers are immediate and it often makes for a brief conversation to follow which is sometimes needed when I’m writing. And how’s that for a looooong sentence? I get real time publishing world info from the people I follow, have a quick chat with a friend here or there, it’s fun. I’m not inundated with ‘play this game,’ or ‘unlock this app,’ or ‘see who is there, yada, yada, yada’ like Facebook.

    It is not however, what you want to become addicted to. And you can.

    If you need that kind of a break occasionally, it’s a nifty thing. Much, much better than Facebook for keeping in touch.

    But that’s me.

    1. Wait. People talk back on Twitter? You have CONVERSATIONS???
      (Yes, I am a Twitter virgin.)
      Oh, no wait, I’m not. We did that for PopD before we went to a chat room.

      Oh, hell. I thought I’d just be dropping pearls of wisdom into the great silence. “Just discovered Five Guys Hamburgers. Must move to NY.”

      Do spaces count as characters?

      1. Yep definitely conversations happening…

        (Time Warner Cable managing to annoy both Patrick Stewart *and* William Shatner).

        One interesting thing about twitter…every time we get a quake in my city I’ll jump straight on to twitter to check how far away it was felt and whether Christchurch people are still tweeting.

        Usually the tweets are up within 30 seconds and I can start breathing again.

        Twitter reliably beats the monitoring website Geonet (which usually takes 15 minutes to give epicentre and magnitude).

        Tweets seem to be like haiku, when done well they can be incredible

        Stephen Colbert hits one out of the park every so often:

      2. LOL! Yes, Twitter is where some of the most interesting and random conversations are happening. Everything from science to snark. Remember how you made all those friends on the Genie boards? (I think that’s what they were called.) Same thing, but different format. That said, it can definitely be a time-suck if you don’t put limits on time spent.

        1. I think you may need to comparmentalize — you should have a personal account, and you should have a Jennifer Crusie account — and it’s perfectly normal if JC does not answer tweets, if she just drops pearls of wisdom and snark into the void. Just be consistent. This same thing goes for FB.

  6. I use Twitter and FB but lean toward FB. If I have the time to sit on Twitter and try to jump into a conversation (because all promotion and no engaging makes me crazy) then it’s because I’m not doing anything else. For me, Twitter requires timely attention. Focus when I need to be doing other things. With FB I can catch what I want and engage at my own pace. No constant vigilance required.

    But (you knew there would be one) snarky, witty, pithy thoughts from you in 140 characters or less would be Twitter gold. So if you want to share a thought and walk away, go for it. As far as a promotional tool? I wouldn’t bother.

    1. If all you’re tweeting are promo tweets about your latest or next book, lots of people will tune you out quickly. It’s not an advertising forum – that’s actually considered rude and uninteresting by most folks on Twitter. Sharing your wonderfully snarky, witty, pithy thoughts in 140 characters or less (spaces and punctuation do count) IS how you promote your books or anything else on Twitter. As all good salesmen know, you’re selling yourself, not your product. It’s about showing up and being a real person who engages with other real people, not about pushing canned link-ads and dull declarative statements.

      1. Huh. Interesting, inkgrrl. It sounds like a LOT of work to be selling yourself on three different media, and engaging . . . . Four if you count Argh. Six if you count ravelry and Pinterest . . . . )-: This really should be a PR assistant’s job.

        . . . hmmm, bad economy, though. Do you know of any people who wouldn’t mind putting in four hours twice a week to groom your social media? Could be a win-win situation.

        1. Exactly. I’ve unfollowed more than one author for this reason. But at the same time, I don’t have an hour or two a day to hang out on the site and jump into conversations. I guess if you want to use it to sell yourself, then you have to make the time.

          1. I personally love FB because it allows me to interact with friends, college chums (a virtual reunion led to a real time reunion recently), fellow writers, readers and whoever wanders my way. Don’t like that the “friends” feature is limited to 5000, especially since I can’t seem to get the author page off the ground, really — can’t “share” stuff the same way, the interaction feels more forced, etc.

            And I think I’ve given up on Twitter, since I don’t have time to get into conversations, and the way it’s set up it’s hard for followers to see tweets unless they’re on Twitter constantly. So for me, it doesn’t work for promo.

            Actually, I hate promo — all of it — because I’ve yet to see any form of it that really reaches enough potential readers, let alone influences them, to have much effect. So I do what feels comfortable and say “Eh” to the rest.

  7. Gave up on Facebook about a year ago. Love Twitter, though. Have met many people who share my intersts and have become friends. Twitter can be personal in a way Facebook never was. I enjoy the format so much that I have 3 accounts – including one where I basically promote my department (sharing historical facts). Using Twitter effectively takes a little thought but relatively little time – you can get to know your followers and receive feedback. Just remember that trolls are everywhere – don’t fight, just block them. πŸ™‚

  8. If you go the twitter route thing get something like TweetDeck that allows you to see only those tweets that interest you. There is SO MUCH promo going on that it’s easy to miss the fun stuff. IMO anyway. I do it because I have too, gotta promote myself. (See I’m adding to the tons of promo crap.) Facebook is easier because at least I can form a coherent thought.

  9. What do you have to say that can be best expressed in the 140-character line that Twitter uses?

    If a Twitter account is just going to be a source of stress and guilt (“OMG another task, another duty, another place to put words”), I recommend you avoid it.

    If a Twitter account is going to become a receptacle for one-liners best put into your actual paid written work, again, I recommend you avoid it.

