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  1. Well my modem is broken so I have limited access on my phone and right now I’m using the library computer, so I’m a bit weirded out trying to keep in touch at all lol. I have been thinking of coming away from Facebook but I can see so many benefits, I ought not to, especially now I have loads more time to write. I am confused with whether or not we are allowed to have a personal FB account and use it as a writer. A few people say you aren’t allowed but most people seem to ignore that. Are we allowed? I definitely aren’t bothered with an author page anymore, but getting rid of that is like trying to come off FB virtually impossible. I think I’ll use it enough that I don’t lose touch, but spend most time on blog, twitter and the lovely Pinterest 🙂 It’s fun looking for WANAs in all these places, like hide and seek.

  2. You are so right. I’ve been on Twitter for a year and a half (thanks to you), but I didn’t get it (in spite of you). I followed whoever followed me. I’d tweet my blog posts and I’d tweet about particularly good blogs of others that I read from time to time, but I wasn’t connected. I went through my tweeps yesterday and tried to understand who they were, following their blogs if they sounded interesting and deleting some bots. I can’t say that I’m finally connected, but it doesn’t feel like such a strange world and already I’m seeing new visitors to my blog. Thanks for being there and reminding us what we should be doing.

  3. I think part of the problem is that the market for self-published books is over-saturated right now. I’m a noob at this, but it seems that there almost as many authors on Goodreads as there are readers.

  4. And now…the telemarketers are invading the cell phone realm.

    As far as connecting on social media, the last best hope seems to be Facebook, at least for me.

    1. I’m shaking my head yes, Tommie. Get this! Yesterday, I was doing errands and needed to call information to get a number for a local business. Oh, what’s this? Before I am even given the number, I must listen to an advertisement in its entirety.

      No thanks.

      Great post today, Kristen! I’ll link it on next week’s blog post. 🙂

    • Jae on September 5, 2012 at 11:09 am
    • Reply

    You’re spot on with these social media posts. I don’t mind if a fellow Tweep wants to push their book every now and again, but I’d also like to see real posts from a real person. And like in an earlier post you made, if they have a creepy let’s be BFFs automated reply, I’m quickly going to unfollow them. If it isn’t about relationships then it likely isn’t doing us any good. I’m a lot more interested in following and reading, for example, Kristen Lamb because I know she actually interacts with her followers and is a real person vs. someone who probably couldn’t care less whether I was there or not. So thanks for being our shining example Kristen!

  5. If all you ever do (?) is yammer on about your book(s), no one will listen. People usually buy your books if they want to hear more of your ideas and how you express them. “Buy my book” is hardly a deep or original thought, so anyone who resorts to that level isnt a writer I’d spend money on.

    I use Facebook and LinkedIn to promote some of my blog posts. I now find good story ideas for my journalism and some sources as well on Facebook. I don’t tweet. I wish FB wasn’t so riddled with sad-eyed photos of dogs that will be killed that day if i don’t fly to some distant state to adopt them and stupid political rants. But I hang out there because working alone at home all day gets lonely.

    I agree that conversation is the ideal. I comment on every post on my blog but don’t have hours every day to do the same for new-to-me blogs. The ones I follow, yes.

  6. I am old enough to remember when it was fun to hear the doorbell ring, but now we’re even suspicious of people who do that. Until we see look out, and see it’s a favored neighbor, or surprise floral delivery. We need to find our author “peephole” and hopefully when people see it’s from us, yank open the door!

    Here’s to finding your peep(hole)s! (This may need some work LOL!)

    • annerallen on September 5, 2012 at 11:24 am
    • Reply

    Brilliant analysis. The “buy my book” Twits are the telemarketers of social media. So are people who start a new Facebook page for every book launch. (My new pet peeve.)

    This is because–as you say– “Humans are wired to be social, not just to part with cash to buy more stuff.”

    I know a little old lady whose neighborhood shops all disappeared when Walmart and Target came to town. Now she goes to Walmart and Target every day, comes home with bags full of stuff, then returns them the next day. She’s looking for the social interaction she used to have in neighborhood shops. All she gets now is opportunities to “part with cash and buy more stuff”–stuff she can’t fit in her tiny house.

