Q4U: Social Networking Anyone?

What do you say we blow the lid off this whole social networking thing once and for all. I’ve got questions, you’ve got answers. You ready?

What do you LIKE about Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks?

What do you DISLIKE?

What scares you about them?

If you are NOT using Twitter or Facebook, why not?

How do social networks improve your life? How are they helping in your business or career?

And finally, how do you deal with the issue of the time that social networking takes?

Whether or not you use Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks regularly, take the poll at the top of the sidebar. You can choose as many answers as you like.

I want to get some honest answers from writers about how social networking fits into the writing life, and what the perceived value is. Looking forward to the discussion!

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Rachelle Gardner, Christian Literary Agent, Colorado

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  2. Dee S. on July 31, 2009 at 3:29 PM

    >I wrote two articles in January and February for Christian Communicator regarding Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, BlogTalk Radio, and how to integrate and cross promote them all. Moreover I teach group coaching classes for authors, publicists, and book clubs on how to design social media for your marketing efforts. As a PR professional supporting Christian entertainers, authors and ministers it is imperative for everyone to understand that they safety and strategy are important when using social media, that social media's goal is to start a conversation then end it offline, but it will not write for you nor will it keep you from doing the work you don't want to do. I'm online 24-7 via my Blackberry, but I'm not engaging, following, playing games, or chopping it up 24-7. It's a tool. When we're talking about the psychographics of traditional CBA book buyers, e-letters(via email or newsletters) are more effective because most CBA readers using their email more than social media. My advice–albeit very late, lol– is to schedule OM time and be strategic. Talk on the phone with your family or Skype them, but don't lose valuable time lollygagging online.

  3. Terra on July 17, 2009 at 5:21 PM

    >I enjoy using twitter and blogspot, and am not on facebook. I must draw the line somewhere. I think having a blog is necessary for a writer, and twitter takes just minutes a day.
    People who follow me there have told me that they bought my book after hearing about it on twitter.
    All those cool facets like FF and RT mean you can spread the word about tweets and tweeters you like.
    Also, I give and get quick answers there, like what blueberry varieties do you recommend.
    Twitter is immediate, in one or two minutes you may get an answer from people.

  4. Anthony Levings, MA, PhD on July 16, 2009 at 7:43 AM

    >Really interesting comments. I am currently updating for publication a paper presented at the University of Bedfordshire (http://cwparadox.wikidot.com). It is aimed at postgraduate students who have embarked on a Creative Writing PhD and discusses the options open to them when it comes to publishing. On my blog is a call for as many viewpoints (and statistics) from those embedded in the publishing industry as possible. See here.

  5. FeliceGerwitz on July 13, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    >I use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and have a Plaxo account but don't use it.

    In terms of time, I use them mainly for posting what I am doing and only responding from time to time. I love LinkeIn because it is my online resume. If someone wants to hire me for consultations they can see my professional background easily there.

    One of the authors I published this year, set up a facebook fan page for me. I really have not used it to post much…but I can see the value of using social networking to let others know about your books, products, blogs, etc.

    I recommend blogging to any aspiring author as the way to get a publishers attention, and social networking will allow others to find your blog.

    Great questions and comments.

  6. RickNiekLikeBikes on July 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

    >There's a mix–I prefer to blog–conversations are somewhat tedious for an introvert! But I'm an extroverted introvert so I really do enjoy Facebook, even if my wife did have to make my page for me. I find that the pursuit of writing doesn't really mean much unless someone else cares not only about what you write, but about who you are. I'm not great at allowing one to promote the other but I'm learning. Facebookers are flitters and how to use that effectively to promote…maybe Twitter is the better of the two for that.

  7. Gina on July 12, 2009 at 7:26 PM

    >No one's mentioned LiveJournal. Is it considered social networking? I have to say, I've found it far more fun than I ever expected, and have met* some incredibly interesting people and very good writers.

    *And though I say "met," I acknowledge that the meetings are not in reality and the relationships are fundamentally shallow and superficial and so am I for indulging in them and all the rest of the appropriate disclaimers. 🙂 The fascinating thing, though, is that I've had some pretty darned deep conversations in the course of some of these supposedly shallow and superficial relationships.

    I just ran across a quote that seems fitting: "Sometimes it's better to be understood by someone who'll never meet me, than to meet someone who will never understand me."

    I believe it originally came from someone's Twitter. 🙂

  8. Tiffany on July 12, 2009 at 1:13 PM

    >Apart from the procrastination opportunities they offer, I love that when I have a question about some random fact of life, that is keeping me from moving forward in a manuscript, I can ask via a tweet or status update ~ and get answers in a satisfyingly quick manner!

  9. Valerie Comer on July 12, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    >I rarely read all 90+ comments on any blog, but I did so today, finding everyone's response quite interesting.

    I've blogged for years, started on Facebook two years ago, and Twitter nearly a year ago. The opposite of the way Michael Hyatt says it should be done! I laughed when I read that the first time, but I've come to see what he means.

    The cool thing about Twitter is that you can easily block someone if you want to. I've learned so much from Twitter it's unbelievable–from agents, fellow writers, tech people. Also it seems I get the world headlines there first!

    I joined Facebook because my son and his wife went to South America for a few months and it was the easiest way to keep in touch and see their photos. Now I absolutely love it. My dh and I went to a Christian boarding school in high school and about half our graduating class has reconnected on FB. Very cool. I have a lot of family on FB, old friends, and fellow writers.

    I check both Twitter and FB several times a day, but in my down time, not my prime time.

    I blog much more sporadically than I used to, partly because the other two do much of the connection job already. When I do blog, I post the link at FB and Twitter.

    Biggest irk? Folks who use their Twitter feed to update their FB. Yeah, it's easy. But why would I want to see it twice? THAT is a waste of my time.

  10. Teri D. Smith on July 12, 2009 at 8:39 AM

    >I took the plunge and began twitter yesterday. Today I checked and found I now have one follower: the Christy Awards.

    I think I'll slow down and see if that follower will catch up with me. : )

  11. Nicholas on July 11, 2009 at 10:05 PM

    >What I like about Facebook: easy way to send messages, see pictures, and in general be nosy.

    What I dislike: people who pepper my newsfeed with needless garbage

    What I like about Twitter: I decide who I follow, so there's no needless garbage like above.

    What I dislike about Twitter: I get annoyed when porn bots and other spammers follow me. I don't know why.

  12. Kay Day on July 11, 2009 at 5:33 PM

    >I blog and do facebook.
    I tweeted for about six months and really didn't like it so I quit.
    It felt cold to me. And I got the feeling that the only people who read my tweets were people I already knew.
    I seldom saw any tweet lead to any kind of conversation. Even when I responded, it seemed to end there.
    I also found many tweets to be boring.
    Some FB updates are boring, too, but since you told me I could view updates according to my groups, I don't have to look at all the boring ones anymore!
    FB is more conducive to interaction, I think. But even there, it is primarily people I already know. I'd like to see some stats on how well these things work for marketing. I know that I have never read someone's book just because I followed them on Twitter or was friends on FB.

    My blog is where I have made the most new relationships. And I have read new authors because of their blogs. For me, that seems to be the most effective, so far.

  13. Cheri Gregory on July 11, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    >I blogged about this last week!

    "Why I Love Twitter…People" http://tinyurl.com/whyilt

    For me, Twitter is like the world's biggest buffet. I certainly don't like everything, but there's so much to choose from, I always find something to love!

  14. Tricia on July 11, 2009 at 10:14 AM

    >What scares me??? I just blogged about this yesterday.

    I only blog and that along with reading and commenting on agent blogs (clears throat) are what's keeping me from finishing my ms.

    I thinks it's a conspiracy. Publishers and agents sucked us all into these time wastes so we are delayed in finishing our books and won't query them until the market picks up.

    So stop, you say. Sorry, I tried. I need therapy. Intervention.

    Did someone say twitter?

  15. Meryl on July 11, 2009 at 9:41 AM

    >Yes, there are folks who report they're making a salad, getting coffee — but there are many folks sharing valuable and creative ideas. The trick is to find them and follow them and NOT follow the "What I am doing every minute of my life" types.