    1. I dunno. Pithy things about writing?
      I have many pithy things to say about politics–“YES HE WAS BORN IN THIS COUNTRY GET OVER IT YOU IDIOTS”–that probably should not be expressed for the good of my career.
      Or there’s fan girl stuff. “Nate Silver is a god among men.” Yeah, I don’t see it working for me.

      1. (-: But it’s charming when an artist one admires also happens to like other artists one admires. Feels like the universe is in sync! And if the artist admires something one doesn’t like, well, that’s just a matter of taste (-:.

  10. There’s a longtime author (Nancy Martin) who said she recommends FB over her website (I’m mentioning her name in case you want to visit and she how she works it). She tends to focus on it when she has a new book out, and has set tasks that she follows through on. For example, she publishes dresses that tie into her books.

    I’ve been terrible at social media. My tweets are inconsistent, my blog posts boring and irregular and I don’t FB even though I have a page. But what I think works is this:

    a. Be yourself or whatever it is you want yourself to be seen as.
    b. Be consistent. If you’re going to tweet, tweet regularly. If you’re going to FB, deliver something people want to see. But keep it up. If that sounds like you’re a slave on a galley, well, I think you are.

    1. I think it’s the “Be yourself” that has Mollie worried.
      But yes, on the consistency thing. It’s why my Facebook presence is so bad. Hell, I drop out here for a week at a time and feel guilty.

  11. I don’t twitter. I just don’t find it fascinating enough to commit to. Plus I think I may be the most boring person in the world with nothing to tweet. I do FB, but then again I rarely post for days at a time. I do enjoy reading it, though, because I’ve “liked” many of the authors I read pages. That way I know when they are promoting a new book.

  12. Perfect timing. I had to sign up for a twitter account for a class, and after a week, I still don’t get the allure.

    First, if I could write anything in under 140 characters, it would be a miracle. Second, uh, what’s the point? If I were Paris Hilton jet setting across the world with an ever changing wardrobe, then, yeah, maybe. But I’m not. I also don’t get it from a reader/fan point of view. If I’m interested in an author, I go to the webpage/blog.

    For homework, I followed a couple of writers who tweet on a regular basis, and I find it … pointless. It feels as though they are forcing themselves to find something interesting or funny to say on a daily/hourly basis (with varied results), but that’s my personal take on it.

    I do think it is an age thing. Under 30/over 30. I vote with the gal who said readers want longer posts like a blog.

  13. First of all, I don’t really think you’re likely to say anything on Twitter that’s going to hurt your career. IMO, most of us who were trained as good girls worry about those things too much. Sure, maybe you’ll offend someone. But you’re just as likely to interest someone. I made an injudicious comment on a blog recently. I knew as I was typing that I should probably stop myself, that I was likely to annoy the person whose blog I was posting on, that there really wasn’t any reason to tell her how wrong she was. (OMG, someone on the internets was WRONG!) But I didn’t feel like being nice and she was really wrong. Result: someone liked my comment, came to my blog, found my book, read it, wrote a really lovely review of it. Not the end result I expected. You might find that Nate Silver’s fans don’t know your books but love them when they discover them. Really, that outcome is just as likely as the other way around.

    But whether it matters for marketing? No. Long story made concise, but on my birthday my son told me that the mom of one of his friends had also written a book. Turns out she’d also self-published a paranormal romance, on the same day, for the same price, based on the same small town in Florida. And she was a serious FB and Twitter marketer. She tweeted 10x as much as me, had hundreds of Facebook followers compared to my six. I used NovelRank to track our book sales. For the three or four months that I followed, she sold no more books than me, despite doing way more social media and marketing work. I used to work in publishing focused on books on the web (including web marketing) so I’ve paid attention over the years — I have never seen ANY evidence that social media works to sell anything. Social media is fun, but for sales purposes, it’s just a bubble. Make your PR person prove that it is effective for *anyone* before you feel any guilt over refusing to participate. Seriously, ask him to show you the numbers — book sales of authors who tweet vs book sales of authors who don’t. He won’t be able to.

    All that said, for people who do tweet, what is effective in building an audience that way (albeit no evidence that they buy books!) is being genuine, interesting, and funny. You could most certainly do it if you felt so inclined but your honest self would be infinitely more interesting to most followers than the self that’s worried about whether someone is going to get offended. Twitter already has far too many people being cautiously dull.

    1. You know, I don’t think there’s any evidence that it does help. I think everybody is guessing about what works.
      Mollie, my daughter, is actually pretty good at working the net for authors (she does it professionally) but even she said, “Do what you want, it doesn’t matter.”

  14. Well over thirty here and I like twitter very much. Blogs, read or write, take up a huge amount of time and are often (not here, I love it here) not that interesting, I do include me in that, which is why my blog went neglected for months at time, very depressing. A tweet, no matter how perfectionist a spiral I’m in never takes an hour to write. And it’s so casual, I snapped a photo (phone) of knitted flowers on a telephone pole that made me smile and sent it off while walking down the street. Easy. I use it to remind myself of happy moments or need to do things, or sometimes tweet a show I want to see or a cafe that was great. Several people I read tweet when they’ve a new blog entry. There may be replies but usually in the moment, once you move on readers expect you to be done.

    I follow many but only read the majority once in a while for short periods of time. The people I really care about are on a list that I read all of often but they are busy people and post seldom. One exception and she has her own list that I skim when I can, I swear she must be able to type faster than most people talk.

