G+ Circles–Good Idea for Writers or High School Revisited?
Welcome to WANA Wednesday, the day I dedicate to helping you rock it hard when it comes to social media and building an author platform. Earlier in the summer, I offered my initial thoughts on Google + and introduced you to the Inner Kristen Lamb…who happens to be a 58 year old Jewish woman from Long Island, NY.
Long story short, the idea of yet another social media platform had me feeling more than a tad verklempt. Tawk amongst yuhselves.
See, this is the thing. I am not a social media expert. I am the social media expert for writers. HUGE difference. I’m not here to say if G+is good or bad. I am here to relay whether G+ makes sense for writers wanting to build an author platform. So as promised….
More Thoughts on G+
Since all the Internet was abuzz about G+ and how it was going to deliver us to the Digital Promised Land of Milk and Honey, I had to at least take a look. G+ looks really nice and wonderful, but is it worth writers pulling up stakes on Facebook and Twitter? Is it really worth building yet another platform when we could be doing something productive…like writing more great books that make money?
G+, to me, is Facebook with a different skin and no ads…yet.
Oh, but they have circles.
Yes, and Facebook has lists. Writers have been all excited because they can categorize people and only share certain information with certain people. Well, um, Facebook lets us do that, too. Granted it might not be as fun and primitive as dragging people into circles…
Sorry about the head. I had to knock you unconscious so I could drag you into “People I Really Never Want to Talk to and Who I Wouldn’t Put Out if They Were on Fire Circle” without you knowing.
Am I the only one who feels weird that someone is dragging me anywhere? I think I have a digital wedgie. But that is beside the point.
The circle thing might seem cool and different, but let’s talk about why categorizing people might not work well for writers trying to build an author platform.
Careful. Circles can create cliques.
I think that we often underestimate other people. We often feel they wouldn’t care about a certain subject, so we don’t want to bother them with that information. The strange thing is, though, that information you are hiding is the very information that can make you unique.
Bear with me.
On G+ I assume most everyone is dragging me into a Fellow Writer Circle. Why? Because ALL I SEE are book trailers, publishing news, blogs about writing and I kinda want to slam my head in a door. One of the things I love about Facebook and Twitter (and especially about #MyWANA) is that I can get a peek into other writer’s LIVES. THAT is what stands out in the din of “What is the Future of E-Books?” and “What is Your Plotting Style?”
You know. Sometimes I just want to see a video of a cat falling in the toilet bowl. I dig baby pictures and tweets about #SockNarnia (the magical land inhabited by missing socks). I like knowing other writers as humans, too.
Frankly, G+ is boring me half to death since others are “assuming” that I don’t care about their family trip to the beach. It is this invitation into your lives that makes you stick out in my head as a person. It makes me LIKE you….and want to support you. I actually DO care about YOU.
***This personal stuff is what makes someone we don’t know eventually become a friend, btw.
I know I’m in my friends’ circles, but they were already my friends. I am on social media to make NEW friends. But I don’t sit at the right table circle.
I assume I might not be the only one who feels this way. Who knows? Maybe you have slated all the agents into an Agent Circle and assumed they don’t want to see a squirrel with its head stuck in a yogurt cup. Hey, they’re agents, not overworked humans who might like a good laugh and who might actually remember us because we talked about something other than writing, publishing, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Being professional doesn’t mean we have to be boring.
But even though I bring this up, now I feel weird exposing everybody to Spiders on Drugs because G+ is all about the circles and we are supposed to keep people in neat little boxes.
Crap! I need to be organized! Throw them in the tub on top of the laundry and pull the shower curtain. I’ll get to it on the weekend.
Circles can also create chaos.
Of course, with a zillion people all adding me at once, my Circles look like my kitchen drawer…everything is thrown in one place because I am too lazy to go through all that and organize. So if you don’t want to see Cows with Guns then just drag me into the People I Want to Ignore Circle and I will talk about you in therapy.
Oh sure, I am certain there is some G+ video to teach me proper Circle Dragging Form that doesn’t make my computer cough up a hairball, but I have deadlines to meet, blogs to write, and there is this great clip about ADHD HDTV.
Normal people who work regular jobs don’t have a bazillion people in their network, so Circle Organizing is easy. I don’t mean to complain because I am thrilled you guys have come looking for me, but you are all in ONE CIRCLE—Kristen’s Peeps (I.e. Miscellaneous). Yeah, I’m creative.
And, like my closet and garage, I will get organized…one day. Don’t hold your breath, though :D.