    I love social networks because it removes barriers (looks, accents, disabilities, etc.). People don't judge me the first time they hear me speak and instead judge me on the thoughts shared — the brain!

    Social networks improved my life by giving me an outlet to meet intelligent people and have fascinating conversations beyond PTA and motherhood (which is what I get mostly from local friends).

    Re: Time. I create a profile on all social networks as I come across them, but only participate regularly on a few. It's not good to post tweet after tweet in Twitter, so I check in a few times a day for a few minutes.

    Those not convince, I can give you over 50 uses for Twitter for writers.

  16. Anita on July 11, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    >I think social networking is an enormous waste of time for aspiring fiction authors. These people should spend their time writing a really great book. Once they get a publisher for the really great book, then they get the social networking stuff (which is truly a mktg piece) going. That said, if social networking is so much fun for the writer that he/she doesn't care that it's taking time away from the manuscript, well, I guess network away.

  17. ginny martyn on July 11, 2009 at 8:01 AM

    >I love facebook because it helps let my readers know when I post on my blog. Most of my traffic comes from my facebook link. It is also great to keep up with people.

    I HATE Twitter because I think it’s boring.

    x…is making a salad.
    x…is at the store.
    x…is reading a great book.

  18. Dr. David and Lisa Frisbie on July 11, 2009 at 5:15 AM

    >Our social network is called meeting people for coffee @ Caribou or Starbucks. We also use KitchenTable 2.0, which is very simple. You cook something and invite people over.

    We're sure Facebook is cool, but a face in your living room is so much better. So is a face across the table sipping coffee. You can get past the PR and the hype and get into what's really going on.

    Our life is populated with real people: imperfect, struggling, looking for hope anyway, wondering about life, finding a way to move forward. We try to help.

  19. Rich Dailey on July 11, 2009 at 5:10 AM

    >I recently started an author blog, and I've been using twitter since it's inception. But one needs to decide how much time to devote to these things. As a writer, I need to be working as a writer, not a blogger or… twitter…er.


  20. Karen on July 10, 2009 at 10:19 PM

    >I love Facebook and blogging. They seem more cozy and personal. I just joined Twitter last week, and it's giving me a headache more than anything. Upped my blog readership, yes. But it's so very confusing and overwhelming.

  21. Amber Argyle-Smith on July 10, 2009 at 9:22 PM

    >Another thought, I never know what personal stuff is okay to post. On my blog, for instance, I refer to my children, but never by name.

    However, on facebook, I have pictures and whatnot. It makes me leery about accepting friends I don't know.


  22. Amber Argyle-Smith on July 10, 2009 at 9:20 PM

    >Sometimes I think blogging is absolutely useless. I've been at it a while. I have 32 followers (the best followers on the internet), but I spend a lot of time doing it and feel the publicity I gain may not pay off in the end.

    Facebook is much less time consuming. I can get the word out about something in 10 seconds.

  23. TE on July 10, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    >Hi Rachelle!

    Today is another great blog- thank you.

    I struggle with time constraints that threaten to make me lose my resolve on a daily basis- so sadly no social networking is on my resume. To date I still have a day job, two children, and a husband in the ministry.

    Some of my first thoughts about social networking were those of privacy issues, but now I see the advantage of one particular source, and that is blogging.

    I must say that I was inspired by your blog and my second favorite is Novel Journey. I visit both everyday. It has been a tremendous blessing to gain so much insight into the industry and journey of writing.

    Truthfully I believe I am still too new at this business to introduce too many distractions. So I will keep praying, learning the craft, and checking in with the experts- you!

    It is my hope that one day I will have a blog as useful and inviting as those that have become my favorites.

    God Bless!

  24. Susan J. Reinhardt on July 10, 2009 at 7:54 PM

    >At first, I wondered if I could come up with enough content for a blog. One year later, I'm still going strong by the grace of God.

    I enjoy the interaction with other writers in the comment section. Writers and readers are terrific folks.

    Facebook provides an easy way to reach authors, friends, and family. You don't need an email address to send off a quick message. It also helped bring traffic to my blog.

    The downside of Facebook: I've received a few "proposals" from gentlemen in other countries. Ick. Fortunately, there are ways to block unsavory people.

  25. Joe Iriarte on July 10, 2009 at 7:42 PM

    >I think that's a great point, Katrina. I notice a lot of people who seem to be using one medium or service to accomplish the same goal I accomplish with another. For many of us, it's probably a good idea to find something that works for you, and do it well, than to spread yourself so thin you spend all your time talking about writing and too little of actually . . . writing.

  26. Katrina on July 10, 2009 at 7:29 PM

    >I am terrified of getting addicted to twitter, facebook, etc. They seem to take up so much time, and that's one thing I know we all don't have much of. I've heard how valuable twitter is, but I think you have to figure what works for you, and right now, maintaining my blog is all I have time for. I think it's important for writers to do something, but taking part of all the social networking is like eating a whole cake by yourself. ONE piece people! How else are you going to have time to write?

  27. Bryan on July 10, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    >haha! Me too.

  28. Joe Iriarte on July 10, 2009 at 6:26 PM

    >Naw, I get annoyed at precisely the right level of ease. 😉

  29. Bryan on July 10, 2009 at 5:59 PM

    >p.s. to my previous post. I do not send blog updates via messages. People like Joe get annoyed too easily. 😉 I only use messages to notify people that it simply exists. Messages are a one time thing.

  30. Mariana on July 10, 2009 at 5:58 PM

    >Oh, yes, by my previous huge post, you all can see that I spend a lot of time with networking and researching, apart from the actual writing, and I am fully aware that it’s not going to last long. How I’m going to manage all this is still to be seen.

    Best regards to all!

  31. Mariana on July 10, 2009 at 5:56 PM

    >I used to share the concern on privacy expressed mainly by CKHB, but when I decided to “come public” as an aspiring writer I convinced myself that (or rather, was convinced by many articles I read while researching) networking was essential, and at least a part of who we are must be shared in order to hold the audience’s attention.

    So, I observed some writer’s blogs and how much they chose to share of their private life. When I started, my ideal of balance between public and private was Neil Gaiman’s journal (my very favorite author). However, from my perspective, now that he seems to be on an upward trend, and I’m very happy for him, please don’t misunderstand me, is sharing way too much of his and his family’s personal life.

    Nonetheless his recent openness, I still hold in mind the previous balance that was a model of relationship with his readers and fans. That is, he shared a bit, which is very attractive to the readership as they (we) feel more connected, but not too much. What is too much? That’s the trick, I don’t know, but when I find out I promise to share!

    So how do I network? My oldest account is on Orkut that, as many of you, I use just to keep in touch with friends and family.

    I also have a Facebook account with which I’m starting to actually build a network. If you wish to spend a few moments there, you’ll see that there are pictures sort of public, “sort of” because they are just for friends, and public because but many of my facebook contacts are related to me only indirectly, if related at all. Soon enough I’ll be able to deem them as part of my (so-recommended) platform.

    I also have a Twitter account (@mariblaser) that I created with two purposes: 1) gathering and sharing information (you’ll not believe how much information I obtained through Twitter!); and 2) the platform. Yes, I did come to Twitter mainly with platform building in mind, and I do believe it’s an amazing tool, and even a social revolution.

    Revolution. That’s a heavy word, isn’t it? I agree, but I’m not alone on this. If you’re curious (specially those very skeptical about Twitter, I suggest you try reading these): a) a testimony of a regular person, telling how he became an activist in Iran (minus the danger of confrontation, even peaceful, with a dictatorial government); b) how the American National Security Office does pay attention to Twitter; and b) Micheal Hyatt’s vision of Twitter as a leadership tool (thanks Rachelle for the indication of his website!).

    Finally, I also blog, but I don’t have a blog of my own. I read many blogs and sites (and tweets), and, at first reluctantly, am preparing the blog I was resisting so much until now. Here’s back the privacy issue, and I didn’t want to make another aspiring-writer-type-of-blog, because there are so many good ones and I’d just be lost in the crowd. After some consideration I had an idea, and now I’m preparing something different that I will share as soon as an opportunity comes.