    And Unlike facebook you don’t have to sign up or “follow” to read so you can just go have a look. If you are just wandering around set a timer maybe… You might start with a favored author and look at the tweets of the people that reply to them to get an idea of what might happen for you.

    but really do it for the fun. I read every single book of yours that I could find long before I found this blog. I think I’ve picked up one new author to look for in a year of twitter, maybe 4 or 5 browsing shelves online and real.

  15. I use FB to keep in touch with a couple of friends, and use the news feed part of it for articles/previews/info about authors, TV shows, etc. Twitter holds no appeal for me, since I consider it nothing but a never ending FB status update, and I already have FB.

    From what I understand, you can set it up so that tweets automatically post to your FB page, so if Twitter seems more convenient or you find you like it, you can kill two birds with one stone that way. Deanna Raybourn puts links to her blog posts on FB, and seeing it in the news feed reminds me to read them; just posting the links to new posts on Argh seems like sufficient involvement.

  16. Unless you work hard building a big interactive audience on Facebook, I think it’s challenging to not hear crickets chirping when you’re running any type of page of fan page. As someone who uses both a lot, I prefer to keep Facebook for my friends and family and Twitter for the rest of the world. The lovely thing about Twitter is that it is much easier to share gems with people, and gems can be retweeted rapidly by people who aren’t even your followers. You also don’t have to work so hard to develop your Twitter page. It’s just you sharing little things that you find interesting. You can also set Pinterest to tweet nifty things you pin there.

    Personally, I use Tweetdeck and sort people and places I follow into columns so that I can skim them once or twice a day and respond to things that catch my eye. “Kansas News,” “Kansas People,” “Writers,” “Publishing Industry,” “Cemeteries and History,” etc. From Tweetdeck, I can also share fabulous tweets and discoveries to both my Twitter and Facebook audiences.

  17. Don’t do anything you don’t like doing. I like FB and Twitter because I have a nice social time with my writer mates. I barely use it for promo and feel embarrased when I do. I feel pushy. I don’t do anything else like Google + or Pinterest because I can’t cope with them. Set up your blog so it feeds into your Twitter and/or Facebook accounts.

  18. The pressure on authors to use various social media tools for promo is a pet peeve of mine. (This is as a reader, in no way involved in the publishing business, other than the damage it does to my monthly credit card bill.) In my opinion the number one most important promo tool an author can have is a good website. A well designed site, that is easy to navigate, with all of the pertinent information (book titles, synospsis, release dates, etc.), that is regularly updated. And, if they’ve hit those points, a few extras are great. I regularly refer to your site when discussing this; you’ve set the gold standard. You have no idea how few authors have this. Seriously. Choose 10 authors. I guarantee you 7 will have a site that does not meet at least one of those basic parameters. Drives me insane. And often, the writers with the worst sites are the ones who are trumpeting facebook and twitter no end. Drives me insaner.

    When it comes to social media, I think similar basic rules apply- use a platform that you’re interested and engaged in, so it’s relaxed not forced, and updated on a regular basis, whether that’s once a day, week, or month. And fifty different platforms aren’t necessary; they actually make it more difficult and annoying to follow an author. This blog is a great example of good; well balanced subject matter, interesting, engaged, etc. I think you’d do great adding either Pintrest or Twitter, IF you want to add them and have the time. For either, I’m not sure you have to have conversations, or you can link and have them here if you want to. You write the rules.

    And only do it if you want to. Mollie’s got it right. Listen to her. She knows more than all of us combined I suspect. And definitely more than PR dweeb. I also think she’s got her work cut out for her in author internetland. 7 out of 10. Seriously! (Couldn’t even find out the name of the next book in the series. That was released a year ago. Argh!)

  19. This is great timing for me: thanks, Jenny! I’ve been trying to decide whether I should give social media a go, as all the pundits insist you should. I’m creating a gardening ebook, which is half and half photographs and writing, and trying to work out how to (as a first-time author) get it out into the world once it’s ready. But I need to make a new website (the one I have is just about my photography); and I’m pretty sure I’m going to launch a blog as part of that. So right now, the thought of trying to do anything else on top is pure overwhelm.

    I’ve decided I’ll give Twitter a go, if anything, although I’m also worried about saying something stupid/hurtful by mistake. I’ve been wondering whether it’s really the Emperor’s New Clothes: everyone is doing it because everyone else is. The comments here have been helpful: it looks like it’s OK to stick to the website/blog plus going for coverage in gardening and photography magazines, etc.

    If I ever do venture on to Twitter, I’d definitely follow Jenny Crusie. But I think you’ve got a great platform here, and I’d be very wary of trying to spread yourself too thin. It’s got to be fun for you, somehow, or it won’t sound authentic. And, like you say, the vital thing is to have time and inspiration for your writing, not to get sucked into making promoting it more important than creating it. Play, not work!

  20. Texting Mum is all the short commentary on my life that I feel like doing, and even then I suspect I bore her silly sometimes. I should practice being pithy and witty. It sounds great, just like many other things that aren’t me.

    SEP tweets. https://twitter.com/SEPauthor. I glanced at a screenful and didn’t much feel like glancing at more. I think the long form suits her voice better.

  21. I like twitter but not facebook. As a reader, I like following publishing people, but not if they solely promote. Plenty of writers chat with their writer friends, their agents, their editors on twitter. Sort of like the Dogs and Goddesses discussion but without the spoilers and less Dick and Awe. I could totally see you tweeting this:

    Jenny C: Penicillin clears that right up. So, glitter, awestruck, loves her more than Milton. Got it.

