Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Friday, February 3, 2012

Evaluating social media time

Pretty sure I'm being Officer Obvious when I say it's a struggle to get one's mind around social media efforts, to create the ideal balance between online activities and the actual writing of books.

Where do I hang out online and how effective is it really? I'll share my list and would love to get feedback about yours, too.

Twitter: It used to be fun but no more. It's become a mass of non-stop promotion and links. As a result, I'm spending much less time there and enjoying it even less. With nearly 2100 followers, I certainly don't want to abandon my Twitter account, but still....What's the point of it? I ask myself.  Twitter time: Less.

Blogs: Coming Down the Mountain is where I connect with writers and readers. It's an important social outlet for me, kind of a combination book club, writer's group, and chat room (including the blogs I visit, not just hanging out here expecting everyone to come to me). My other blog, the Celery Tree blog, is for information and promotion of Celery Tree. Anyone interested can follow it for up to date info about Celerytree.com.  
Blog time: About the same-- posting once a week or as needed on the Celery Tree blog and posting 2 or 3 times a week here, as the mood strikes.

Facebook: FB friends include writers, neighbors, family members, slight acquaintances, people I knew decades ago-- you know how it is on Facebook. Lately, FB has made changes that annoy  me and make the site messy, cluttered and sometimes awkward to navigate.  
Facebook time: About the same-- check it a couple times a week. It's not an important part of my life.

Website: I set it up last year as the place to find out about my books and me as an author. My url is karenjonesgowen.com, yay!.  
Website time: I love it but don't hang out. It's for company only.

Google +: I do very little over there as it has nothing new to offer.  
Google Plus time: Next to nothing.

Goodreads: I don't accept friend requests from people with hundreds of friends and no books listed. The purpose is to list books read and reviewed, not to amass friends to email and harass to buy your book. I tried joining some groups but couldn't see the point. Like the Kindle Forums and Twitter, it becomes desperate authors hawking their own work. I post reviews, keep track of books read and those I want to read.

And btw, does anyone know why my Goodreads icon has all but disappeared? Has this happened to anyone else? I'm about ready to kick its sorry butt to the curb if it doesn't show up and do its job on my sidebar.
Goodreads: Post reviews, ignore direct messages and group spam. Delete Goodreads book review icon if it doesn't show up soon for work.

Celerytree.com: Brand new and as it grows, I want to do more with the Forum and especially with reviewing member books.  
Celerytree.com: Hoping for growth so I can hang out there more.

That's my list. What's yours?

65 comments:

  1. I'm better about Twitter and try to reTweet good posts I find. Blogging is my main gig and where I connect with other people of all kinds. Everyone wants to be my friend on Google+ and I have no idea why. Facebook - no way. Goodreads - I think I've finally found all of my blogging buddies there. And crap, I keep forgetting to register at Celery Tree! Going right now...

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    1. Alex, I'll keep checking to make sure you get registered LOL, and bug you if you don't hehe.

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    2. I have to agree with Twitter. I love the connection to other writers but all the links are a whip. I do agree...I spend a ton of time on my blog. I watch for my friends to post and always look forward to reading what they have to say.

      Found you via A to Z. I am looking forward to reading more.

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  2. Mine is blogs only, Karen. I love the camaraderie and lightness and intelligence of the blogs! I signed off Facebook in summer: just couldn't bear it any more. And Twitter never had me. I think you're being wise and sensible with your time choices there.

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    1. Mise, I'm trying! This year I plan on blogging less as well. Probably cutting back to one post a week rather than the 2 or 3 I did last year. I still want to allow time to visit other blogs.

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  3. My Twitter experience has been very different to yours, Karen. There are a few people I follow who just promote, promote, promote, but thankfully very few (and I'm planning to unfollow them as soon as I can be bothered!). I may just be lucky with the people I've chosen to follow. I don't Tweet often myself though, and I want to address that. I'd like my followers to have a little more to read!

    I feel blogging is the best way to connect with people in depth, and it gives me an opportunity to do what I like best, which is write. So blogging is here to stay.

    My Facebook is strictly private, and I only friend people I know well (bloggers included).

    Very interesting post - you are alone voice in a chorus of people calling 'Twitter is the only way forward!' It is good to hear different experiences of social media.

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    1. Ellen, Is that why Twitter has become a crowd of hawkers? Because people are saying it's the way to wealth and success? I read John Locke's book, I know that was his thing but really! There's no fast way to find readers and sell books. And the constant promo is just annoying and turns people off.