    Her empty “big box” life is like living in MySpace. Thanks for this wise (and as always, witty) advice.

    1. The story about the lady going to Walmart actually made me a bit teary (damn PMT). It reminds me so much of my gran who pretty much only had me, my husband and her two carers at her funeral. She lived for the latest tat from the Avon lady or Betterware magazines stuffed through her letterbox. I feel like that online now when I am hounded by adverts rather creepily showing me products I Googled earlier on. It’s like being stalked.

      I still enjoy Facebook on my personal site where I am only connected to friends and family, but I don’t enjoy Twitter at all. I have tried to engage but so many people I follow just post links to photos, blogs or other things and as I often connect on my (not-very-smart) phone I can’t go through to the links so it’s pretty pointless.

  7. Thanks for the reminder that social media is about CONVERSATION and not just about promotion. You need to be genuinely interested in others and respond to their interests to make inroads.

    Good article.

  8. Thank you for introducing me to and explaining Metcalf’s Law. There are so many out there who have jumped on the automation band wagon, but you are right, if everyone is automating, who would be there to read? We got into social media for social interaction. If the social interaction isn’t there, we WILL go elsewhere and so everyone else.

  9. Just started using social media for my first book that released on Amazon 8/16/12. Since then, I’ve been using WANA to get things rolling, but I’m fascinated by the sheer volume of stuff I’m receiving, mostly
    from other authors. I understand the value of being connected to as many people as possible, but boy, there’s no way to really connect with this many.

  10. I love your analogies, Kristen. Right on! We need more Johnny Appleseed folks on social media sites, for sure!

  11. Your method of garnishing interaction (at the end of the post) is pretty slick! 🙂 I was already planning to comment *anyway*… just to say…


    nailing it like that! You picked a subject anyone here could relate to, socializing, then informed about redwoods, and meanwhile chopped The Rise of the Machine into itty bitty gears and springs of Soul Portals Destroyed by Salesmen with a cleaver. I appreciate the 1/3 writing formula. Will definitely be back, My Lady!

  12. You are so right and the clear-cutting analogy is right on. I never went on Myspace, but I am beginning to feel the revulsion of spamming on Facebook with all the ads flashing and dancing with every ‘real’ post. I erred with Triberr but began to feel icky for having to send out Tweets for the ever increasing barrage of people I didn’t know. I stopped when I went to sign in one day and the only way I could was if I agreed to allow them to post my comments to Facebook and where ever they wanted in my name. WHAT? That’s when what you are saying hit me up-side-the head. As ever, I bow to your social media wisdom.

  13. Fantastic points. And that’s a more concise and clear explanation of why not to use social media for just marketing than any other I’ve seen. Thanks!

    1. Also, adding this to my “Publishing News” post (Friday 9/7 at 10am), because the more people who read it, the less likely we end up with a clear-cut Twitter. Not that I’ve really gotten the hang of Twitter yet, but still. I’m working on it and don’t want to start all over…

  14. I started my blog because I had something to SAY, but the first thing I had to learn was the value of LISTENING to my fellow bloggers…
    I have to tell you, young lady, you’re one smart cookie! You speak the truth – always – and you make more sense than most voices on the ‘net these days.
    Thank you for enlightening me – again!

  15. I really enjoy Twitter and don’t mind receiving posts about so-and-so’s book as long as it’s mixed with other content and conversation. I’ve found some interesting novels that way and made several good friends that I now interact with regularly.

    Because you mentioned social sites in general, I’d like to mention something I find appalling. I recently joined a social site for writers and bloggers. I set up a profile page and introduced myself, commenting only that I was a writer who also enjoyed reading and interacting with other readers and writers. Keep in mind I was brand new to this site and still feeling my way around.I made no mention of my book release, website or blog.

    Within hours, my inbox was bombarded (no other word to describe it) by people basically saying “Hi, welcome. Please follow my blog at: (insert name) or buy my new release (insert title). Many times they were thoughtful enough *ahem* to include “I’m new here too.”