    Sorry about the long post guys. I hope it’s helpful somehow.

    And as usual, thanks Rachelle! You rock!

  32. Kristen Torres-Toro on July 10, 2009 at 5:10 PM

    >I love Facebook and blogging, and am currently learning how to use both in this great thing known as the quest for publication. Though I have a twitter account, I have not decided how I will use it simply because it is not practical for my life. My phone plan does not allow texting or internet, so basically I would be doing the same thing on Twitter as Facebook, which seems like a waste of time. This is still something I am seriously considering and have not made a final decision on yet.

    I am excited about being able to work more on my blog and facebook (and even twitter) in the next few weeks/months and building my presence online. You have taught me a lot, Rachelle, and I am both very thankful and excited to use your advice!

    So, Guatemalan internet is not very reliable and the sky is getting dark. Time for me to go! Have a great weekend, Everyone!

  33. Kristen Torres-Toro on July 10, 2009 at 5:10 PM

    >I love Facebook and blogging, and am currently learning how to use both in this great thing known as the quest for publication. Though I have a twitter account, I have not decided how I will use it simply because it is not practical for my life. My phone plan does not allow texting or internet, so basically I would be doing the same thing on Twitter as Facebook, which seems like a waste of time. This is still something I am seriously considering and have not made a final decision on yet.

    I am excited about being able to work more on my blog and facebook (and even twitter) in the next few weeks/months and building my presence online. You have taught me a lot, Rachelle, and I am both very thankful and excited to use your advice!

    So, Guatemalan internet is not very reliable and the sky is getting dark. Time for me to go! Have a great weekend, Everyone!

  34. Joe Iriarte on July 10, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    >Yuck Bryan. No offense, but I had to learn how to set my e-mail client's filter rules just for someone like you.


    I have a link to my blog on my Facebook page, but I don't call attention to it. Some of my friends don't really see me as a writer and wouldn't treat that ambition of mine with respect, since I'm not yet published. I don't mention my blog in my status updates.

    Now I can totally see using Twitter to drive traffic to my blog though, since I could make a point of setting that aside as a writing thang and not a bring-all-my-different-social-circles-into-a-nice-big-melting-pot thang. I'm just not sure it's worth the risk of another time sink for that limited benefit. Once I'm published I'll probably take the plunge and join Twitter.

    As for interacting with writers and agents who don't know me from a hole in the ground, it feels a lot like being at the next table over in a Bennigans and eavesdropping on their admittedly loud and boisterous conversation–and occasionally leaning over to offer a tidbit of my own. They might reply; they might even be friendly. But it still doesn't feel like relationship-building to me. At the end of the day, I'm still not at the same table.


    A couple of folks have mentioned Facebook privacy settings. I learned this week, when a former student of mine died in a rather high profile accident, than Facebook privacy settings are meaningless where the media is concerned. I don't know how they do it, or if it's with facebook's complicity, but if you have your phone number there, even if you think only your friends can see it, they can gain access to it. Of course, you may not imagine that the news media might have any possible reason to want your phone number, and that seems reasonable enough. But you never know when news will happen to you.

    I know it sounds farfetched, but since I experienced it this week, I thought I'd throw it out there.

  35. Elise on July 10, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    >Now that I've read through the comments, I realize why I'm not into these social networks as much as some others. I'm a member of Sisters in Crime, the Guppies (Great UnPublished) online chapter, and RWA. My writer contacts are via mailing lists and meeting in person. The Guppies always arrange get-togethers at mystery conferences and my RWA chapter meets once a month. So I don't need virtual writer friends – although I do read author blogs on a regular basis. But I much prefer talking to real people rather than cyber-people.

  36. Bryan on July 10, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    I use facebook to create traffic to my blog. There are two ways I do that. First, I have all of my friends broken down into groups of 20. That takes a lot of time but it is worth it for what I'm going to tell you. I have messaged my friends making them aware of my blog with my blog address linked. Facebook only allows you to send a message to 20 people at a time and only about 100 people a day. If you send more messages than that FB will make you change your password due to suspicious activity coming from your account. (Trust me I know from experience.) Make the body sound like a personal message so your friends will read it. They wont know it was sent to 19 other people.
    Another way I use FB is by putting a teaser headline of my latest postings up on my status update; also providing a link to my blog. However, I have learned that if you post between 10 am and 2 pm you will have more traffic as opposed to posting outside of that timeframe. I guess people check it during lunch more often than not.
    Using facebook has increased my traffic by about 75%. I highly recommend using it strategically.
    I also use my updates sparingly. I dont put meaningless blurbs or deep theological comments. Make them fun and witty but dont try too hard to get a laugh. Most people dont care. Sorry.
    By the way, I have over 1,100 friends. I spend about five minutes a day searching for friends that I legitimately have a connection with.
    I dont put any personal contact information other than my e-mail address.
    Be careful not to get obsessed with it but it can be a great tool if you use it the right way.
    Sorry for the long post. I hope it helps.

  37. Novice Writer Anonymous on July 10, 2009 at 4:09 PM

    >I use facebook, but I recently deleted from my friends list everyone but 8 people so I guess I don't really use it to its best advantage. Though I will likely start up a separate account for my writing networking when the time comes. As for the others, well, I don't get the draw of Twitter; I just closed my unused LinkedIn account (doesn't work with my personality); I do blog, missed that one; MySpace was never a draw even when it was in its heyday; I don't know what the others are.

    I will eventually create a website and host my blog there instead of on Blogger.

  38. Elise on July 10, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    >I only signed up for Twitter last week and that was mostly to see what all the brouhaha was about. So far, I don't get it. I couldn't find many writers to follow and those that are there are mostly newbies, just published or about to be published. I specifically searched for some of my favorite authors and found that they don't tweet, they don't blog, and they don't necessarily keep their web sites up to date. But they do write really good books.
    The most useful function I've seen on Twitter is local traffic reports. But I'm not about to use Twitter on my cell phone.
    Oh – I am an old fogy, but I'm also a computer programmer, so it's not like I'm not technology friendly. I just don't like the time suck of useless communication via these social networks.

  39. Tara on July 10, 2009 at 3:01 PM

    >I love blogging, which is my main source for social networking as a writer. I love getting to connect with other people, learning new things from great bloggers with different kinds of experience than mine, and finding those people I can support on the journey through life.

    That being said, in order to be effective as a marketing tool, I have to limit it. I gear my Facebook page to family and friends, and I post family photos on it. My blog focuses on writing and editing.

    I haven't done Twitter mainly because I want to make sure my social marketing involves building relationships that I can maintain. I'm not sure I could maintain Twitter with the other things I use.

    One thing to keep in mind is to use social marketing in a way that gives to others and not just as a way to get things from others.

  40. Horserider on July 10, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    >I blog and Facebook. My blog is completely writing centered and my Facebook has little to do with my writing life. I use it mainly to keep in touch with family and friends. (I know, I know that's what phones and letters are for.) I enjoy blogging because it allows me to talk about something I love (writing and reading) and meet others that love it like I do.

    I've never used Twitter. I just didn't understand it in the early stages of its popularity. I know that might sound a little weird.

  41. Patrick on July 10, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    >I'd have to say that of all the social networks, Twitter is my favorite. It feels like a global chat, similar to a massive instant messaging room and everyone's invited. I've met so many interesting people with unique points of view whom I would not otherwise have ever met – all through Twitter.

    Facebook has lost its luster for me and, like Myspace, repels me. I venture there rarely. Both have become far too cluttered to be effective. Simple is better.

    What I dislike about any of them is the fact that the ease of use we all enjoy also makes it possible for people to misuse these systems. I'm speaking specifically of all the spam that erupts. I receive 10-12 porn bot twitter friends each week and I know it's only going to keep rising.

    How are they improving my life or helping me in my career – well, if I'm finding people that I never would have networked with previously, the same is true of them: they are finding me. As an unpublished author, I've been thrilled to find small publishing houses suddenly following me on Twitter. It provides me with the opportunity to make an impression with them that will hopefully be positive and help when I am ready to start querying. Additionally, if I can bring a following with me to any prospective publisher, I will be a step ahead of someone who hasn't made that investment.

