When you’re watching a show you like on TV, does it really enhance your experience to have the bottom couple of inches of screen obscured by a comment like, “@TV show ‘Way to go…awesome!'” As my teenagers say, “Really? I mean, really?” That was the insight you were looking for?
I’ve managed to avoid social media for the past few years, remaining on the sidelines when everyone else jumped in. Sometimes people would ask me to “Friend” them, so I started a half-hearted excuse for a Facebook page that I never looked at.
Then I uploaded my two novels onto Kindle. How was I to get the word out and generate sales? Only people who knew me personally were aware of my project. Not having an unlimited advertising budget, I had to learn about social media. I turned to my cousin, Danielle, an LA casting agent (@DanielleCasting). Danielle has some 20,000 Twitter followers and has maxed out her Facebook page. Danielle is interesting, Danielle is funny, Danielle is accomplished. She’s my model for how to use Twitter, not the “awesome” Twitterers who impose on my TV shows.
A couple of weeks ago, Danielle posted a Tweet asking her friends to follow me, as I was brand new to Twitter. I asked Danielle, “Does this mean I have to think up interesting stuff to Tweet every few minutes?”
“Pretty much,” Danielle said.
How the hell am I supposed to do that? I don’t know, but I’ve gotten a few insights from Danielle’s friends who were kind enough to “follow” me. At first, I just thanked them for following me, then Tweeted info about my books. Something interesting happened. In trying to understand the context of their Tweets, I’d open up the “expand” comments file. A lot of Danielle’s friends are actors or casting agents — a world utterly foreign to me. They’re really interesting people. I began to look at their photo galleries, their videos, their Facebook pages. One of her friends is an expert in a skill I once enjoyed. Another friend posted on her FB page a photo of a man with whom she’s making a movie. He’s one of the handsomest men I’ve ever seen, but never heard of. Yet another friend lives overlooking the Pacific (my goal) and likes cats, as I do. I’ve had fun exchanging Tweets with an actor who enjoys one of my favorite TV shows and who made some interesting comments about the participants (@JeffreyAJordan).
In my second week on Twitter, I’ve used the “Discover” button to find sites that specialize in my industry: women’s fiction, romance, publishing, book reviews. Now, in addition to my cousin’s followers, I have followers — and I’m following — other writers, reviewers and publishers.
I’m discovering that it’s not up to me to think up interesting stuff just about me. What’s interesting about social media is the work, photos, and conversations of the people I follow. I love it when people post interesting quotes or videos (check out @MeetRobynThomas, @sesever, @Lisa2LA). They make me stop and think, and I can retweet them. I don’t have to be interesting 50 times a day as long as the people I retweet are interesting. And we all like to be “favorites” or “retweets.”
Maybe when I delve into the daunting world of hashtags, I’ll discover even more interesting stuff via Twitter. I’ve clicked on a couple of hashtags, and kind of got lost in the world in which I landed. I haven’t dared use a hashtag myself in case I do it wrong. My expert cousin, Danielle, tried to explain it to me in an email, using #FF as an example. She may as well have been speaking Russian. I’ll figure it out.
So, to return to the title of this blog, it wasn’t false advertising. Everything I say in the title is true. What has changed, however, is that I now understand why people are interested in social media. I’ve gone from indifferent to fascinated. Does that make me fascinating? No. It just puts more fun in my life.
Oh, and about the books: http://www.amazon.com/Nicole-McGehee/e/B001KDDEG8 Be sure to click on KINDLE EDITION for $3.99 or you’re apt to see a wacky used book price!