    And if you did, I would follow you. Would it help grow your audience? No idea. I found you originally through the snarky convos on the He Wrote, She Wrote blog. (Was that the name of the first blog for you and Bob?) I’m not even sure what I googled that day, but I loved the voice so I stayed. I think twitter would open a new avenue for your voice.

      1. I started following you when the two of you were writing “Don’t Look Down,” but I don’t remember the name of that blog. There was definitely a her point of view, his point of view on there that was fun. And I remember the first book tour and the pizza chin (poor, baby). Ah, the memories…

  22. I’m on Facebook mainly to keep in touch with my American family, I hardly ever post something. And I never got the hang of Twitter up to now. I feel it’s just one more way to waste precious writing time, and I’m not sure it really does that much good to the PR side of things – my editor tells me that 80 % of all book sales are done by women aged 40+, and is that a main Twitter target group?

  23. This is all great stuff. I’ve been wondering if I should Tweet more to develop a professional presence to find freelance work. Social networkers say yes, but I can’t think of what I’d want to say. I’m not pithy. Hell, I’m trying to figure out what to write on a professional blog, which I think would be much more useful. I won’t worry about Twitter and I wasn’t going to use FB (which I rarely visit) as a business forum anyway. Thanks, everyone!

  24. Someone once described Twitter as an ongoing cocktail party, which I think the perfect description. You pop in, scan the tweets, join any interesting conversations, drop a couple of one-liners, leave at your convenience.

    I specialize my social networks. I use Facebook to keep up with real life friends and family that I’ve met and know personally and to let them know of things going on in my life. Twitter, I use more as a news feed and to find any interesting trivia, tidbits, etc.

    News breaks on Twitter much faster than through any of the news sites; I learn about new book releases from favorite authors and new authors that I might like. (Seriously I’ve bought more books in the last two years from recommendations and promo on Twitter than anywhere else.) When I log on, I scan back through the last hour of tweets to see if anything interesting is going on (which takes a minute maybe), drop in a comment or reply, then go back to what I was doing. It’s a 2-minute break to reset my concentration.

    I update on Twitter much more often than Facebook, but my tweets are more frivolous and in the moment than my Facebook posts.

  25. I’m on the side of ‘do what feels right for you’. You rock at blogs. It fits your voice and your style. You can pop on when you want and give a sermon, teach, or laugh at rats in a maze. It’s your platform to say what you want in whatever size, shape or color. And you can post pictures or not. You can link, etc.

    FB, Twitter, etc., have some of these features but not all of them. Personally, I like FB. I only connect with my friends and I’m fine with that. That’s all I need it to do. If I were more intentional some of my FB posts would probably make good tweets, but the people I’m connected to on Twitter could care less about what I’m posting. And more accurately, I’m not going to share stuff about my kids on Twitter. Especially pictures.

    What I’m doing now is intentionally following people on twitter that I find funny, personable and interesting and I’m trying to figure out what quality is it that is ‘followable’. Why do log into Twitter to check out @sarcasticrover? Is it just because I laugh? No, it’s also because I love the idea and premise. I love that everything comes back to ‘science’.

    As for real people – what is it about The Pioneer Woman or Sarah Wendell that make me scroll past other people to get to their tweets? Part of it, I think is that I can hear their voice in those 140 characters. That’s hard to do in a short blurb but it’s doable. I think that in your case I’d be able to pick out a Cruise tweet blindfolded. The other thing I get about their tweets is the topic. It’s not always about them or their work. It’s observations. It’s the world. It’s the beginning of a conversation if you want it to be.

  26. I have no idea if either grow your audience. But I agree with those who said a good website is important. And a blog, not just to find info but because in between book releases it keeps the connection going. And you’ve already got both these covered and then some.

    When I hear this argument from PR folks, I think about Janet Evanovich who only recently even added an occasional blog post to her site and is just now getting into other social media. Mostly her daughter runs her website, updates it, etc., and Janet’s absence from social media hasn’t hurt her audience growth. Probably because what readers want more is new books and she spends her time writing those instead.

    As a writer, I feel the pressure too. But as a reader, I know those things have never been an area of discoverability for me. Personally, I like your rants. Not sure how much rant fits in a tweet:)

  27. Love facebook, hate twitter. People I follow on twitter seem to do a lot of re-tweeting (??) and linking to things, and referencing things I don’t understand. I am sure I could learn what the @ and # mean, but I don’t really care. I do scan it occasionally to see if some pearl of wisdom is there, but talk about being overwhelmed with posts about nothing! And I only “follow” about 10 people. You can have your tweets automatically posted to facebook (and vice versa?) so you really only have to do one thing at a time, not both. Also, your posts here can go to facebook, so you don’t have to think of them as being separate things. If all you say on fb or twitter is “writing” we will understand.

  28. For real connection I prefer to read author blogs. It seems like more of a conversation, more sharing. Even though my own blog tends to be about nothing at all. Well, I refer to it as a slice of life. ; ) It’s my space and I can talk about whatever I want, and if my readers find it boring they can leave, if they feel like leaving a comment, I’ll reply. Simple as that. Of course if I ended up with your fan base I wouldn’t reply to every comment, but when you only have a dozen… .

    I like FB for catching personal thoughts from my writer and reader pals. There will be a gentle post on a new release that I’d forgotten about, no hard selling, or a comment on a show or movie, or something in the news. Sometimes as a writer I get too into my own work and life can slip on by. Many of the posts on FB keep me in the know.