    Gee. How nice of them to ‘welcome’ me 🙂

    I’m thinking of dropping off the site because in the short time I’ve been there it appears to be an endless string of spam. I know that somewhere buried beneath all that, I might find benefit, but I’m not sure I have the ambition or desire to work through it.

    I’ve made one good connection on a personal level and am now cross-promoting with that author because we made a connection first, then discussed our writing and books!

    1. No idea. It is one of the reasons I don’t spend a lot of time at Goodreads. I get a lot of self-pubbed writer spam. If this site is WANATribe, just let me know who is doing it and I will reprimand/suspend them.

  16. Nope, not WANATribe, Kristen. I’ve joined there too, but am a bit lost. Don’t worry . . . I’ll figure it out! Thanks for being concerned enough to ask.

    1. Just find a tribe that suits your interests (or create one). Most of the activity happens in the individual tribes. I love interacting in WANAFit, so that might be a great place to get your feet wet :D. And good to know it wasn’t WANATribe…though I had my “smite” button ready.

      1. Thanks for the advice, Kristen. Much appreciated, and glad to know you didn’t have to use the dreaded smite, LOL

    • Tamara LeBlanc on September 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm
    • Reply

    About five years ago, maybe more, we got rid of our home phone. No land lines at all, just cell phones. Best choice we ever made. The annoying ring ring ringing of gutter, newspaper, and lawn service sales calls went the way of the Thylacine ( I like to shake things up…Dodo is too cliche 🙂
    It was wonderful. We only got calls from family and close friends. But for some reason, though I’m careful to ask if businesses share info when I give a phone number, the calls have been trickling in again.
    Grrrr, what’s up with that?
    I love the part you mentioned about the law of the fax machine. Never thought of it that way before, but that definitely makes sense.
    I also love Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. They’re really the only social media I touch, except for blogs.
    It’s a shame what happened to MySpace. I was only on it for about a year before I gave up and moved on. Hopefully my favorite SM won’t fall victim to the Sam fate.
    Thanks so much for your wisdom, Kristen, and thank you also for connecting me with Michele. What an amazing woman. What a fantastic inspiration. I enjoyed speaking with her very much!
    Have a great evening!

    • malindalou on September 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm
    • Reply

    I live by the rule of three on Twitter. I too miss MySpace at times. I don’t miss the way my computer used to freak out every time I tried to load it, due to the bloat of its ads.

  17. Important points, Kristen! There are some people who use Twitter and Facebook so often with the same kind of message it gets tiresome, and the reader stops looking at them.

  18. “Sort of like a four-year degree is still valuable, but it is no longer a guarantee to a high-paying job” …boy don’t I know that. I’m beginning to think my BS degree (heh…BS) is more of a liability than an asset at this point. But I digress.

    I’ll admit I got on Twitter with the idea of building a network and selling books. Now that I’ve found a whole group of cool people to talk with and share ideas that is less important. I found that automating tweets, regardless of how much or how little I did it, didn’t help much at all. Book sales were no different, and the blog got maybe five extra views in a given day. So, unless it was something new, big, or funny I stopped sharing my own links. Simple SEO did more for my blog (that and tinkering with the content a bit) than tweeting about it. All I reaped from automated tweeting was a mild hassle and annoyance. I should add that I wasn’t a spammer in the traditional sense because I tweeted no more than once an hour, and then for about a ten hour stretch. And I actually talked to people in the mean time, haha.

    Probably what happens is that spammers get caught in a vicious cycle of frustration. They start off with dollar signs in their eyes, but soon find that their sales are lack luster. Frustrated, that makes them pump out MORE spam in the hopes that more people will buy. So on and so forth until you get a bog of quivering, pink, gelatinous food product rather than a twitter timeline. It probably leads a lot of authors (especially self pubbed authors) to give up, which is a shame because there are many good ones out there, despite the group’s bad reputation.

  19. Twitter has become, in my opinion, a downfall of author platforms. It’s so clogged with spammers, always promoting their book, but not themselves. It drives me crazy! I barely get on twitter anymore because of this and I unfollowed a lot of people because I realized they were never going to do anything but try and make money.