    Time – someone asked me recently if I live on my computer. I laughed and said, truthfully, that I do not. However, I stay as connected as possible. I have Apps on my iPhone that let me connect to Twitter and my blog and even Facebook. I think it's very possible to maintain a decent online presence without having to sacrifice your personal or creative time, you just have to find the balance that's right for you.


  42. Robin Archibald on July 10, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    >I facebook and twitter. For me, facebook is for keeping up with friends and family. It's convenient and fun, and I've connected with friends I wouldn't have otherwise. I just wish more of my old friends would use facebook.

    And Twitter is for . . . it's for . . . Well, a lot of people seem to use twitter for networking. I got into twitter for a while, but I have problems with it. Here's one: People follow me who are just fishng to get me to look at their profile and go to their blog. They're often trying to sell something. Or they're into twitter for the popularity contest aspect. They just want 1000's of followers.

    And most people use tweetdeck, so even if I've followed people and they've followed me back, their "follow" is meaningless. They're not reading my tweets because I'm not in their main tweetdeck feed.

    One of the most useful reasons to tweet is to say something interesting with your 140 characters that will draw people to your blog post. I've gone to people's blogs because their tweet piqued my interest.

    Lately I've stopped checking either facebook or twitter because I was spending too much time.

  43. Amy L. Sonnichsen on July 10, 2009 at 2:37 PM

    >I love Facebook. Since I grew up overseas in a very transient community, it's helped me find tons of old friends and acquaintances. Whenever I post to my blog, it posts to facebook also. I find, since I have so many facebook friends, that I get a lot of comments about my posts on my facebook page. If I ever do get a book published, I think this will be such a helpful way of getting the word out to my friends all over the world. 🙂

  44. Liz on July 10, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    >Twitter is awesome. It is easy to use, and because the tweets are so short is really isn't that time-consuming. If you use an app like tweetdeck to organize your followers it is much easier. I don't know any of the people I follow IRL, but feel like I know them, and follow many blogs that I have learned about through Twitter.
    It's great for the latest news and networking in just about any area.

    I started a Facebook account in the hopes that I could use it as a forum for a group of African vendors I list on a web site, but it quickly became bogged down with family and friends. Now I realize I will have to have another dedicated site if I want to use it for business networking. Not sure I want business contacts reading all about my family life. Facebook practically eats time up. It isn't easy to figure out and is filled with frivolous applications, people trying to give you gifts, hugs, etc.

  45. Elisa on July 10, 2009 at 2:22 PM

    >One more thing: I could not be having the success with book sales that I’m having were it not for social networking. It’s helping me build the platform I need to gain recognition and attract a literary agent and traditional publishing contract, which is an intent of mine.

  46. Elisa on July 10, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    >Great to read everyone's comments!

    I joined FB for personal reasons, but it's been wonderful for my career as an author. I enjoy connecting (and re-connecting) with true friends and family on FB that I don’t get to see anymore. I’ve also met some great people thanks to commenting on friends’ pages or fan forums – and I’ve sold my novel that way as well, without explicitly saying “buy my book”. In fact, it’s been great for word-of-mouth.

    It took me awhile to get into Twitter, and I joined specifically to network myself as an author and my novels as well. But what I especially like is following authors, agents, publishers, and keeping tabs on the publishing/book world. I have a sense of community on Twitter that I didn’t have access to before. And it’s a chance to attract followers I never would have had access to as well.

    I also keep a blog and like that I can link them to Twitter and FB — I get more replies on those sites than the actual blog site, but that's fine with me. The great thing is when followers then RT my links.

    Of course, the scary part is the vast exposure and the risk of attracting some people I don’t want to attract. This can lead disturbed fans into a false sense of relationship with a person they’re following on Twitter, for example. And even with privacy settings, there is still so much information that a person can access. I’m considering taking my family photos off FB because I don’t trust that the content is owned by FB and not me.

    I also sometimes dislike how time-consuming it is. I feel like I never stop promoting. And while that can be enjoyable, it can also be tedious if I’m just not up to it. I also don't want to be annoying with it — the trick is to balance fun with serious promotion. A lot of my tweets have nothing to do w/ the novel at all, and those are great because it's all part of promoting me as well as my work.

    I have to get better at balancing my time, especially when the university semester starts next month because I teach as well as write.

  47. careann on July 10, 2009 at 12:52 PM

    >My writing has been a lifelong preoccupation, but a private one. When I was finally convinced to share my work I went public gradually. My blog began under a pseudonym with the intent of sharing words where only a few people were likely to find them. During the past year I've slowly uncloaked. After yesterday's post on Nathan's blog I finally acknowledged the limitations of my blog and began making significant changes.

    I like blogging for its ability to let me communicate a little or a lot about myself and my writing process and publish the revelations when I'm ready to do so. My family enticed me onto Facebook and I like it for keeping track of them. I don't 'friend' people I don't already know, so as a professional tool it isn't useful to me (yet… maybe later). And Twitter? For me it would be like watching blink-of-an-eye soap operas. 140-character, mundane or drama-laden glimpses into everyone's daily existence. I know it appeals to many, but I can't get interested in what seems like a gigantic time-waster.

    Which brings me to your other question about balancing time. Internet access is invaluable in my pursuit of writing and communication–I use the internet for research; I use my wordprocessor for writing; I use my blog and e-mail for sharing. Each component is important and can't outweigh time spent on the others or my writing suffers and it's the writing that's most important to me right now.

    IMHO, serious writers know how to keep that balance; they understand the need for discipline. Wannabees enjoy experiencing the writing environment and playing with the tools instead of using them to achieve the intended end result. At least, that's how I see it.

    Careann/Carol J Garvin 🙂

  48. Rachel Hauck on July 10, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    >As a extrovert writer, social networks are my "water cooler."

    I like to "talk" to people to see what's going on in their day.

    I've met fans and made fans through Twitter and FB.

    It doesn't take much time at all if I discipline myself. I can waste time, surely, but if it wasn't on social sites, it'd be something else. Those things don't create a temptation in me that's not already there at some level.

    It's more than meeting people, it gives me a chance to influence others for good, people I wouldn't meet any other way. The power of writing, the power of the pen goes beyond my novels, but into the cyber world via my blogs, Twitters and conversations on FB.


  49. Angie Ledbetter on July 10, 2009 at 12:47 PM

    >FMTA. I posted on my humiliating venture into Tweeting/Tooting today.

  50. Rain Likely on July 10, 2009 at 12:09 PM

    >Like many have mentioned, I like Facebook for keeping in touch with family and friends. I don't twitter because I don't do anything interesting enough to warrant updates. In fact, I've had to "hide" people on FB because their constant posting was boring to me.

    I am struggling with just getting a book written, so I'm not concerning myself with getting anything published, yet.

  51. Jeanie W on July 10, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    >I use twitter to socialize with people interested in writing and illustrating from all over the English-speaking world . We don't always "talk" about writing or art – sometimes it's just watercooler-type conversations – but I like being able to connect with so many people with similar goals in life. Writing gets lonely sometimes, and such people can be hard to find in my neighborhood. Twitter also keeps the conversations short. It's easy to dip in and out of the network. Socializing face to face that briefly might come off as rude. One of the things I find troubling about Twitter, however, is how it's become a favorite avenue for infecting computers with viruses and spyware. One must be super cautious about clicking links.

    I use Facebook to keep up with relatives and old friends as well as to make new "friends" in the writing business. As with Twitter, Facebook conversations can be brief, but I like how on Facebook people's news and pictures stay up for a while so you can view them at your leisure. On the downside, all those applications, "gifts," and quizzes can get annoying.

    I don't blog much myself (my blog is almost entirely pictures), but I like to follow other folks' blogs, especially blogs like this one. So many people in the publishing industry are being generous with up-to-date information; I'd feel foolish not taking advantage. It can be a significant time-drain, however, so I've started to skip or skim posts that repeat information I've seen somewhere else.

  52. pam on July 10, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    >I'm on Twitter and LinkedIn for work, and Facebook for fun. Facebook I only connect with people I know, family and friends. On LinkedIn I will connect with anyone, same with Twitter because it's all about reach with those networks for me and the way I use them.