      Maybe I should use my lists more, that would probably solve the problem.

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  4. I use blogger more than any other. I feel the same way about twitter. I do go on Facebook daily, but not to post. I like to see what everyone is up to.

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    1. Miranda, It's funny how we all have our favorite outlet, and the others just kind of twirl around that when there's time.

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  5. I've really cut down on Twitter, other than the automatic tweets from my blog.

    Too much talk on the interwebs. And most of it is empty chatter that should be limited to a close circle of friends, not potential readers and publishers.

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    1. Maria, "Too much talk on the interwebs. And most of it is empty chatter that should be limited to a close circle of friends, not potential readers and publishers." Wow! This comment has great truth and wisdom. I've been thinking of it all morning since I read it.

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  6. Twitter is for the writing side of me but I agree with you. Non-stop promos is killing it for me.

    Facebook is more for family and friends. And I visit about twice a month which probably says something about me.

    Blog. Okay, let me put blogging into the "OMGosh, what a time-suck" category because that is my writing venue. My personal blog and a critique blog take a lot of maintenance. Then visiting other blogs :)

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    1. Huntress, Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me too! Blogging is the huge time suck for me when I get on the internet. I guess that's why I'm constantly trying to re evaluate where I'm going with it and why.

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  7. My blog is the hub of my online activity, the place where I make the most meaningful connections. I throw out a tweet every now and then, and have an author website for different purposes than the blog and twitter. Any social media I have is just a branch, really, off the main blog.

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    1. Joanne, I have never seen your website! Now I'm curious :)

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  8. I'm much the same as all of you.

    I also don't think we should be pressured to keep up. I feel I have to make distance from all that's online in order to write.

    The internet will always be there!

    Now did I say, turn off the computer so I can take a nice walk.

    Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Jacqueline, There seems to be a real disconnect in my brain between the online writer and the creative writer. When I'm online a lot, the creative writer kind of shrinks and dies. This is a problem I have to deal with, and so far haven't dealt well. I hope to overcome and figure it out this year. Enjoy that walk!

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  9. My blog is the main thing, but even two days a week is a lot of time.

    I use a list on Twitter so that I don't have to deal with all the people constantly hawking their books. That way I only read the tweets from the people I'm really interested in reading.

    I have a Google + account and have no idea what it is for. It doesn't seem to do anything different or better than blogger. I don't really get it.

    Goodreads is great. I like seeing what others are reading and how they rate books, but don't get involved in any of the groups.

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    1. L.G., Ha! Pretty much where I'm at. I just keep blogging but one can't deny it takes a lot of time. More time than it's worth? Possibly :)

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  10. I've never had a twitter account.
    I'm on Facebook, but find it increasingly invasive, and not of much value. I'm thinking of shutting it down.
    I have several blogs, but am only active on one or two. Will probably reorganize those in the next few months.
    I'm not anti-social; I find too much of a good thing is overwhelming.

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    1. Rob-bear, "I'm not anti-social; I find too much of a good thing is overwhelming." LOL, that's just very well-said. And deep. And funny.

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  11. I haven't even dipped my toe into the Twitter pond...I think I knew I'd never be happy with a limited number of characters. Facebook is only a way to keep up with people I rarely (never) see. Blogging is the main event.

    In your descriptions it struck me that your blog is like the kitchen where everyone congregates and chats about whatever. Your website is the parlor - the best furniture all clean and dusted and just waiting.

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    1. Stephanie, My concern is that people who might read my books find me here all sweaty and gross in the kitchen instead of all dressed up in my parlor.

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  12. You make good points, Karen. There's a line between being a presence and being a pest. (On any platform.)

    Even with all of the promo stuff, there's still a ton good info I'd miss if I weren't on Twitter. But it does feel like I'm sifting through the landfill at times. I do share a lot of links on Twitter, but 99% of it is writing FYI I've read and want to share, or fun things I think others will enjoy. I do share my new blog posts, but limit it to two times (once day-of, once day after... for anyone that might've missed it).

    Facebook and/or Google Plus seem like the purest forms of interaction at this point. I'd have said blogs a year ago but if I'm being honest, blogging has become a bit of a friend collecting/book promoting machine as well. Plus a good amount of my blogging interaction stems from Twitter stuff (I think!).

    I particularly like your view of Goodreads. I wish more people would treat it as a reading network FIRST (as I think that was the point), and author platform second. Actually, that's why I've mostly left it alone (I'm on there and gladly accept friends, but do so just to see what folks are reading). I don't have time to participate in a lot of the forums and such, and I don't want to use it to simply pimp my blog, etc..