    I wrote about this today in my own blog and I really think these spammers are killing the indie author image. Self promotion is good every once in a while, but constantly tweeting about your book is ridiculous.

  20. Ha. I used to be one of the biggest bloggers on myspace. Thousands of subscribers, etc. I had an exceptional run, but I quit one day. They kept changing the platform, and spam was ever-present. It just seems that people overrun these places with their garbage, and these people inevitably pollute every “free” social site there is. Making it cost money would help, but then no one would go there, so maybe we have to take the bad with the good, or just migrate periodically to whatever the new social site of the day is. Just like the inevitable spam we see in our email boxes, and just as we accept the commercials they run on our favorite show, we just have to accommodate the fact that such advertising will be present in all our mediums, and is something we must tolerate. There is no full escape from it. I imagine the migration to new sites will continue, as will the inherent problems that come with social media.

  21. I like social media, discovering information that I might have never come across yet at the same time I hate it as well. What I had is that I’ve yet to develop the ability to have a conversation on it. First personal is that it feels impersonal.

  22. Kristen,
    I really appreciate your historical perspective here. Your argument is spot-on! Thanks so much for your passion for social media. We do have to protect these platforms from clear-cutting.

    I often equate some of these spamming activities to road rage. Most people would never behave in a social setting the way they do behind the wheel of a car – somehow feeling isolated from others. And most people typically would not attend a party and try to sell their book/product/service to everyone they met, but they seem to feel isolated enough in web platforms to do exactly that.

    As a relatively new blogger, I have found that community to be mostly free of overt selling behavior, I think mainly because of the time and energy commitment it takes to build a following and the quality of the relationships that develop in the blogosphere. I hope it stays that way.

  23. Oh I don’t miss Myspace one bit, my computer hated it! Too many ads, a slow connection and I’m sitting there saying, “sometime today would be nice.” But seriously I’m getting to grips with Twitter, am taking a leaf out of your book, just not actually tearing! I’m typing in hashtags like mywana or amwritiing to try and read the posts I want to read instead of please buy my book! I bought The Ruby Curse by Makayla Yokely because I went to her online book launch. I wanted to encourage her and support her and not once did she say please buy my book. Let’s be honest here, we’re authors, we write books, we’re not making smartphones that look similar, so we can support each other, promote each other. People buy different books for different reasons and get different messages out of these books.
    I’m liking the article because I think you’re onto something much bigger and unlike the economic climate today, this isn’t about short term profit but long term investment in each other and our own careers. Keep on writing Kristen, you’re starting to get through to me.

  24. excellent post, Kristen, you keep getting better and awesome(r) 😉
    but seriously, you’re so right, even with a TweetDeck I struggle to weed out a good content from the piles of spam tweets. I’m using Twitter and other social media a bit less now, I got the info overdose lately (but your blog is on my bookmarks tab)

    1. oops, I said weed out a good content ha ha, oh my poor brain doesn’t work anymore…

  25. Great advice:-) Although I must say I still adore newsletters and wish they’d make a comeback!!!

  26. As always you cut to the chase, Kristen. I’m not clever enough to know how to do the automatic spam…so I re-tweet and comment and thank. I want the ‘human’ contact and to share my writing journey with others so we can compare and learn from each other.

  27. I wish Facebook would cut down on all the ads. It’s weird to see so many with my friends’ names emblazoned across the top – as though they fwd’ed the page to me, directly. First time I saw that I wondered “What the heck is so-and-so doing that for? They know I hate that company/brand/whatever.” Ugh.

    I definitely want to connect with folks through social media, rather than spam them with what I’ve been doing, what blog posts I’ve written, etc., etc. I would just like to have some real face-time with my friends instead of scrolling through the pages of FarmVille “awards” and the like, too.

    Even Twitter’s “sponsored tweets” Wha? Huh? When did that start happening?! I feel out of touch. I want to find new readers and find new writers – but not wade through the marketing dross. How do you reach out without sounding like some creepy stalker?

