Saturday, July 23, 2011

Non-(google)+ed

I recently jumped into something called “Google+.” I still haven’t figured Twitter out and don’t really know if I want to; as far as Twitter goes, I feel like that proverbial farmer who is watching the south end of his prized possession galloping down the road just as he is getting around to closing the barn door. I accordingly figure that if I jump onto every other platform or whatever its called that becomes the “next big thing” in social networking, I’ll be ahead of the game.

As far as Google+ is concerned, however, I don’t think I’ve quite jumped on entirely; I’m hanging on for dear life to the boxcar door, but the toes of my shoes are dragging along on the tracks, squeezing out sparks.
I don’t quite know what Google+ is, or what it does, or how the heck to use it. I only know that it’s pretty easy to set up once you have a Google account and involves adding people to your circles of friends, colleagues, and associates. It looks to be some sort of cross between Facebook and LinkedIn. I have been added to some peoples’ circles and have added some people to my circles and I already feel inadequate because I have fewer people in my circle than other people I know, like anyone under the age of twenty. I did find a post in the excellent “My Name Is Not Bob” blog by Robert Lee Brewer which is titled “11 Google+ Tips for Writers”
http://robertleebrewer.blogspot.com/2011/07/11-google-tips-for-writers.html?et_mid=511511&rid=3005603 and I cannot understand even half of them. And that’s not the fault of Bo…er, I mean, Robert, either. No, my lack of understanding is due to what I call a PICNIC problem. Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.

The question is: from a professional stanpoint, should I bother? I made a new year’s resolution in 2010 to post to my face book page daily and to read the comments of all my friends, but I quit doing so by March of that year. Part of it was time; at one point I was spending hours reading, commenting and the like, and it became a time bandit. I didn’t really need to know every intimate aspect of the lives of everyone I know and/or care about. And trust me, you DON’T want to know mine. I thought that was what e-mail or the phone was for. But is it worth it for a writer to jump on this new bandwagon? Is anyone paying attention, honestly? Or are there already too many social networks contributing to the chatter? I think it is too early to tell. Accordingly I am circling my friends, but circling the wagons as well. What do you think?

14 comments:

  1. Joe, don't feel bad about new things - you're ahead of me. This is the first I've even heard of Google +. Thanks for letting me know I'm behind in yet one more area.

    This reminds me of when I used to try to keep up on every new thing in computers. Then I realized that it was impossible.

    So I keep up in what it takes to get the job done. For me, at this time, the job is revising my first novel rough draft, which I finally finished. I figure I can think about social networking more as I get closer to making it publishable.

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  2. Joe, unless you're between the ages of 12-24, it's impossible to keep up. If you're not careful, it will consume you and you become lost in the noise.

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  3. Joe,
    I'm so glad to read your post. I thought I was the only one on the planet who hasn't figured out Twitter...
    And as far as Facebook goes, I'm with you there too...I had the same experience - and found it stealing my time away from writing like one of those monstrous industrial cardboard box-eating machines on the loading docks of some SuperMart I don't want to be at anyway.

    How's a girl to keep up with it all?

    For me, reading and posting on The Kill Zone helps me feel connected with the crowd I have the most interest in following. Authors. Thriller writers. You guys.

    I do have a blogspot I'm proud of. If you have the time check out paulamillhousewrites.blogspot.com

    Other than that I'm with Dave. Write. Revise. Write. Revise. Oh, and then, save time to write some more.

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  4. Joe, it's nice to know that someone else feels like tail-end Charlie in the social media race. I'm on Twitter and Facebook because "an author has to have a presence there." Not sure it helps, though. Someone added me to Google+, and I've added a few people to my circles, but I'm not quite sure what to do with them.
    One interesting thing for authors, though. Because I was asked the question and didn't know the answer, I asked a small group of editors and agents if familiarity through seeing their name and comments on social media made them more receptive to queries and proposals from writers. Almost unanimously, the answer was "yes." So our social media presence isn't just to get our names in front of readers, but those that have an equal share of controlling our destiny (and pocketbooks).

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  5. I tried once to find out about Google +, but couldn't find where it's located--seriously! I do know that I'm spending a lot more time on Bing now, because Google removed its Realtime feature. I heard they would relocate it to Google Plus, but never found it. So I'm Binging now.

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  6. I am underwhelmed by the whole social media thing. I do not facebook, twitter, Google+ or anything else.

    I have a blog. That's it. I was so stressed out recently, wondering what was wrong with me, that I couldn't blog daily, tweet, facebook and generally plaster useless words all over the internet constantly. So Stressed, that I finally decided to write down where my time went for a week. After all "everyone" always says we have more free time than we think.

    So I dutifully logged my time for a week and it turned out just as I suspected...day job eats most of the waking hours, the others are divided up between the mundanes of life, a few hours eeked out for writing and a few for leisure.

    Given that, I just can't afford to dilute myself any further by spending time on social media. I stay exhausted as it is.

    So if people want me, they know my blog and my email.

    When the time is right, I'll shift to some social media, but that time is not now.

    BK Jackson

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  7. And then did everyone read about the Facebook Creep today?

    Truth can be alot weirder than fiction, ey?

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  8. Rule #1: Specialize.

    Don't try to be all things to all platforms.

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  9. I'm slightly different from the rest of your audience on this one; 1. I work in a field that requires the obsessive use of all social media platforms and 2. I am a horrible writer who occasionally has delusions of writing.

    You don't need Google+. Any social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) can be used to build your reputation and market your products through engagement with others (not by pushing your product all the time--only some of the time).

    That being said, there are a couple of "rules" that I follow:

    1. 95% of the time, don't be personal.

    This isn't to say that you shouldn't have conversations or anything like that, but avoid posting intimate things.

    Most of what I read on my feeds, never go into that.

    2. You have to plan.

    Only keep up with those who you benefit from in some way (they provide insights you enjoy, for example).

    And comment only where you feel as if you have anything to add to a subject.

    3. Don't worry about "paying it back."

    Unless you really feel as if you should share or respond to something--do yourself a favor and don't.

    4. Set goals, but be realistic.

    You can honestly market your work wonderfully if you use only Twitter and your blog.

    Provide insights in the field, share those on Twitter, and share related material that you've read from others.

    And don't try to do too much. Most people have lives and they realize that you do, too.

    Conclusion -

    Does that make sense? I tried for clarity and brevity, but if I didn't succeed somewhere, ask away.

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  10. I really appreciate all of these comments, for so many reasons, not the least of which is that I realize I have some like-minded souls out there. Thank you. And that goes double for you, Kathryn!
    For some reason Google doesn't list Google+ with all of their other features (I think it's because it's a beta program, and I still haven't quite figured out what that means, either) but when I do a search for it my page pops right up. How about that?

    I think I'll confine myself to e-mail and the like. Thank you all!

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  11. Shad, those tips are helpful and I will keep them in mind when I venture into the social media. You definitely have to have a plan to manage the social media monster.

    BK Jackson

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  12. I'm holding off on this new venture until I hear other writers talk about it. It's just another place to keep up with as far as I'm concerned, and it's hard enough to follow all my sites as it is. Since you're one of the first among us to jump onto Google +, you can invite us to join your circle. :)

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  13. I am a deer in the headlights. I twittered last week for the first time and nothing happened. I am confused. I am old.

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  14. I know you can get a "push" app that will take your one post on facebook or twitter and push the post to your other social media sites . . . let me do some homework on this!

    Be right back . . .

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