Friday, August 28, 2009

A Too Social Media

The winner of a copy of Latayne C. Scott's The Mormon Mirage is Edna! Hey Edna, we have your e-mail address and Latayne will be in touch with you to collect your mailing address.
We'll announce the next book give-away Wednesday, September 2.
And yes, we are reading through the entries for the Audience with an Agent contest. We are close to choosing the winning entries, but I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit longer before we announce them. I know! I know! Ick to waiting!

If I had read Patti's most recent post a few weeks ago, I might have come up with a different response - but I read it this week, and it just so happens that this week is the week several things happened in tandem to reshape my thoughts about the writer and social media.

I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Shoutlife, Virtual Bookshelf, and several other social media sites - truthfully? I've managed to forget about many of these sites. Yesterday, I received a friend request in my e-mail to a group I didn't think I'd ever heard of never mind belonged to. Turns out I do belong to the group.

Later, I was on Twitter reading a few tweets - and I read a jaw dropping tweet from someone I'm following - the person broadcast details of a phone conversation she'd just had with a friend of hers. Personal details. Very, very personal details. I felt betrayed by proxy - my heart broke for the friend who would have never guessed that the details of the conversation she'd just had with her trusted friend would, moments later, be broadcast to the internet. Frankly, it stopped me in my tracks. And it got me thinking more carefully about not just the time I spend online, but the quality of my contribution.

I haven't chosen to fast from being online, but I have recently trimmed down my online activities to the most valuable, interesting, and compelling sites that I will participate in on a regular basis (you can bet this site tops the list!). I also have a short list of questions and criteria I run by everything I post - especially those quick 140 characters, so tantalizingly easy to write. But once they are out there - they are out there. You can't "un-send".

I've found an online rhythm that works for me. And I promise you won't see me my Facebook status reporting a friend's secret, or me tweeting the details of my PMS episode, or how bored I am (all stuff I've seen). Instead, I'm working to succeed at the most important thing about being online; connecting with people in meaningful ways.

How about you? Have you seen things online that made you rethink what you were doing? Have you found your online rhythm? We'd love to hear about what you've learned and accomplished.


Annette said...

I am on Facebook and check in with it often during the day, but prefer to peek at it and then get back off, not lingering long.
I am careful about what I post, because all my friends see what I would announce.
I have a relative that often posts things that they should not (TMI), then some of our mutual family and friends will then call me and ask, "What is going on?" This gets old.
Thank you.

Nichole Osborn said...

I haven't noticed any TMI postings in my social media adventures. But I know it happens. I think sometimes people get so involved in social media that they forget we don't need every detail of their lives posted in 140 characters. Thanks Bonnie for this post.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Hi, Bonnie!

I'm still on the other end, which means that I'm trying to figure out which social media to join and use as networking devices. There are a few you mentioned that I've never heard of, and one that I've joined but haven't figured out yet. I just don't want to get overwhelmed and so focused on those that I spend my time networking instead of writing. It's hard enough without adding extra distractions!

This was a great post! Thanks! Have a great weekend!

Lori Benton said...

I enjoy Facebook. I've connected with people in ways I never expected from such a site (old friends reunited, seeing a new and fun side of people I've known in passing for years, connecting with a larger writing world). I'm on Twitter now, but don't feel the sense of community there I do with FB. In fact, I often have to remind myself to check it. For now, I'm limiting my online activities to a short list of blogs I visit regularly--this one tops the list--FB, and my own sporadically updated blog. These things tend to snowball with me. I have to put limits on them, reassess from time to time, and delete the things that distract without adding meaning to my life, or others.

Steve G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve G said...

Then there are those people who meet a person online and then marry them. Yeeeesh!!!!

Word verification - bousn: A good friend on a sailing ship, as in "bousn buddy".

The above deleted comment was me - my bad. I always copy my comment before I post it in case it gets lost. This time I pushed paste without realizing it and inserted an url for a new women's site from Christianity today I had copied and pasted to Bonnie without realizing it... I think it would have been easier to just leave it up... or maybe just delete it and not say anything. So... is this a bad use of online stuff? It certainly turned out longer than I expected and that's all I have to say about that.

Bonnie Grove said...

Annette: It's the mixing business and family/friends thing that can get us in trouble, isn't it? Thank heaven for that delete function on facebook!

Nichole: I couldn't agree more. I'm a counselor by training and I can't help noticing certain people who use Twitter as their security blanket.

Kristen: Hi yourself! I think it's harder for new writers today because of all the pressure from the industry to get out there - more established authors have proved themselves, and can pick and choose with less pressure.

Lori: So glad to hear you love this place as much as I do. I couldn't give Novel Matters up - I've come to feel at home here and I love the conversations we have. Limits are a must, I agree! Patti has decided to fast completely - I've cut down to only four things I do regularly. It often goes down when we're deep into a novel too.

Steve: People meet online and then get married?? My, my. Such goings on.

Patti Hill said...

Bonnie, I appreciate your deliberate and thoughtful approach to life. Your voice soothes me.

I may have to adapt my one-month fast to a partial fast, given I'm releasing a book on 9/1. Geesh! But I will moderate my involvement with Twitter and FB and pray, pray, pray.

word verification for "saings." How I spell sayings if I type too fast.

Janet said...

I decided years ago that friends and family would not be fodder for my online musings, except in anonymous terms. And only in ways that I would not be embarrassed to have them read. Or have their boss read. It sometimes means I don't get to trumpet their accomplishments either.

I'm about due for a reevaluation of the policy, but the underlying principle will always remain: never say anything online and expect it to stay private. Just assume your spouse/friend/child/neighbour/enemy/boss will read it.

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Thank you for this post, Bonnie. Novel Matters is one of the few places I turn to for info on the writing life. I've learned much here. Now I try to be careful with what I post and limiti my time at social networking sites like FB and ShoutLife. In the past I've wasted too much time with staying connected there. I appreciate the writing friends I've made. I feel less isolated as an aspiring fiction writer.