For Twitter, I've followed publishing houses and such, and some have even found me first, which I imagine is for their advertizing purposes, but it works for me, either way. So far, it has not had major use yet, but I imagine its day will come. Also, I would have to spend more time on there to give it a real chance before I complain. I can see how it would be a good source for finding publishers, learning about agents, and hearing about contests, though. And when the day comes that I've got something to advertize, I'm sure it will be helpful there, too. I know that I have valued it when someone has "retweeted" or "RT'd" something I've put on there, and I wonder if some of my readers haven't been discovered that way.
I'm still trying to figure out some of the logistics of Twitter. When someone "tags" me with a "FF" tag, for instance, am I supposed to respond in some way? I don't right now, because I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. Help? I don't respond every time someone thanks me for following them on there, for various reasons. Am I supposed to always respond? Am I supposed to tag everyone who follows me with a thank you message? Do people prefer that, or are they happy without it?
Facebook has a bunch of uses, so while I can see how it can be valuable, I'm not sure how to get a Facebook page out there where everyone knows it's there. For instance, I created one for the Pen Women, but how do I get people to follow it? Of course, I have one for this blog, too, but I figure for right now just having the button on the side of my blog referring people to it is good enough. If someone wants to "like" the Facebook page, they can find it on here. As of right now, though, it is mostly used to notify people of new posts on here. I tried starting conversations on there a few times that were related to what I had posted, but it didn't work. Maybe in the future when I have five trillion followers/readers?
One that I never bothered much with until recently was LinkedIn. Like I said above, I added it because I kept getting requests. I mostly had a couple friends on there and that was that. However, I started getting requests from fellow writers who had found me on here, and then I got recommendations for others to add, and I've started doing a teeny bit more that way, but that was really it. Then, maybe about a week or so ago, I got a nice little form message recommending some groups I could join. I had no idea there were groups! I clicked on the groups and checked them out, and there were some neat groups of writers, so I went ahead and joined.
Lo and behold, a few days ago someone posts in one of the groups that their anthology deadline has been extended. I click on that discussion, it sounds interesting, and I go to the site. Their prompt instantly sparked something, and I immediately wrote a personal essay to submit. I've never submitted an essay for publication (I've hardly submitted anything for publication...), so I have no idea if it's good, but I'm delighted to have done it. In case you're interested, the anthology is Sofas I've Slept on. I believe they're taking submissions until March 20, 2012.
I'm learning that I maybe shouldn't be so skeptical of social media, and that it has value. The problem is learning how to use it to my advantage without allowing it to suck me in and become a time waster. That's true for every single bit of social media I take part in. Other than the lure of CastleVille, I'm getting better at brief, pertinent visits most of the time.
Quickly, I'd like to mention the Pikes Peak Writer's Write Brain, occurring tomorrow, Tuesday, January 17, 6:30-8:30 at Celebration Place in the Citadel Mall. It sounds like a great program. I'll likely write it up if I get good notes, and share it with everyone, but if you're able to attend, I'm sure personal attendance would be far more valuable than my write up. This Write Brain will be run by Deb Courtney, Robert Spiller and DeAnna Knippling, and concerns New Models in Publishing. Each of these people has been involved with both traditional and self-publishing. For more information, click HERE.
What forms of social media do you use? What do you find most valuable? How do you insure you aren't wasting time?
May you find your Muse.