    I'm considering opening a second Twitter account though just for personal use, where I only connect to people I know. My Twitter feed is so big now that it's a lot of white noise and I find myself participating less. But, it does have its uses, if I post info about my business, updates on searches, etc. they do get forwarded along and I hear from people, so it seems to work.

  53. Lynnda - Passionate for the Glory of God on July 10, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    >Hi Rachelle!

    After hearing so much about Twitter online, I was wondering if I should try it. However, it was a relief to find so many people using the same two systems for the same reasons that I do. I use blogging for education from and connection to the outside world and Facebook to keep up with friends and family. The results of the poll were also reassuring. Now I can leave my Twitter reservations in the closet and focus on writing instead of twittering!

    Rosslyn Elliott, I have the same concerns you expressed, especially about loneliness. Sometimes I wonder if most Facebook traffic is not just another cry for companionship.

    Have a "mellow" weekend!


  54. Heather on July 10, 2009 at 11:06 AM

    >Am I the only one who thinks FB and Twitter is a total waste of time?!?!?
    I have a lot of friends on FB and they keep pushing me to get an account. While it'd be cool, allowing me to keep up with buddies I otherwise don't see often, I personally see no problem with the good ol' emailing system (hard to believe that I'd ever call email "old"). 🙂 I'd much rather check email a couple of times a day than spend hours chattering on FB and Twitter when there are many other demands on my time (writing, family, etc). I blog, but usually once a week, and it's like practicing for "real" deadlines when I blog.
    I guess I am afraid of it being a horrible time suck.

  55. Roxane B. Salonen on July 10, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    >Rachelle, how do you ever find time to go through all these comments, or do you? That alone would be a major time constraint, I would think. So much has been said here already, but one thing I've found is that being on the "outside" and being on the "inside" of social networking makes all the difference. Those who have yet to dip into at least a couple of these online networking "venues" feel anxious about it. Once they do dip their toe in, they typically find it isn't so bad, even exhilarating. But yes, the time-sucking factor…that's the looming obstacle. I think we're all still trying to work it out, aren't we? It's good to take a step back and discuss…

  56. lynnrush on July 10, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    >I love FaceBook. Twitter is a very close second, though. It can be a time suck if I don't shut off the little "chat" box on FaceBook.

    I've met some stellar people on FaceBook/Twitter–both writers and non writers. It's well worth the time invested in posting, especially if you link everything (blog, FaceBook, and Twitter) so all three are updated, like Krista said.

    I blog 5-6 times per week, and I get most of my traffic through my Networked Blogs (FaceBook App) followers. We have a lot of fun there.

    Anyway, great question. I've enjoyed reading everyones thoughts on this whole social media thing.

    Have a great weekend, everyone.

  57. MisterChris on July 10, 2009 at 10:49 AM

    >I use FB a lot. I blog rarely. My FB page was originally set up (like my Myspace) to network for my music.

    I have lots of contacts that are fellow songwriters and now fellow novelists, as well as tons of friends from church and my old high school years and years ago.

    I had to lock down the privacy settings on my FB account – had some 'stalking' going on. Wierd when you're an old fat guy, but my mouth does tend to make friends or enemies.

    I have a Twitter account from #queryfail fiasco, but I still have no clue how the crazy thing works or why I should care.

    My blogs are only updated at random when I have another story to tell.

    TIME SUCK? Are you kidding me? The whole websphere is a time suck to me. I should be writing, and so should all of you! Why are you reading this. Go write the dramatic death of a supporting character, or something! 😉

    PS – This blog has been extremely educational for me, and has actually usually been time WELL spent. 🙂

    Thanks, Rachelle, for keeping it going.

  58. PatriciaW on July 10, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    >I've been blogging for years. I love it because it's a chance to share and receive information as well as to meet new people and network.

    I resisted other social networking for as long as I could. Now, having bitten the Facebook and Twitter bullets, I'm glad I did. I enjoy Facebook particularly, because it's so much more than just 140 characters of text. I've connected with old classmates from elementary school through college, friends, family, other writers, and publishing industry professionals. But this last category is the least of them.

    The biggest problem I have is that the FB and Twitter universes don't totally overlap. Some people not on FB; some not on Twitter. And, in order to talk with both groups, I have to access each app because replies to my tweets via FB don't come back to me in FB. Maybe I'm doing it wrong?

    The other problem? Time. BIG time drain. Time I could be spending with immediate family, resting, writing, reading, or any number of other things, particularly things that involve actual human interaction.

    Finally. I think as we become an increasingly electronic society that we all need time to decompress and get back to basics. We need to build this into our days or weeks. Time with no Blackberries, cell phones, computers, etc.

  59. Anne L.B. on July 10, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    >Rosslyn, loved everything you said. I'm pretty skeptical about Twitter myself, despite the recommendation it gets from people I highly respect. Thanks for being so transparent.

  60. Cynthia 40 on July 10, 2009 at 10:18 AM

    >I use Facebook and Twitter. I also have a blog, which I started last month. I probably use Twitter the most, but in the past month I have found friends and family on Facebook. I enjoy Twitter, but I sometimes struggle with coming up with something worthwhile to say. What I like the best about twitter is that it is really not that hard to get a following, and I like Facebook because it's fun. However, I do notice that you can waste alot of time on Facebook. Hopefully I will find a happy balance between the three.

  61. Anne L.B. on July 10, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    >Facebook: Totally awesome and not too time consuming way to connect with my faraway family, friends, and even people at my large church who I sometimes miss. LOVE IT.

    Twitter: Just signed on, but I'm only lurking because I can't afford another time drain now.

    Reading others' blogs: Big time drain. And I'm with Gwen, sometimes they feel pretty homogeneous. But I've found them an invaluable tool for both information and connecting with people I don't know but need to.

    My blog: It's become a ministry calling I'll stick with at any cost as long as God keeps enabling (even pushing) me to do it. It's been the most demanding and the most rewarding because of the way people respond.

  62. Liesl Shurtliff on July 10, 2009 at 9:59 AM

    >I use Facebook. I like it because I don't have to constantly update my phone numbers and addresses and emails to keep tabs on everyone. If I need them I know where to find them. If I have something to say I can shout it to the world. Or at least mine.

    One thing that annoys me about Facebook is "Blasts from the Pasts." There are some people I'd rather not even remember let alone have contact with. Sometimes I ignore those invites, but just that invite makes a connection with them again, as if they have somehow penetrated my world again in a most unwelcome fashion. However small, that connection's there and it gnaws at me.

    I don't use Twitter. No particular reason except maybe I don't feel the need at this point and I try to limit my "time wasters" so I can focus on what really matters. My craft. In the end, that's is the biggest part of a writer's career. If you write really well I believe (or hope rather) that the networking will come a little more easily.

  63. Dara on July 10, 2009 at 9:56 AM

    >I like Twitter and Facebook and blogging (the three social networking tools I use) because of the ability to connect to other people and writers. I also like that in some instances, you get to see the personality of the person represented there (especially on Facebook). It also helps me keep in touch with those I have lost track with over the years.

    I'm thankful for it because I don't really have many friends locally. My church doesn't offer much in the way of people my age; my husband and I are the only young married couple in a church that's mostly 50+. Social networking has helped me branch out and make friends online.

    Of course that doesn't take place of personal relationships, which can be the downfall of social networking. It can isolate us from loved ones if we spend too much time on FB and Twitter. It can be difficult to balance especially when these sites can be so addictive.

  64. Peggy Frezon on July 10, 2009 at 9:46 AM

    >Reminds me of discussing time management with my kids as they've blissfully headed off to college. Now I'm struggling with time management for myself as I write full time while trying to keep up with my blog, reading other great blogs, Facebook, Twitter and email. For me, Facebook is mostly for social contacts. I've found Twitter useful for networking, especially if you use #litchat #writechat #memoirchat etc. While delving more into tweeting, I've mainly neglected Facebook. I'm not great at multitasking. Sigh.

  65. markwise on July 10, 2009 at 9:41 AM

    >I used to use MySpace but it has become so virus/hacker/thug/ghetto ridden that I stopped.

