February 11, 2011

Social Networking for Authors

A reposting of a blog I did for my writer's group, though most of you should already be doing this....

The dictionary says:

Main Entry: social networking
Part of Speech: n
Definition: the use of a website to connect with people who share personal or professional interests, place of origin, education at a particular school, etc.

But what does that mean? Well, basically, social network sites—most of which are free—allow you to have a web presence and connect with other people.

Many authors have websites these days, but social networks are tools to help you make friends, follow other authors, agents, editors, as well as help you to build a fan base if pre-published.

Here are a few of the larger social networking sites:

Livejournal – www.livejournal.com – This is mainly a blogging network. They have both paid and free accounts. You are able to customize your pages with the Livejournal tools, or if you know CSS (a computer language), you can create your own.

On Livejournal you can connect with other people, affectionately called “friending”. You can follow someone else’s blog, they can follow yours, and you even have the option of adding feeds from other blogs to your Livejournal.

Livejournal has a plethora of communities and groups for every single category you can think of be it writing, TV, movies, books, to politics, pets, and photography.

Myspace – www.myspace.com – Myspace is one of the first free large social networking sites to hit the internet. Myspace also allows you to customize your pages. There are many regular websites that also help you make layouts and backgrounds if you’re not a savvy computer user type. You can add applications to Myspace, post music, pictures, and videos. Myspace also has a section for blogging.

Myspace allows you to send private messages, invitations to events, and comment on your friend’s pages. As with Livejournal, Myspace has communities and groups.

Facebook – www.facebook.com – Facebook is the new Myspace, for the older kids, some say. Another large networking site, Facebook is slightly more limited with its customization. Everyone’s Facebook page looks pretty much the same.

On Facebook, you can add applications, poke people with cute avatars, add your interests in little display boxes, and find out who shares your likes and dislikes. You can send messages, invitations, and comment on pages like Myspace, but Facebook has it more streamlined on your one “wall” page.

While Facebook doesn’t have its own blog section, you can feed any blog into your notes section so your blog can be visible to any friends you have here.

Facebook also has groups and communities as well as “Fan” pages.

Twitter – www.twitter.com – Myspace and Facebook each have a status update section on your main page. This allows you to tell friends what you’re doing, ask a quick question, or inform readers of release dates, contests, etc. Twitter is a constant stream of status updates. 140 characters are all you get per post, but the instant interaction and feedback can be lots of fun!

On Twitter, you can follow people, follow trends using hastags, and communicate in a split second with anyone currently online in Twitter. Twitter also allows you to customize your page slightly, and gives you a 140 character private Direct Message to your friends.

Remember, when getting involved in any online endeavor it’s best to read all of the regulations, terms, and conditions associated with the site. Many of these networks also have FAQ sections so you can learn about all of their applications and services.

Me? I’m on all three, plus a couple more. I have lots of friends. Honest. I would say a good 10% is people I know personally, old school mates, work friends, etc. Another good chunk are writer friends I made online. Even if I don’t know said people personally, we at least have one or two things in common. That is the beauty of the internet! You can find someone who is passionate about the same subject, regardless of what it is, and always have someone to talk to.

For a list of other social networks check out this link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites

Feel free to add me as your “friend” I’m always happy to meet new people!

Happy Networking!
~Jenn

http://twitter.com/jennnixon
http://jennafern.blogspot.com/
http://myspace.com/jennafern
http://www.facebook.com/people/Jenn-Nixon/576234133
http://jennafern.livejournal.com/
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