    Good thoughts and breakdown!

    EJ

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    1. EJ, I've found some really informative links on Twitter as well, as I have on blog surfing and Facebook. But as you say, it's like "sifting through the landfill" (love that image!) Blogging as friend collecting and book promoting-- yeah it's kind of getting that way isn't it? Although for me, blogging is more about interacting with like-minded people than any of the other venues are.

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  13. My balance is very similar to yours. I haven't gotten on Twitter yet and still don't get it, but maybe if I signed up and experiment a little I'd see the value. All of the social media can get very time consuming.


    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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    1. Lee, By the time you get to Twitter there may not be any reason for it. Because now for some reason it's supposed to be THE place to get rich quick. Ha!

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  14. Google + was so cool for the first few days, but now it's almost completely broken. Why do so many people from Southeast Asia who I've never met and are not writers or publishing professionals add me to their circles?

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    1. Matthew, That's my big question as well and it makes me very nervous. I'm thinking...potential spammers? What? It's awkward. I just ignore Google + now.

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  15. Good morning, Karen! It is hard to balance it all. I do a little on Twitter but agree with you and think it is overwhelming. My main focus is my blog and Facebook. Facebook has worked really well for getting photography gigs and Terry gets a lot of Voice Over business there. Plus...it is how we reconnected. We went to high school together so it has a special place in our hearts. :-)

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    1. Tracy Jo, A Facebook romance-- how very cool!

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  16. I love Twitter and my blog. I find little time for Facebook and I couldn't get on with Google+.

    To make life easier with Twitter I use lists. If there are people you like to and regularly engage with, you can list them and follow that list rather than the busy timeline. That way you get to see the things that are important to you. I check my lists first and then if I've time, I will browse the full timeline.

    I've recently decided I need to be a bit more organised with my blog so we'll see how that pans out!

    It is a bit of a balancing game and that perfect scenario where the phrase, not enough hours in the day, comes in to play.

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    1. Rebecca, After reading your and Ellen's comments, I believe that's where I have to go on Twitter-- my lists. I have them but largely ignore them so I'm stuck with the Home timeline of hawkers. Thanks for the tip!

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  17. I long ago decided that social media doesn't really accomplish much. As in the rest of my life, I stick with this philosophy: if it's fun, I do it.

    Twitter is my water cooler. I like taking a break and chatting with other writers in their lonely little writing caves like me.

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    1. Kristen, I'm in complete agreement. It doesn't sell books, it doesn't get one a publishing contract, it doesn't write books, so it had better be enjoyable or it is a sad waste of a writer's time. Oh, and informative-- I get lots of helpful information from blogs that I wouldn't know otherwise. So for me, if it's informative and enjoyable I'll keep at it, but in balanced moderation or I'm an idiot.

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  18. Mine is mostly my blog. I use facebook, too, but Twitter often falls by the wayside. It's so fast-paced and it's so hard to keep up with everyone and everything happening there. I try, but my blog gets most of my social media attention.

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  19. I only have Blogger and that's enough for me! It's weird cos my workplace is so into social networking - we have all the social media outlets for work. I think it's more to show that our workplace is up to speed with technology rather than raising our profile as such - it was already raised before all these networking already I think! Take care
    x

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  20. Hi Karen, I'm just dropping by to introduce myself from the A-Z challenge. Hi!

    Interesting how different people use social media - I suspect some of the preferences are to do with your interests. I use FB for family and friends pretty much exclusively. Twitter has been a dead thing for me. G+, however, is where I spend most time and interact with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, I've found it's where I can ask for help with information and have someone give me a link to sound research and be happy to discuss ideas. It's really helping with my research for the A-Z challenge, but I'm looking forward to May so I can spend more time in blogland having fun!

    cheers
    Sue

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  21. I'm with you on every single observation, except for those I haven't braved yet. (Goodreads and well, the one that really scares me: Twitter.) Now I feel justified to put off trying those...
    REAL WRITING FIRST.

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  22. My list is just my blog--nothing else. (Unless you count Shelfari, but I visit it only once every few days and spend around ten minutes updating my shelf.)

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  23. We are drowning in media. It is overtaking our lives. However, I am also involved in some you mentioned.

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  24. I like Twitter because it is fun, so I have now started to delete the annoying self-promoters. Obviously not those who do it well, but those that tweet ENDLESSLY about their novel, quoting lines, telling me what format it is on...