    • theinnerwildkat on September 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm
    • Reply

    You know, it wasn’t till I read this that I realized…you’re absolutely right! I quit MySpace because the advertising and spam were the last straw. The other thing that turned me off was all the sickos and pervs who would randomly hit on me.
    I also quit cherrytap/fubar because it was Nothing but a glorified meat market.
    LinkedIN isn’t very interesting.
    No idea what Google+ will turn into.

  28. Enjoyed the read Kristen.

    I’ve been writing long enough to remember the feel of a Bic pen in my hands and developing a strange friction wart between my fingers from writing so much longhand.

    And oh yeah—damnit– I used to smoke a pack of Salems daily while I was writing. What writer wouldn’t?

    I lit up when I started–to get the creative gasses ignited. I smoked during– to keep the inspiration glowing white hot. And I had a celebratory puff at the conclusion.

    Introduce the typewriter. No I didn’t actually proceed this device from the 1800’s but for many years I much preferred composing in long hand, pages and pages in long hand, notebooks filled with flowing longhand– and only jumping on the typewriter to finish.

    There was something antiseptic and foreign about composing with a typewriter. I was lost without pen and paper. I was a fiction writer. I was no fedora wearing ace journalist with tomorrow’s deadline to meet, finger tapping out a mandatory human interest piece.

    Jump ahead a decade or two: I remember the day that somebody mentioned this new contraption called a word processor. No, not a computer program but an entire computer like device that did only one thing—processed writing.

    We writers debated whether or not this device, apparently invented by Satan–would corrupt writers with its fancy-schmancy editing features and hard disk.

    Paper would die. Pens would perish. Writers would croak.

    More time passed:

    I stopped smoking—and transitioned to Ms. Word. (Who needs to smoke if you’re not writing the old fashioned way?)

    I went digital and loved it.

    Shame of it is, other than occasionally signing my name, I can’t even imagine trying to write anything in long hand now.

    Bear with me here: Somewhere in my rambling there’s a point. Hold on while I look for it. Oh yeah, something about if we don’t wind up assimilating, adjusting, accepting new things–we risk becoming dinosaurs.

    We wind up becoming that old guy who sits on a bench in the park and bores scampering grandchildren with his moth eaten revelries, prefacing his mad pronouncements with Dadgummit! And rants on about how, in his day, candy bars were a nickel, if you diddled a girl you had to marry her, and…writers wrote with pens.

  29. My husband and I rarely watch TV, but when we do, we usually watch a program we have recorded. Why? Because this way we can zip through the commercials. There are so many of them and now with the political season upon us, I don’t want to listen to the ugliness. So until after the election, I’m avoiding TV unless I’ve recorded my program. This is exactly what happened to the telephone and the television networks would be wise to pay attention. I still have a landline, but I have an answering machine that tells me who is calling. If you’re not family or friends, I don’t pick up.

    Great post. I’m new to Twitter and Wanna, how do you get a conversation going? I don’t want to be one of those people who do nothing but post about their blog, their book, etc. but I haven’t been able to get a conversation going. Any ideas?

  30. I’m not very ‘chatty’ on social networks. I blog for writers, about writing, and use Facebook, etc to say when a new post is up. But I’m a bit shy of updating my status to say what I’m up to in life. I enjoy reading other blogs, as there are so many articles with good content out there (like yours). You’re so right to say social networks aren’t such a good place to ‘hard’ sell books. For me they’re more about sharing the good things that are out there with my friends and colleagues.

    • CTW on September 6, 2012 at 9:46 am
    • Reply

    Wow — very good post. This line especially:

    “We must appreciate that spammers have clear-cut the e-mail environment, and now the harvest isn’t what it used to be.”

    When email first started, I used to enjoy receiving email. Now I dread it. Yet another black hole in which my precious time, energy, and attention disappears…I’m sure most people feel the same way about email.

    Thanks again, Kristen, for this post! I enjoy your website!


  31. Well said… I’ve only been twittering for a couple of weeks and joined the #mywana. I’m a very social person, so I get excited when I see a real time conversation going on. All of the spammy stuff…I just skate right over ’em.

