Thursday, August 12, 2010
I came late to the social networking realm. It took me a long time (read, most of my early life) to work my way out of the desperate (and natural) urge to fit in with the world around me. By my mid-20s, I learned to not only embrace my tendency to be more than a little left of whoopee, but to trumpet it too. So when my sister got on my case about joining Facebook, I pshawed and scorned until I tried it, and then I proceeded to saturate myself in it. For the first few weeks, I was drowning in the thrill of finding people I'd regretted losing touch with, while enjoying not "friending" those people I was glad to be rid of. Petty? Maybe, but that's one of the pleasures of Facebook. I can be petty and no one will know about it. Now, I never got involved with Farmville or Mafia Wars. For me, Facebook was (and is) simply a place to reconnect and chat and share without having to be in the same room.
I had a reluctant attitude towards Twitter in the beginning too, though that was more out of ignorance and confusion. 140 characters? I haven't spoken in only 140 characters since I gained the power of speech. And it's not like I need another venue at which to talk. Jeez, I barely shut up as it is; I even talk in my sleep! But I kept hearing how important it was for book promotion (rock on LSFW and NJRW!). Then I was noticing great conversations from the people behind blogs I read like Smart Bitches and Dear Author (see sidebar for link) that I was missing because I wasn't on Twitter. And you know how I hate being out of the loop…
So I joined. At first, I didn't pay much attention to it. Until my Facebook time was curtailed. That's when I learned about cross-posting and other useful ways of managing the social networking world. Gradually, like an addicted, I became more involved. It's a community and the one I choose to be a part of most on Twitter is the publishing community, specifically, but not exclusively, romance publishing. As a rule (there are always exceptions) the world and writers of romance publishing are incredibly supportive of one another, sharing tips and encouragement across the 'verse. I am constantly learning.
This week, I'm on vacation and despite being in the mountains by myself, I haven't really been alone. I've spent more time on Twitter than ever before, having downloaded Tweet Deck, which I like using ever so much more than the original website. Not only has it been really useful, I've really enjoyed it too. Last month, I found it incredibly helpful when trying to follow along (somewhat) with the RWA national conference. And now, well, it's been quite a week. The repercussions from Dorchester's move to ebooks and POD are still rolling out and echoing across the Tweet verse. I've had some great "conversations" with people I like and respect and have been alerted to and bookmarked a slew of relevant and interesting articles on publishing and the romance novels. I've chimed in (a little) on an excrement of an article that proclaimed the sole purpose of marriage as being to give women dignity and protect them from being raped because we poor dears are incapable of caring for ourselves or having an identity outside of marriage (asshat). I've been able to track some of the blogs that I like to read (hello Bettys!) and post links to my own (point in case…). I've trumpeted my love for all things Loretta Chase (the woman is a goddess amongst historical romance writers) and on and on.
I am a total (if belated) convert. Ya know, it's been fun. And as my vacation finally rolls to an end, one of my biggest regrets is that back in the world, I won't have nearly enough time to be this involved on Twitter. Because it is a massive time suck. I've learned pretty quickly that if I have a prayer of doing anything except Twitter all day, I have to turn the Tweet Deck off completely, much like I have to shut down the email and Facebook links. The August edition of the Romance Writer's Report magazine had a fantastic social networking time management article that I plan to tack up on the wall by my home desk (once it dries out from being completely soaked at the pool. Don't get me started.) It's timely (ha!) and relevant as I delve ever deeper into – and enjoy ever more – the social networking 'verse.
My favorite thing on Twitter this week is that, on Tuesday, Jane Little at Dear Author began a meme with the hashtag #womeninpublishing that challenged people to name and celebrate their favorite women in publishing. For me, this really illuminated the power and possibilities of Twitter. There was such an enormous response to this meme that by the end of the day, it had garnered an online media response at PublishersWeekly.com and GalleyCat.com. I suspected in the coming days it'll go even farther.
I set up a separate column in my Tweet Deck to watch this meme in action and added new "follows" for several touted names of women in publishing I hadn't been aware of before. Now GalleyCat has compiled a list of these fantastic women and where/how to follow many of them. It was exciting to watch in unfold and thrilling to see women get such a huge shout out, particularly in an industry in which they dominate but are still paid considerably less than their male counterparts. People are still chiming in on this meme and it's evolving and growing and getting a little he said/she said along the way and that's okay because, well basically, it's Twitterific.
Interested in joining the conversation? Sign up at www.twitter.com and start following.
Posted by Kiersten at 2:37 PM