    I tried Twitter when a friend’s debut book was published and I tweeted about it. I don’t think I could do that for my own. : ) I think I’ve made 25 tweets in a year and a half. I often get messages saying someone is following me and I think, “Well, good for you.” I think I’m too “wordy” for twitter. It’s a pain in the butt to reduce my thoughts to 140 characters.

    I don’t do Pinterest. I read but rarely comment on Google+ and I have a Goodreads account but rarely go there. There are four blogs that are must reads. Yours included. I think the key is to be real with all of this social media stuff. To be whoever you are and not some commercial product. I think that’s how people relate to you best. How you build your base of followers. I’d say choose the things that you are most comfortable with and forget about the rest.

  29. I think one of the missing points in the discussion is that you do this blog. And have done this blog. Your core fans can find you here. I can’t think of any author who has been more giving of her insights on her craft, nor entertained as you have!

    I also agree with Midnight blooms from above. I use Facebook to see pictures of my grandchildren that my DsIL post. I post a vacation picture or two. I check Twitter for entertainment and up to date “happenings” of things and people that interest me. Eloisa James tweeted for weeks about her upcoming book and contests, etc. SEP is a killer on Facebook. You have ARGH people on your blog and the Cherry Forums.

    Twitter is like the town crier coming through the streets telling you something is up. Then you gather in the square with all of your neighbors and discuss… either by blog, or directed to an article, or to a Facebook post.

    A random bit of snark directing me to things you find interesting…grocery list, dog pictures, a 5 Guys sighting- would make my day a lot better.

    PS. There is a 5 guys in Lima now! Ohio, not Peru. Though there COULD be one in Peru, I just don’t know.

  30. As a new author, I’m supposed to do it all to promote. But I don’t. Like you, the idea of Facebook bugs me. So I don’t do it (not even personally). I blog and I’m on Twitter. I actually like Twitter. I have conversations with people I might never meet in real life. The conversations are short and mostly unimportant, but fun. Personally, I don’t think Twitter works well for building an audience (although it would be different for you) because most of my followers and people I follow are book people (writers, editors, agents, book reviewers). You would probably get more readers since you already have a fan base.
    I like to use Twitter as a quick break between other projects. I use it when I have a few spare moments (or when I’m looking to procrastinate)

  31. I hate Facebook. It feels like it was designed and maintained by a teenage boy who never cleans the dust bunnies under his bed. Nevertheless, I’m not adverse to “technology.” I think Twitter is pretty cool if used correctly. I don’t much like users who post trivia like “I’m off to bed” or I’m brushing my teeth,” but I do glean a lot of useful information from tweets about subjects I’m interested in. I also like the fact that tweets are limited to 140 characters. This means I can quickly scan for useful information and click links to find detailed information.

  32. Hi, haven’t been around for a while. Hope you’re doing well, and enjoying your “new” place, the “cottage” by the lake. Sounds lovely. πŸ™‚

    For Twitter, and other online forums, but especially when it’s more available to the general public, there are cautions, including about personal info that might be used for ID theft; info that tells when you’ll be gone from home (thieves look for this); and anything that might be considered “unprofessional.” There’s a post somewhere with other warnings, but these come to mind as the more important ones. That post might be on the Writer’s Digest site–not sure.

    I find Twitter easier, mainly because I can send updates from my phone. And there are only two basic pages, private & public..and it’s easier to navigate, and, and, and… Perhaps surprisingly, there is a BIG publishing community there–writers, publishers, lit agents, editors, illustrators, cover artists, editors (like me), IT people, movie people, magazines, and so on.

    Facebook does have it’s advantages too. And Google+, another social networking site, is becoming more popular and also supposed to be good.

  33. Just like writing a book, there are many roads to Oz on Twitter. The one you don’t want to take is just tossing out ‘buy my book’ ads a couple times a day. Random writing gems or just wry comments on life in general–awesome. Links to your blog posts when you do them–yes. Being upfront about writing taking priority over tweeting–your followers will get that. If they don’t, they aren’t your audience anyway. Your audience is saying “Yes, get the hell off Twitter and write me something, dammit.”

    If you want to give Twitter a try I’d recommend following a few authors first to see how they’re working it, get a feel for what different people are doing. I follow writers who tweet all day and really engage, one who does a multiple tweet ‘blast’ once a day and doesn’t do a whole lot of interacting, and everything in between. All of them work for me because I know what to expect from them. A sampling of people I think do it well, by their tweet handles: @thebloggess (Jenny Lawson) @jeffreysomers (the tweet blaster) @chuckwendig (emphasis on links to his writing craft blog) @neilhimself (neil gaiman) . I’m sure there are dozens of others.

  34. I’m fairly certain I saw someone post this earlier but I can’t remember. Either way, it’s such a good point it should be tattooed on the head of everyone who gets a twitter account:) It’s ‘social’ networking. If you’re not going to be social about it I don’t think it matters. If you’re just tweeting into the air and not participating with people then don’t do it. If you just talk into FB and don’t have conversations – same. Ditto for blogging.
    If you are better at being social on one of the platforms then I think that is your ‘go to’ platform.

  35. I guess I’m a social outcast, because I don’t do any of those things. I found your site because I wanted to know more about my new fav author, but to me, those things, Twitter, Facebook etc, are just another way to worm “their” way into your privacy. I say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” because I love your website and ReFab. They make my day…how sad is that? But there it is. I say leave them alone and continue with what you are currently doing? I mean look at Ashton & Demi and all those others tweeting without thought. Do you really want to go there? Just sayin’.