    Facebook is better but connecting with old friends just brings back old drama. Talking every onnce in a while is fine but they don't need cosntant status updates and all.

    I don't use Twitter for this reason. I don't think people need to know what I am doing 24/7 in 140 characters or less. Likewise, I don't want to know that about them. If I want to know what they are doing, I want more than 140 characters to do it. But I guess we live in a text-message world now. Yet people wonder where kids get ADHD and why they are in contant need of massive stimuli… but I digress.

  66. Rosslyn Elliott on July 10, 2009 at 9:36 AM

    >I had a great conversation about social media with some *real live* writer friends the other day. In each other's physical presence. Gasp! 🙂

    The negative comments first: we are all skeptical and a little worried about many aspects of social media. As Christian commentators have noted, there is an epidemic of loneliness in our country today, what with increasing mobility in our society and decreasing opportunity to make and sustain real communal connections. When people joke that they are "addicted" to Facebook, it's not always a laughing matter. FB is just like other addictive substances (for some of its users, not all). It appears to ease the pang of loneliness, but in actuality, it makes it worse. The superficiality of Facebook (which is even worse on Twitter) can become for some people not water to quench their spiritual thirst, but dry twigs on a fire.

    As a homeschooling mom of one, I have misused FB occasionally as a way to give me company on a lonely day (checking it too often, feeling dependent on whether or not people responded to me). I have to be careful with the role it occupies in my life. That's why I won't touch Twitter. It's even more superficial, and even more illusory as a kind of "connection" with others.

    My friend also made an excellent point about social media: they make us even busier in our already-overpacked lives, and takes us away from the silent contemplation that is an essential component of the Christian life. Social media can become a din of distracting voices to allow us never to be still, never to face our selves in the classic discipline of examen. Even those who still reserve some quiet time in their days will suffer from constant internal noise the rest of the time, when they allow the social media free rein (especially Twitter).

    On the positive side: I do use Facebook, and I do appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and participate in their daily lives. It does have some advantages. The 140 character limit of Twitter, however, I perceive as intrinsically destructive. It's the soundbyting of our minds, the ultimate triumph of superficiality over substance. Twitter turns life into a constant cocktail party.

    The best aspect of social media is blogging. As I said in a recent blog post, I have made new friends through blogging because it allows the exchange of substantial ideas and more intimate perspectives on experience.

    I also find that much of the Twitter traffic seems to be driven by people who want to market to me, just as the site Shoutlife is primarily marketing-driven. I don't need any more commercials or incentives to buy in my life! 🙂

    I know that many people will disagree with me, but I'd like to respectfully bring some of these points to your attention anyway. I think it's important for all of us to consider the potential spiritual effects of these media. Thanks for prompting the discussion, Rachelle!

  67. Cheryl Barker on July 10, 2009 at 9:31 AM

    >I blog and Facebook but don't Twitter. I'm afraid I'd spend too much time with Twitter — be tempted not to limit it the same way I'm able to limit my time to checking Facebook two or three times a day. I'm also not set up to do it from my phone so would have to tweet only from my computer.

    Love Facebook for staying in touch, especially with family members and friends that I don't normally talk to/email on any kind of regular basis. It's also helping me build some relationships with fellow writers and gives me a chance to announce my blog posts and get a little extra traffic that way.

    By the way, Rachelle, I borrowed your idea of 10 reasons for no real post and posted my own top 10 just the other day. Mentioned if you could do it, so could I and then linked to you. Thanks for a great idea! 🙂

  68. froggfeathers on July 10, 2009 at 9:12 AM

    >I am obviously the odd one out.

    I do not understand Twitter. I tried to dip my toes in when that whole queryfail train wreck was happening and just could not wrap my head around the benefit of knowing where someone had lunch and that someone else had to go buy groceries.

    I had a Facebook account. I closed it when I kept getting *invites* from people trying to sell me thing. Besides, I also work with children and as another commenter mentioned, we have to be insanely careful about conversations with minors.

    My vice is blogs. I follow a dozen or so, but don't often read the comments. I also chat on occasion at FM.

    The time sucking monster in my cyberworld is Youtube. I can lose hours following random videos that serve no purpose. I suspect a government conspiracy there.

  69. JStantonChandler on July 10, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    >Social networking was such a scary subject for me up until six months ago when I seriously took the plunge.

    I'd had a myspace account but deleted as it became nothing but a juvenile attempt to blare music, collect digital pets and showcase scantily clad women in the sidebars.

    Facebook has been a wonderful tool for me so far to keep up with friends and family. I enjoy the little glimpses I get into their daily lives. It's a wonderful way to reach a lot of people at once, or just to tell that same lot what's going on in your day to day. I've contemplated creating a professional Facebook for my writing, but I don't think I'm at that point in my writing career to need one. For now, I'll continue posting personally and professionally on my one account.

    Blogging has become an indespensible part of my writing career. I've learned so much from the blogs I frequent (this one in particular; thanks Rachelle!) and I've met many talented writers in all walks of life. I'm not currently involved in a writer's group so blogging has become my lifeline to the industry and to others with similar passions. It is also great writing exercise and a crash course in discipline. I know others are reading what I write; I have no excuses not to post!

    Excellent post this Friday! Happy weekend to all,

    PS: Haste yee back, love the smoke signals!

  70. Deb Watson on July 10, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    >Twitter has been a great social networking tool for me. Through Twitter I have met several people who have broadened my perspective in the area of publishing and marketing. It has also opened the door to new friendships. As I write this, I am waiting for a call from a "new author friend."

    Facebook is a great family and community forum. It is a great place to catch up on people's lives, to see pictures of their families and on several occasions to read about a specific need that has been posted in a status bar. Those posted needs allow me to become an intercessor on their behalf.

    The danger of course is the amount of time that can be twittered or facebooked away. A little discipline can go a long way!

  71. SM Blooding on July 10, 2009 at 8:55 AM

    >Okay. After reading all these wonderful reviews of Facebook, I…tried it…and am COMPLETELY lost! I don't think Facebook is for me. I'm still going to keep trying it out…but…*cringe* I did find some people I know! Whew! That was kinda cool.

  72. Haste yee back ;-) on July 10, 2009 at 8:41 AM

    >I still use the old technology…
    Smoke Signals!

    Haste yee back 😉

  73. SM Blooding on July 10, 2009 at 8:35 AM

    >I Twitter, but don't quite get it. I think the reason for that is because I'll enter into a conversation and because I can't stay on there for very long, by the time I log back on the replies that might have been made to my part of the conversation are buried. *shakes head*

    I love to blog. My biggest problem is that I don't have a lot of time. The time I use to network is time I should be using to post RFI's (at work) or to get writing done. *wince* So I like things that will get me out there and will allow me to comment/converse with people on my own time. Blogging works!

    But…I'm also one of those people who are a little…intimidated by the Internet. I think my grandmother Googles better than I can.

  74. Gwen Stewart--Singer-Scribe on July 10, 2009 at 8:34 AM

    >What I love about Facebook is connecting with people: writers, family, friends, maybe, someday, potential readers.

    I'm really struggling with blogging. There's a quiet subtext among Christian bloggers that makes us seem…I count myself in this too…a little homogeneous. We don't want to offend, so we talk about the least controversial topic we can: our own experience.

    I'm weary of talking about myself. I feel chained to my own experience in blogging, lest I offend. And the contradiction in that is, if we are the Christian writers, and we have milquetoasted our blogs so they won't offend…who is left to speak truth even if it's pointed and maybe even "controversial"?

    Alllll—righty, then! I shall take my pondering self right over to Facebook for some happy updates and friends. 🙂

  75. SharonK on July 10, 2009 at 8:33 AM

    >I love Facebook, in spite of the changes that they keep insisting will make it better (it doesn't). It's a great way to catch up on what friends are doing and to update them without having to make 89 phone calls and repeating the same thing over and over again.

    I hate Twitter but tweet anyway because of peer pressure. Really have nothing good to say about it yet but it's still early. A popularity contest I am destined to fail.

    I love blogging because I can say what I want, when I want. It's sort of like a bumper sticker, only with comments.