We Never Know Who Is Paying Attention
Just like other writers want to see some of our personal life, people in our personal life actually DO pay attention to our writing stuff. Never underestimate who is watching. One of my most enthusiastic fans works in the office of my son’s pediatrician, and she is NOT, btw, an aspiring writer. She’s bought books for all her family members who want to write and she talks about me to anyone who will listen. I am the only writer she knows, and she is thrilled to help me any way she can (Thanks, RaNae).
Oh, but what if I had just assumed she didn’t want to hear about my writing stuff?
Thing is, most people want to write a book or they are at least in awe of those who can. Years ago, before I was a published author, I used to blog on MySpace. A woman I had never met recognized my name at Dillard’s and told me she was a HUGE fan of my blog. She sold Mac cosmetics. She also later bought WANA , because I was the only writer she’d ever met.
See, when we post about writing, it helps non-writers (which is code for potential readers) start to think of us as committed, professional authors and exposes them to our…writing. That is the first step to creating an author brand. It’s also a great step toward our friends and family taking us seriously.
When we post on more personal things, we connect to those in our profession as people. We stand out in the commotion of Smashwords, deadlines, character sheets and Amazon.
Writers are Public Personalities
Oh, but what about the really personal stuff?
My advice? Don’t put it on the Internet. Period. Circles won’t protect us. As Digital Age Authors, we must live transparent lives. If we wouldn’t want our mother to see it, we shouldn’t post it. It is too easy for something to get out of control. I know G+ pops up a nice reminder, but it also tattles on the person who originally posted. So, we are depending on others to have discretion.
That is really risky.
We shouldn’t be ranting about religion or politics anyway, unless religion or politics is our platform. If we happen to be Glen Beck or Bill Maher, we can foam all we like. It helps book sales. That uber-personal stuff that could turn others off? Like whining about another rejection letter? Just don’t post it. Call a real friend. They can bring brownies.
Most people aren’t going to mind a degree of us being personal. It separates us from the bots. So long as we aren’t sharing details best left in conversations at a nursing home, it’s all good. We know you are human, and we kinda dig that.
So at the end of the day, I think G+ is nice. I just don’t see any tremendous advantages that make it worth writers pulling up stakes and moving. MySpace? Yeah, people needed to flee. MySpace turned like a crazy ex, and we needed to run away. MySpace was broken. Writers needed to change addresses so people could see our content without crashing their computers (Yes, feel free to igrore all 8 pages about MySpace in WANA–MySpace committed digital suicide 2 weeks after the book was released).
But Facebook? Twitter? I can’t really see anything they are doing so wrong that warrants a mass migration.
I think G+ is fantastic for normal people who need to segment their lives. Writers are not normal. Yeah, shocking. We need to build a massive platform to drive book sales. So our platform has to fit that end goal. Segmenting is seriously counterproductive. If you love, G+, ROCK ON! Social media has different strokes for different folks. Just be careful you aren’t alienating others by going circle crazy.
G+ has yet to deliver anything SO earth-shattering that I would advise moving…yet. I am still working with it, so maybe my mind will change about G+. My mind, however, will not change about grouping people. I think as writers trying to build a platform, we need all the connections we can get. Give people a chance. Most of the time, they will impress you.
So what are your thoughts? Have you found some feature of G+ that totally warrants mass migration and I missed it? Do you think writers should keep their writing private (along with their experiences of a fiber-rich diet)? What is getting too personal? Do you like meeting other writers as people? Or do you think it should be business only?
I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of July, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of August I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.
In the meantime, I hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.
Mash Up of Awesomeness
Roni Loren’s Getting the Most Bang for Your Blog
Suzan Isik’s On Not Being a Douchebag Writer on Social Media
Terrell Mims Letting Go to Climb Higher
Angela Wallace Propane Torches and “I Told You So”
Anne R. Allen What Will Publishing Look Like in 2021?
Ali Dent’s Gifted vs. Hard Work
Naomi Bulger’s What’s Wednedsday Without…Time Travel?
Angela Orlowski’s Celebrate Your Milestones
Elena Aitken’s Do You Dance Like No One’s Watching?
New to WordPress? Check out the Awesome Bling Bitch Herself, Amy Shojai’s wonderful mash-up of the best WordPress How To blogs
Do You Still Want Your MTV? by Barbara McDowell
Do You Have a Pen Fetish? by Lesann Berry
List Making and the Creative Process by WD Editor Jane Friedman
Awesome post by Gene Lempp Superstition, Legend and Mystery
Piper Bayard’s HYSTERICAL Help! I’m Torn Between Two Men
Jenny Hansen’s Do Writers Need Presentation Skills?
OMG! There is SO MUCH GOOD STUFF out there, especially now that I have pried many writers from writing about writing all the time. LOVE IT!!! If I missed some greatness, feel free to post it in the comments.