  32. Got a friend whose Twitter jumped from 70 followers to over 30k in a weekend. It was ridiculous. He never used to tweet. Never responded to tweets. Anything. Had breakfast with him the next week, and he said he had a SM guru friend who was doing an experiment with his account, basically using RSS feeds to gain followers. Literally, his twitter feed is list of random article links.

    He still hardly ever tweets anything personal. Never responds to tweets. And yet he has thousands and thousands of followers. …TO WHAT END? He’s not even using his Twitter presence to further his career. It just sits there. I’m still following, because he’s my friend. But I did send him this post. Hopefully he’ll get the hint (and by “hint” I of course mean “slap in the face with a wet salmon of duh”).

    Thanks again, Kristen, for sharing your insights. Been away for a while, but looking forward to getting back into your crazy little world here.

  33. I’m hoping we can salvage Twitter because it’s such a great place to connect. We just need to spread the word that spam isn’t welcome (which is what this post is doing, of course :D).

    I see the value in programs like Triberr, which can be misused too. I went a little wild with it in the beginning, until I realized that was not really helping anybody. Now, I use it to keep up with lots of great bloggers and easily share posts that I’ve read and found interesting. I tweet out from Tribber a lot less, which may dismay some tribemates (though nobody has complained to me about it) but each tweet has more impact (at least I hope so).

  34. Your article expresses exactly what my experience is. Our home phone gets attacked by those PPI-Claim companies (PPI is protection insurance on credit cards ect that often have been sold without the customer knowing so now you can get refund which those companies claim to give you) which annoys us enormously because we can’t claim anything back and if so would not do it with them. So no one can reach us on the home phone as we never go on it and the answering machine does not work properly somehow.

    I love Twitter. With Facebook I am a bit on the war path as I do not like their policy of changing everything constantly and often to the worse for data protection. Still I am on there because it still gives me the chance to stay in contact with friends I can not contact otherwise. And I love two groups on there that I would not want to miss. It is still social for me somehow :-).

    Twitter and me proofs you right as well. I am quite connected to a few people and we talk often. But sometimes I do not find the time to talk and only WordPress is posting my blog entries and soon I am out of the conversations and feel (please don’t laugh 😉 ) lonely. Well, thankfully I have a real life too…..

    Especially Twitter has been very beneficial for my writing experience as it gives me many tips on writing and on blogs about writing. Without Twitter I would never have come across your blog or WANA. But that only worked as I took some time to be social on there. Take care…

    • Pat on September 7, 2012 at 4:09 am
    • Reply

    ‘Invasion of the marketers’ – invasion is right. Even when someone comes and likes a post, when you take a trip to their blog, it often turns out they are just selling their book or their photographs. And as for Twitter…. It just gets boring.
    But there is plenty of good stuff too. I realise I just have to hang in there with the goodies!

    • Brianna Soloski on September 7, 2012 at 9:55 am
    • Reply

    I’ve taken to unfollowing/hiding/unfriending people if they get too spammy and annoying. I don’t have the time or patience to listen to people whine. I get enough of that in real life. People don’t like the status quo, but they won’t do anything to change it. They’d rather just sit around and complain to anyone who will listen, or even to anyone who doesn’t want to listen.

  35. So true, Kristen. When I first joined Twitter, I liked the friendliness and soon realized what most people have mentioned here: self-promoting messages. However, I have found several strong connections that have turned into good friends. That alone makes it worthwhile.

  36. I’ve found that I’m using lists more – identifying writers who aren’t just spamming their own books but post links to other great content. If I’m too busy, I just scan my ‘read-’em’ list. What bugs me the most is those who follow up with a DM after I follow them and suggest I should go check out their brilliant work. What a turn off!

  37. Hi Kristen, I put a subscribe box on my website, for fans to sign up for the newsletter. And one of the girls on my Writing for Children tribe said, ‘be careful people don’t treat it like spam’. From then on, I noticed how often I, too, automatically hit delete over most of the stuff in my Inbox every day. I went back and took the subscribe box off my site and just added my email address instead. It was an instant relief. I don’t want to start up my own newsletter when I can’t be bothered reading them, myself. There are more important things to do. I have way more fun on Facebook, Pinterest and WANA!

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