    I love Blogger and always will.

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  25. I haven't done Twitter at all, just use it to get traffic updates when I need to.
    And even though I log onto FB a few times a week, i rarely post...I feel the same as you about it, cluttered and messy.

    For me, it's Blogger! Love Stephanie's analogy! I'm a kitchen girl too!

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  26. Gosh, you nailed it! Each of your descriptions fits my attitude toward that social site. What the heck is the point of Google+? I can't seem to figure it out. Hey, LOVE your blog layout! Very pretty and bright -- a beautiful expression of you!

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    1. I've had a Twitter account from day one because I wanted to be "in." I never use it.... (it's not so important to be "in"). Ha

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  27. About the same, except that I unfollow any tweep that spams my timeline. It gets to be fun in a while. :-D

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  28. I spend little time on FB and Twitter. Maybe ten minutes a day for each. Less on Goodreads. Most of my time is spent blogging. At least I'm pre-writing my posts for the A to Z Challenge. That's a good thing.

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  29. I love my blog for keeping in touch with writers, and Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends. I'm abnormally bad at using the phone to chat, so Facebook pretty much covers my need to stay in touch - though the changes that are upcoming might put me off. I've got a Goodreads account, a list of books and one friend - I have no idea what I'm doing with it at all!

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  30. I agree with the analysis of the different sites. My favorite one is the blog.
    Karen, I've just given you a blog award. Have a great weekend.

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  31. I have never used Google+ so I cannot comment on it. I use Facebook for family, friends, and old schoolmates. I also use Facebook to connect to people who show, sell, and raise dairy goats. I have a twitter account but I have accumalted a large number of followers I have never met. I don't trust twitter for personal comments. It is a place to share articles I read, books, and words of encouragement. I am a farm girl with so much time alone the social media helps me connect with others. I came here after reading your book that I found on amazon.com.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Social media is my outlet as well to counteract the isolation of my writing life (and my newly empty nest).

      I hope you enjoyed Farm Girl!

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  32. I'm about the same. My blog and goodreads are where I hang out most.

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  33. First of all,thanks for the visit today. I enjoy fb to a certain point,and I don't like their recent changes,I don't do twitter period. I do love the blogging world. I only dabble with writing,tho I love it.

    Blessings Jane

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  34. I agree with Twitter. It was really fun when I first got started, but it seemed to lose the "fun" aspect very quickly. I'm also not very good at constantly updating, haha. And I was very excited for Google+, but even with giving it a good go it wasn't very enjoyable because it seems as if most people still aren't using it.

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  35. Me too with the Twitter. I have a hard time because I wear my heart on my sleeve, and instant speaking isn't always the best method for me. It can be great, and awful. The other outlets are nice. I love blogger because it's on my time and I can edit. Hello . . . that's great. I used to feel horrible about not posting all the time until I saw some of the big authors posting sporadically. Why? Because they're writing. But then there are authors who are very good with balancing everything. You just have to know your strength.

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  36. I love twitter. Mainly I do the writer related chats there. I also don't mind the promos since I've found some great books, wonderful events and very supportive people on twitter. And FB, don't see me slowing down on that none either.

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    1. LM, Sounds like you're getting around equally, benefiting from a variety of social media, and balancing it pretty well, too. Very nice!

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  38. Congrats on your award! You definitely are a smart cookie!

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  39. Super post. I am slowing down on all hangouts. The writing was suffering. I blog once or twice a week, twitter a little, FB a bit, but not much. I need the time to write.

    Congrads on a well deserved award. You rock woman! Write on. :-)

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  40. I'm along the same lines as you - spend hardly any time on Google+ and Goodreads. Thank goodness I've never signed up for Twitter. I do have fun with Tumblr, but it doesn't take much time. And I still enjoying blogging. But I've really cut down on FB time.
    Must be writing!!

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  41. Everyone's writing, it seems. My question is: where/how to promote one's book?!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

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  42. Most of my social media time is on blogging. The rest is the bare minimum to keep them maintained for now. Lately I've been prefering to spend my time writing or reading.

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  43. Mine are similar. I have Google+ but pretty much have forgotten about it.

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  44. I've never really used Google+. I need to figure out how to sync some things up so I only have to post one message and it will appear on FB, Twitter and Google+. Twitter is overwhelming, and I just can't do it. I spend way too much time on Facebook and am working on changing that now. And I love my blog for connecting me with other authors!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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