    1. Christine has it right! Listen to her and to Molly. Twitter makes me uncomfortable, although I’m not sure why…hmmm…

  36. Don’t do social networking because it seems as if every other week there is something on the news about said social networking being hacked. Also, it is almost impossible to establish parameters of privacy in FB because the process for establishing said parameters is changed from week to week.

  37. My agent gave me the best advice about twitter. Your tweeting activity should be 75% engagement with your followers and 25% soft sell to the world. Once she said that, I found it easy, because I like interacting with people.

    My only self-imposed rule about twitter? Never, ever drink and tweet.

    1. Leigh,
      That sounds about right to me. I do some promo on Twitter and FB, and always put up links when I post on my blog. I have actually seen a marked increase in blog traffic…although that could just mean that with my 6th book out, people are figuring out who I am πŸ™‚ I also do a lot of stuff in support of other authors, and have found things like #1k1hr very helpful. (One author will say “I’m doing #1k1hr starting on the hour, and then a few people chime in, and all go off to try and write 1,000 words, then report back–it’s a good kick in the butt.)

      I find both FB and Twitter handy for doing quick networking both with other authors and my fans, although it can be a time suck if you’re not disciplined.

  38. Love Twitter, and no you don’t have to answer tweets. Don’t do Facebook except to check on my grown kids and enter contests. Mostly.

  39. Check out how Sandra Boynton tweets (besides, she’s amusing). @SandyBoynton She’s the one who created the button: “If wearer is found in a depressed condition, administer chocolate immediately!” with an adorable hippo looking wistfully at the reader.

  40. I’m skipping the 50 comments previously written which is probably wrong, but here is my two cents.

    I hate facebook and do not have an account. I am an avid twitterer. I follow your twitter account and tweets generated by facebook suck if you don’t have a facebook account because I get to see the first 120 characters and then a link that takes me to FB login, so I don’t see the post. So, I’ve stopped clicking on fb links.

    Twitter is about engagement. You don’t have to follow anyone and certainly do not follow everyone who follows you. If you choose to tweet out a thought and someone engages you in conversation and it seems reasonable to do so, respond back & forth until a natural end. It isn’t required as most people understand on twitter people often send off tweets while having only half a minute to share while in line somewhere. But many will also use it as a distraction and be on it all the time.

    I would love to see you and your thoughts on twitter. I don’t think you can hurt your career unless you get STUCK on the 2 taboo topics in polite conversation – politics & religion. I’ve stopped paying attention to 2 people on twitter due to their political rants until after the election. Then hopefully they’ll go back to being the fun, intelligent people they were prior to this season.

  41. Fortunately, or not depending on how you want to look at it, you’re a wonderful, well-known author so the minute you sign up for an account, people WILL follow you. And the minute you tweet something, you may get lots of responses or none. Depends on who’s online and what your tweet is about. You don’t have to respond back though. It’s all in how much time you want sucked from your life because it’s easy to get involved in things.

    I don’t do political, mainly because I’m always in the minority as a more conservative person, (GOD! I’ll be glad when election season is just OVER!) and I keep out of publishing arguments. Just easier to read them than participate since I don’t know enough to qualify as even remotely knowledgeable on the subject yet. I try to watch what I say and ‘think’ online because I doubt most of my opinions are worth much. But it’s enjoyable to tweet with someone and find out that they actually live only a few miles from you, you’ve been tweeting with them forever, they write too and you can get together for coffee! It makes things a very small world.

    That said, I do unfollow people who use it only for promo and I don’t follow people who use it only for promo as well. I get a lot of followers who have “just self pubbed my first book!” in their bio and suddenly, I seem like someone they want to follow? Um…no. Those are the kinds who are using passive/aggressive strategies to get you to notice their book.

    I use Tweetdeck or Twhirl, the latter mostly, I can turn off the notifications and just minimize the window. When I want to connect, it’s there. The rest of the time, I don’t notice it.

    I have a guilty pleasure on twitter that won’t happen anymore and I am sad. LOVED The Closer and Kyra Sedgwick tweeted during the episodes and would answer questions. That was a lot of fun.

    It’s like anything else. It is what you make of it.

  42. I’m on Twitter and I really don’t understand it. As others have said it sucks at valuable time and so does facebook, of which I have two, one for family and friends the other for writer friends. In a group I’m with, someone suggested a media free October, I signed up. We’re allowed one hour a day to reply to emails etc. I’m actually looking forward to it. πŸ™‚

  43. I don’t mind Facebook. I keep it very thin though. But I keep it only for keeping in touch. I don’t use it to follow other people. I flick through it and “like” which keeps me in the hearts and minds of the list. Public Facebook, not for me. Twitter. I haven’t seen or been impressed by it and by people who use it. Inane comments which can lead people into trouble. 140 characters doesn’t exactly make a succinct statement of anyi significance. And every minute spent this way is a minute not writing. I think blogs are far more effective for fan base. You can control it at your leisure. If you use it properly, which means regularly, and make your blog a daily visitor friendly and make it a haven for a daily visitor by your fanbase, then why should you need anything else. I really still don’t ‘get’ twitter. I even hate the name. Twitter as it tweet tweet little boidies on da wing? Or maybe twitter as in twits tweeting twaddle?
    I’ve seen politicians making absolute narcissistic fools of themselves. High profile people, lawyers, journalists, writers, issue people, getting themselves into strife, saying something foolish which won’t ever go away for them. To a certain extent people have become desensitized and say things they’d normally think twice about…
    (twice twitter twice shy?)
    Basically I think blogs satisfy the best of all needs. You just get time and space to think about your blog, and to draw comments from people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. And care enough to comment.

