Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, dispels some of the myths that make Facebook so frightening to a newbie (like this blog owner) and makes it look easy.
A friend of mine has finally decided to tip her toe in the waters of social media. The problem is, she wants to make it harder than it really is.
. “I’ve been trying to learn how to make one. I know I need to have a blog. I have plenty to say. I don’t understand Twitter. Is that something else I need to have? Why does it have to be so darn difficult?”
Because you make it so.
The word’s been out for some time that Facebook is replacing personal websites. I still maintain one, or rather my webmistress does. She doesn’t work cheap and I don’t update often. I have it because I’m an author and people want to see what I look like, read my bio and peruse my book covers. I still look at websites of authors but primarily to write my “Coming Attractions” column for Kings River Life.
I don’t tweet. There’s nothing I want to say in so few words.
I don’t have a blog. Early on, I saw the pitfalls. At first there seems like so much to expound on. Then you run out of steam. You have to make a decision to continue to write or spend all your brain cells blogging. What eventually happens is you invite others to blog on your site, basically giving them publicity at your expense. Instead, I selectively chose two blogs to invest in, this being one of them. It’s like having a favorite chair in someone’s living room where you are always invited and the conversation is good. Thanks, Lelia!
What I told my friend is “Get on Facebook.” I know people who resist, who don’t find value in the site. I also know at least one person who is addicted. Like anything else, Facebook should be managed in a way that fits each person’s lifestyle and needs.
Here’s how I handle FB:
I open it up every morning. I make sure to post something daily. Since not much happens in my 24 hr periods, I usually post a “meme.” Took me awhile to figure out where everyone was getting these funny, yet telling, cartoons and sayings. I finally realized that by clicking on one, it has an arrow sending you to the next one. Or, I hit “share” on ones I particularly like and get them over to my page. I also learned to “share” privately on the pages of others to post things I wouldn’t necessarily want to tarnish my public image.
When not posting fun stuff, I post links to my blogs and health updates. My friends and peers have followed my journey through kidney disease and dialysis with unrelenting loyalty. I try to make the posts amusing and reassuring. I also seek to replace fear and misinformation with hope and education.
I scroll through to see how many “likes” I get, how many shares. “Likes” are more of an acknowledgment that the post has been read, a shorthand when no message is needed. About once a week I go on “home” where all my friends have posted, quickly run through a few pages to let them know I’m checking in. Sometimes I go to their personal pages to check things out. FB shouldn’t be a one-way street.
I’m very tactical about “friending.” When someone chimes in with a response to a blog I’ve posted, I will seek them out and personally thank them and friend them at the same time. When I promote an author in my column, I notify them via FB and friend them if they thank me. Hard to turn down a person who has done you a solid.
Photos. My friend is confused where they come from, how to post them. The little camera icon, I told her. All those fantastic pics of Europe from your trips. Personal milestones. Open up your life to us, or at least as much as you’d like us to see.
That’s the thing about FB. It really is less about promotion and more about building friendships. These cyber friends are real to me. I would love to meet them someday, but for now I simply like being part of their lives. With writing friends, it’s a way to follow their career and root them on. With personal friends, I get to see their kids grow up. With my sister, it’s all about cats (we don’t have kids).
How much time does this take me? Oh, about ten minutes a day, a bit more on the weekends. It’s something I look forward to as part of my morning. I check in the afternoon to see responses, before bed to wrap up the day. I go to sleep knowing all’s right in my world.
My advice to my friend: don’t fight FB, embrace it. You will find readers, supporters and eventually, fans. And so much more.