  76. Liana Brooks on July 10, 2009 at 8:27 AM

    >I've just started Twittering (@LianaBrooks) and it's interesting. I like that I can chat with friends and exchange thoughts with some agents quickly.

    None of the agents are ones I'd query because of genre, but it's still kind of thrilling to have any agent acknowledge I exist.

    I don't really love the stalker aspect of Twitter. With only one short story published under my name I really doubt the people following me are huge fans desperate to know when my next mega-blockbuster novel is coming out.

    I'm not on Facebook yet. Eventually I will have to cave, but since I can't seriously consider querying until after December (must redraft again) I don't think I need Facebook just yet.

    It would be a time investment that I don't see paying off at this stage in writing. It'll happen, but not until later in the year.

  77. Matilda McCloud on July 10, 2009 at 8:13 AM

    >I love blogging–I have two blogs, but these aren't necessarily helping my fiction writing career. They're just great fun to write and I'm always recommending that everyone write a blog of some kind!

    I have a Facebook account, but I just haven't had time to do much with it. My sons have promised to help me get it going, but…

    I'm not into Twitter yet…

    I've heard Linked In is a good way to network with people, but I haven't joined yet.

    And I also recently joined Amazon Author and JacketFlap (for children's book writers, industry people etc). Not much action yet on either yet.

    I also love LibraryThing, where you can put the books on your bookshelf online and chat with other people about books. It's a great place to browse if you can't think of anything to read

  78. Heidi Cautrell on July 10, 2009 at 8:10 AM

    >I do Facebook to keep up with friends and family. I do Twitter so that I can see just what it is the agents and authors and editors have to say in real time. That is when I actually have the time to read Twitter.

    I just started blogging, so I'm not truly certain how this will pan out, but I'm hoping to use what writing and research skills I have to the test.

  79. Jeanette Levellie on July 10, 2009 at 8:10 AM

    >Would it be too dramatic to say that blogging has changed my life? Connecting with other writers, having a new avenue for my writing, improving the craft and finding a critique partner are only a few of the benefits I've reaped. The relationships gained are the #1 benefit.

    I am considering Facebook, to connect up with people we haven't seen in decades. But I worry that it will take much time away from actual writing.

    Twitter seems like a frivilous toy. I know, I know, Michael Hyatt loves it. But I am not Michael Hyatt.

    Thanks for asking, Rachelle!
    Happy Weekend,
    Audience of ONE

  80. Sarahlynn on July 10, 2009 at 8:10 AM

    >I have MySpace and Classmates accounts but I don't use them. I do use LinkedIn, Plaxo, Blogger, and Facebook.

    LinkedIn and Plaxo took little time to set up and almost no time to maintain, but help former colleagues and classmates see what I'm up to (my blog feeds out to several of my social networking sites).

    Facebook is fun because I occasionally stop by and happen upon something interesting going on with a real life friend/acquaintance/family member. And I sometimes get more comments there on my blog posts than I do at my actual blog. But I don't spend much time there overall; maybe an hour or two a week.

    My main time-suck is blogger. I read only agent/editor/industry blogs (and that only as time allows) but I do blog every day. I find it valuable because of:

    1) The daily discipline of writing.

    2) Feedback from a wonderful community.

    3) Updating far-flung friends and family.

    4) Practice developing and structuring my thoughts and opinions, which leads to clarity of thought.

    What I dislike about all this social networking is the same thing that scares me. The time. I don't have TIME for what I'm doing now (parenting two tiny children – one with special needs – while remaining active in my church and community, maintaining friendships and managing a household, trying to WRITE and keep up with writers and readers groups).

    I don't WANT to Twitter. But will it harm my career if I don't eventually take the plunge?

  81. Sharon A. Lavy on July 10, 2009 at 7:57 AM

    >My computer has two screens. I have my wip up on one screen and I write until I am needing a breather, stuck, or etc. Then I check Twitter. My Twitter feeds to facebook. I look at facebook about once a day. I do make comments and so I have follow up throughout the day.

    I feel closer to my friends. I keep up with other writers. I root them on when they are trying to reach goals.

  82. Alexis Grant on July 10, 2009 at 7:54 AM

    >Facebook is fun, but Twitter is far more useful. Since I started writing my book six months ago and learning about the world of publishing, joining Twitter has been the best thing I've done for myself. I've made so many connections, both with other writers who are working on projects similar to mine, and with authors and editors who, after learning more about me, have offered to help me find an agent/publisher once my manuscript is ready.

    Rachelle, you're right, it's a total time-suck. But it's worth it. I even blogged about why writers should use Twitter. Writers, if you commented here that you don't understand the value of Twitter, you should consider giving it a try!

    Looking forward to reading the rest of the comments.

  83. Katie Ganshert on July 10, 2009 at 7:37 AM

    >I have a FB and a twitter account. At this point in my life, the main reason I do them is because they're just plain fun. Especially Twitter. I can't tell you how many funny twitter conversations I've had with my cyber friends.

  84. Faith on July 10, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    >Facebook is good for staying connected with family & friends – especially those who are far away – but I don't particularly use it as a part of my 'writing life'.

    Blogging is my current mode of trying to build contacts, but it will take time. I like reading other people's thoughts about the industry, and I've learned some valuable things.

    Thus far, I've avoided Twitter because it seems too self-indulgent, but I'm beginning to see the value in using it as a tool to announce new blog posts/upcoming books or podcasts/that kind of thing. I'm still holding off for now… but it seems like something authors are really getting into these days, and I don't want to be left behind.

  85. Jeff on July 10, 2009 at 7:25 AM

    >Facebook is my favorite and the most useful for the most people. It is easy to use, most of the people I know are on it, and it makes keeping in touch effortless. I wish I never had to deal with the ten thousand applications, but other than that it is wonderful.

    Twitter, I haven't fully figured it out yet. I feel its something you have to constantly check and update to get something out of. Maybe I'm just not getting it yet.

  86. BygracegoI on July 10, 2009 at 7:22 AM

    >I have a myspace account that I liked because I could change the look anytime I wanted, very easily and it helps me keep up with my teenagers. It is a bit juvenile for me.

    I love facebook, almost to an addiction. I only use it for people I actually know. I like being able to keep up with my friends and family without feeling as though I'm intruding. It's an easy way to show what's going on in your life and see others as well. Without having to individually connect to everyone. Life is just too busy for that right now. I wouldn't want strangers to have that kind of access to me and my family. I have turned down friend requests from people I didn't know for that very reason.

    I don't "twitter". It just doesn't seem to have any real value to me.

    I do have a blog that I try to write on at least once a week. Right now, that seems impossible so I do what I can. I don't let that pressure me.

  87. Jim on July 10, 2009 at 7:19 AM

    >I reluctantly joined Facebook to see some picture postings from a missionary in Guatemala. Only recently I became more active and I find that I'm maintaining better contact with family across the country. I've also been "found" by people I hadn't seen for 34 years! Pretty surreal.


  88. Scott on July 10, 2009 at 7:16 AM

    >I don't text, therefore I don't Twitter!

    Facebook – I love the glimpses into the lives of my friends and family. My family all lives in other states, so it's intersting to catch up on things via Facebook. I've also reconnected with people I lost touch with – so that's a good thing.

    The social networks, at least for me, don't have much of an impact on my current career (love my job, btw), but at some point might have an impact on my writing. At this point, I don't follow any agents on Facebook.

    Time – I'm never on Facebook or Blogger for extended periods. Still, a minute blogging or Facebooking is a minute away from writing. SIGH.

    I think we all need time away from writing, working, and life in general. Facebook often provides that time, as does blogging.

    Ah the joys of the Age of Technology . . .

  89. Krista Phillips on July 10, 2009 at 7:09 AM

    >I use twitter because it updates on my blog sidebar as well as my facebook status. Kills three birds in one stone. Facebook I log on less regularly because I would spend too much time browsing, but still go on a few times a week. With twitter, I run tweetdeck and keep it minimized on my screen. It really doesn't take a lot of my time, except when fellow tweeters and I get on very exciting conversations about vibrating bums (but I used it as fodder for a joke in my new book so SEE, it WAS writing related…)

    I like them because it keeps me in touch with the writing community, and I learn a lot just from people's little tweets. When a writer posts "I made my word count goal today!" It excites me and makes me want to accomplish mine too.