  44. How timely! I just got two spam as in many days, and the only common derivative is FB. I have stopped going there on my new computer, and I’m going to close my FB account if I get one more spam. They just aren’t secure.

    It is my impression that for FB you don’t have to answer anyone. In fact, I know of one author site on FB where the site is run by a fan under the author’s name (and she always says to any questions, “Sorry, I’m not really her — if you want her to see your comment, please go to hergroupforum.com” — which isn’t quite satisfactory, but the true fans go, and the slightly less involved fans get the news about when her books are coming out, and her convention appearances.

    For classes, books and appearances, I’d say a tweet and a reference to ArghInk would be plenty. Treat it as a personal ad, not a fan/author transaction. Other tweets could be positive things about books/movies/pop trends you like, the character in your head today, etc. Cheerful and Crusie-centric. Those who are interested can come to Argh for the bigger picture.

    Just my two cents. (-: I barely tweet, so I don’t know if twitter has the same security issues that FB is having.

    1. Micki, if it makes you feel better (maybe it won’t), I get spam “from Facebook” and I don’t even have a facebook account.

  45. Well, I found this blog through FB. But I’m not a new reader – I found your page because I was looking for you. Then I bopped over here, and I have to say – this, right here is a damn good promotional tool. My Kindle is full of the books I hadn’t ever read, and quite a few of them that I’ve re-read, and a big chunk of the reason is the dialogue here and on ReFab. In contrast, Julia Quinn is active on FB, and I enjoy her posts, but I don’t find her website all that interesting. But thos posts have worked the same way as your blogs, to a lesser extent. She’s a person with a voice to me now, not just a name on the cover, and I enjoy her writing that much more because of it.
    So this over-40 does see the promotional value in some online presence. Personally, I haven’t joined Twitter out of fear of the timesuck (I spent an inordinate amount of time one day reading Steve Martin’s tweets. Laughed like crazy, but I’m not sure I need that hourly.) But you have an effective forum already, so I don’t think you need another one, unless you find it interesting.

  46. I like Facebook, because I like that minimal, but fairly consistent contact with people I knew years ago who live in different places now, but whom I still like and wonder about. There are a number of Facebook pages I’ve clicked Like on so that I get what amounts to an RSS feed when they post an update. NPR posts a link to a blog post or a news story every couple of hours, so I often read or listen to stories I wouldn’t have otherwise heard, because I wasn’t in the car when they aired. My kid finally friended me on FB when she went to college, so now I get to see photos of her with her friends every couple of days, which helps me put names to faces when we text or talk to her. I just like it. Having said that, I think it could/would be a bit pain to keep a fan page going, and tweeting is something I just don’t get at all.

  47. I don’t know. I kind of don’t think your forte is the kind of aphoristic pronouncement that goes well on twitter. You’re very witty in dialogue, but the way you seem to do it is to play on common interests, prior conversations, funny contrasts between what someone’s doing now and what they said they’d do a week ago… that kind of thing. It’s all kinds of interactive, and from what I’ve seen, happens with people you know and like and have a history with.

    If it were truly conversational, I can see it turning into fun for you rather than a hassle, but otherwise, feels like it’d be a drain on your inner resources.

  48. As several people have said, for me FB is for looking at family photos. It’s the one and only reason I have an account. The whole friending thing freaks me a little bit. They actually track down other people they think you might want to be friends with. Why would I want to be friends with someone just because they were once part of a group that ate hamburgers with someone who later on in life went on to be friends with someone that my sister went to school with 30 years ago. HTFH does that make us connected? I think it’s just creepy, so I don’t even bother with a profile and have only ever friended a handful of family members. Said family members are often incline to tell you where they had breakfast that day and who else was with them … which is probably why FB thinks hamburger guy and I have something in common.

    Which is a long winded way of saying that I just don’t get it.

    And I don’t do Twitter either. Although I might get an account if it means I’d get regular Crusie snarky comments. But I have trouble, Jenny, seeing you sticking to 140 characters. I think you’d just get rolling about then. That could be a source of frustration.

    Oh, and the have Five Guys in MD. Just saying.

  49. I like Twitter. I love the links I get there as well as the conversations.
    (I teach marketing, and I get SO MUCH info there for class.)
    I liked the analogy someone used above about it being an ongoing cocktail party.
    It allows for you to make an appearance, check on the people who interest you, and say your good-byes.
    It takes exactly as much time as you’d like for it to take. It’s exactly as personal as you’d like for it to be.

  50. Excellent. I won’t be tweeting. But I think I’m not going back to Facebook, either. Simplify, grassphopper.

    And I thank you one and all.

  51. There are some things that’ll post the one thing to all places for you.

    I enjoy Twitter and barely use Facebook, but Facebook is better for things like book publicity because people get all the messages eventually, whereas Twitter stuff is often gone by the time you look at it. Personally I prefer emails you subscribe to for book reminders – then you can be sure of getting them and nothing else.

  52. I originally got Twitter thinking it would be “fun”, and it can be, but I have zero interest in posting tweets. Does anyone need to know “OMG! Am so excited about bake sale at work!” No. A couple of friends have good Twitter streams that are funny and insightful but they are rare.

    I refuse to get a Facebook page even if it would be good for my “career”. Maybe it would and maybe it wouldn’t but I have high privacy needs and don’t want everyone to know what I’m doing 24/7.

    You should do what is right for you. I hope you keep this blog going though–I love the blog. πŸ™‚

  53. I agree with with everyone else. Do what works for you.

    I had to join Facebook for work. So I have an account, and I never, ever post anything on there for friends and family to read. I call friend and family, or I email them. I only use Facebook for support groups. That’s it.

    I think that Blogs are more personal. And I enjoy posting on Forums more.

  54. Actually, now I’m thinking about Instagram because pictures are fun, but my kind of pictures would be of dogs and collages and art projects and my office so probably not. Still, pictures . . .

    1. I love Instagram, it’s so fun to send your pictures out into the world. Using Instagram, you can post to twitter or facebook, or both. It’s most fun for when you see something totally wild, beautiful, or random. You can share it with the internet and listen to all your friends relax.

      Of course, I think you would be good at twitter and I would enjoy following you. But I mostly just follow authors I think are funny. Sometimes they remind me when a new book is coming out, but it’s usually books I was already planning to purchase anyways.

  55. I’m not really cut out for Twitter because I rarely think in 140 character bits; I got spoiled by having my first social media be blogging, which killed even the ability to express a thought in 800 words that I’d gotten from writing op-eds. I admire people who are good at epigrams (e.g. F. Scott Fitzgerald) and other one-liners tremendously but it’s not my writing skill. I only joined Twitter at first so I could follow where the good food trucks in NYC were, and I think the first time I wrote anything was when I discovered Laura Kinsale on there and kind of just squeed.

    Now that I don’t blog anymore (for various reasons), all my self-expression gets dumped on Facebook and Twitter. I think if you’re blogging successfully, FB and Twitter are wholly unnecessary. They can even be a little toxic if you find it as difficult to resist feeding trolls as I do. But I hope you will keep up Argh, even if it’s sometimes quiet for a couple weeks at a time. You might best shut up your PR person if you just have a link to your Argh posts auto-publish on Twitter and FB. It doesn’t even have to be new stuff — I don’t know how to do this, but there’s definitely web gadgets that make it so you can have a repository of old posts that periodically get their links repubbed to Twitter, because I’ve seen it on the Twitter feed of a couple traveling the world. If the PR person’s idea is for you to connect with people who are using those very popular media, then I think that would be plenty effective without entailing more work for you. (It is *definitely* the PR person’s job, not yours, to figure out how to promote the words you’re already putting online into more formats.)

  56. Most blogging software allow you to automatically post a “there’s a new article on my blog” link that feeds to both Twitter and Facebook. For those people who live on these social networks, it allows them to be alerted to new content without you actually having to use the services yourself. I don’t do much with Facebook but many people access the content of my site there. I’m more active on Twitter but I also feed links to new blog posts there.

    Its not wholly necessary to use these tools but it can increase participation in your site with the little nudges it can give to remind people you are still out here in the inter-ether.

      1. That’s what I was going to recommend – just let people know that you’ve got a new blog up. There are different options for posting simultaneously on twitter and Facebook.

  57. Last time I checked Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie or Mary Stewart are not tweeting or facbooking or blogging…yet I am still buying and reading their books…..

  58. I love Twitter because I get instant information. I use it for traffic, news and businesses the most. I like how the sources will answer my questions too. To me, much better than FB as I can get an answer fairly quick. I do follow some because their tweets are intelligent and funny. It can be great entertainment and yes, some celebs actually answer back and it is refreshing to know people from a different angle and to see their true answers to things that have been throw out there by the tabloids. I don’t care for FB because I found it is like high school and people turn into the people they were or maybe they never really changed but for me, I don’t enjoy interacting with people that behave like teenagers when they are well into their 40’s. My biggest complaint with FB is businesses that use it as their only means of communication. For instance, “like” us to see our new product, get a sample, see a clip, read an article, etc. Total turn off!

  59. I just gave myself a “social media colonic” the other day. I deleted my Twitter, Tumblr and Goggle+ accounts, all of which I hadn’t logged onto in a year or more. I feel… mellow, I guess, without all that random traffic clogging up my inbox.

    I like Facebook because it moves at my pace – glacial. Twitter rushes by at Mach 42 and I can’t keep up and the jargon irritates the frak out of me. Also, all my friends and family are on FB so it’s just easier for me. Having said that, I don’t use social media to stalk celebrities. That’s why they have blogs. πŸ˜€ I’d rather wait a week for a well thought out/written blog post than catch Turret’s type snippets on Twitter or FB.

    Many roads to Oz and all that… πŸ˜‰

  60. I live on Facebook–I admit it. I was on Facebook before it became the social network to beat MySpace, to tell you the truth. My husband’s cousin’s husband (?!) was writing apps for ti and she messaged me on MySpace and told me to check it out and I have been there ever since. I also Twitter, now that I have a smart phone that can actually do it. I enjoy both, but6 if I had to choose I would have to pick FB, because even though I enjoy Twitter I also find many of the abbreviations maddening and I have no clue what all the hashmarks and stuff are for most of the time! Facebook allows me to keep up with friends and family in one place without having to remember to hop onto numerous pages and blogs spread out over cyberspace… But then, that’s just me. I’m basically lazy and would prefer doing the least amount possible to stay in the loop… πŸ™‚


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