    Blogging is great because I've met so many people through it, and it's a tool that once my book IS published, I hope will invite my readers to communicate with me regularly. Could be a good or bad thing, I suppose! ha! But I think if a reader follows you and see's the progress of a book, it might excite them to want to buy it, right?

    Anyway, just my random thoughts for this morning!

  90. Marybeth Poppins on July 10, 2009 at 6:38 AM

    >I'm more of an addict than a user of facebook, twitter, and Blogger. I haven't quite perfected my time management skills, but in a way it has helped me get my name out there. I love all three and think they are essential in making a name for yourself.

  91. suelder on July 10, 2009 at 6:24 AM

    >I'm on twitter, but only to keep in contact with online friends – although I am following some agents and authors.

    Mostly – it's a really quick way to keep track of friends going through something. Aren't we all?

    A friend had a medical scare and tweeted, so I didn't have to keep calling and bugging her. (She's fine)

    The downside is that I really don't need to know what my buddies had for breakfast. Really.

  92. CKHB on July 10, 2009 at 6:08 AM

    >For me, the tricky issue is privacy. I used to act (and I have an appropriate link to the IMDB on my new writing blog because that's part of my public/professional profile), which means I've been somewhat in the public eye for a while, but that also means that I've already experienced some stalker craziness, and I'm really nervous about letting the wrong people into a more private area of my life.

    I pulled down many of the essays, photos, and links on my personal homepage last year because we received a death threat on our home phone. Photos of my daughter had always been password-protected, but suddenly we realized just how accessible we could be if someone really wanted to come after us… our home street visible in the background of an otherwise innocuous photo, etc.

    I still get about half a dozen fan emails a year because of my former (like, 20 years ago!) acting career, and that kind of contact from strangers is usually pretty cool, but it can all go so wrong, so fast. I tend to be a very open person (note that I've gone ahead and just shared all of this with you guys), and it's hard for me to think suspiciously, but sometimes you have to.

    So, I have my new writer blog (which I only yesterday dared to make public/searchable on Google), where I will never use my daughter's real name… and if I am published I will probably start a new author Facebook profile for potential fans, but right now my Facebook is for existing friends only, and not for new networking.

    I haven't tried Twitter yet. People seem to love it, but would I use it for my personal connections, or my aspiring writer connections? How public do I go with it? What are the implications for fans (crazy and sane) who might want to find the actress I used to be? These question haunt me every time I enter a new internet networking arena.

  93. Timothy Fish on July 10, 2009 at 6:04 AM

    >I use both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook tends to strengthen bonds with people I already know, such as family, church members, and authors I have meet through blogging. The benefit of Twitter is that it provides a connection with people I don’t know. For example, some time ago, I mentioned that I was reading Andy Stanley’s book. Someone at his church followed me for a short time after that. Our church has a page on Facebook and several people who have become “fans.” Some of these people are members, but others are former members that we wouldn’t normally have an easy means of communicating with. On Facebook, I can provide links to information placed on the church website and keep them informed of events that are taking place, but doing so in such a way that it isn’t distracting or appearing to be spam.

    I don’t really care for the games and junk on Facebook. I mean, why would I go around poking friends? Twitter seems like a tool primarily for celebrities and celebrity watchers. I also don’t care for the lack of context in these short formats. I left a two word comment on Facebook the other day, meaning no harm at all, and someone I didn’t know sent me a private message asking why I had left such a cruel comment.

    Time? At the moment, there’s no way I can justify the time I spend on them from a business perspective. I look at them once a day, when I’m busy.

  94. Beth Harar on July 10, 2009 at 5:40 AM

    >I love facebook. As a busy mom, it allows me to quickly catch up with friends and family. However it does pose a problem. I'm also a teacher, so I have to be very careful what I post. I refuse to "friend" the students at my high school, especially because a teacher was fired for having inappropriate conversations with a student on facebook. So while it is a useful tool, I think everyone should be mindful of the content they post and take into consideration those people they choose to friend. Even if I behave online, my "friends" may not.

    I blog because I love to write, even though only my friends and family currently read it.

    Twitter annoys me.

  95. Jill on July 10, 2009 at 5:08 AM

    >I like blogging. I like the writing and I've connected with some others that way. Like reading other blogs too. I just joined twitter and it's helped drive some traffic to my blog already. Facebook is next on my list. I see the value of all of them, but it is a struggle timewise. I'm really having to work at organizing so that I don't get sucked into the networking for too long at a stretch.

  96. Megan on July 10, 2009 at 4:24 AM

    >I also try and blog atleast once a day.

    It's widen my knowledge of books, lit and other blogs, and I've connected with so many great people.

    For a specific target market, my blog is the best.

  97. Megan on July 10, 2009 at 4:23 AM

    >I really like Facebook. Although it really annoys me when they keep changing the layout – I wish they'd either leave it, or let the users pick which one they'd like to use.

    I'm not using Twitter because I don't see the point of it.

    Social networks have improved my social life! Never before have I received more invites to parties! 😛

    Seriously, I like Facebook because it's easy to check in with people. A quick wallpost, read someone's status update, look at their hol pics. Everyone leads busy lives and its easy to check up on people, and keep in touch with people you'd normally loose contact with.

    Also, Facebook has served me well as my deased mother's best friends have both found me on Facebook. This has allowed us to reconnect and share memories; something that wouldn't've happened otherwise.

    I think when I become a published, famous author (here's hoping!) I'll make a "public" Facebook page so fans can add me on that. My Facebook page has my mobile number and quite a few personal details on it – at the moment its not a big issue as I don't add strangers and everyone on my page either has my details already or I don't care if they have them ie old friends from school.

    Also, I don't think it would look good to fans to see pics of me rolling around drunk!

  98. Adam Heine on July 10, 2009 at 4:22 AM

    >I use Twitter and Facebook as a way to stay connected to people I already know, and to connect with new people.

    Like any publicity, it's a trade-off between the # of people I can connect with and the time it takes to do so. But the more time I put into it, the more readers I attract to my blogs typically. And more importantly, the more people I connect with, whether they read my blog or not.

  99. Wendy on July 10, 2009 at 4:09 AM

    >I love Facebook, but mainly for keeping up with family and friends. I'd be prepared to have a separate one as an author if it ever came to that 😀 Facebook is just a great way of keeping up with your family and friends. You can see what they're up to, say what you're up to and you don't have to write a dozen separate emails to do it. Plus you can instant chat through it too if you want to.

    I love blogging, it's writing practice after all. Any writing is good writing.

    I've never tried Twitter, I'm scared stiff of it. I have no idea how it works and it just scares the heck out of me. So many people seem to love it, but brrrr…

    Haven't really tried many of the others though. Tried Myspace but lost interest in it. Facebook and blogging are definitely my favorites.

  100. Joe Iriarte on July 10, 2009 at 3:55 AM

    >Another thought I have on networking: for many aspiring writers, "networking" doesn't seem to go beyond cozying up to this agent, that editor, and the other writer. One of the advantages I perceive in blogging as a networking tool is you start to get to know commenters as well, and I've discovered a handful of my fellow aspiring writers and come to enjoy their thoughts on their own blogs. The blogs I link to on my blog are not those of "famous" people.

    The thing about that is, right now, those are people who understand and sympathize with where I am in the learning curve, because they're in the same place. And in the future? Well tomorrow's successful authors are today's nobodies. You do yourself a networking disservice if you only focus on the people you think can launch your career right now.

  101. Joe Iriarte on July 10, 2009 at 3:50 AM

    >From a networking standpoint, what I value about blogging is that it has allowed me to enter into the conversations that are going on in publishing in general, and among the players in my specific scene. Apart from that, though, the writing has value for me because I believe I'm going to want a record of this period of my writing–the things I've learned, the things I've struggled with, and any successes or disappointments I might have along the way. The reading has value for me because I've learned so much more from reading blogs than I did from decades of reading books about writing craft. Blog posts tend to be more tightly focused, and their conversational nature makes it likely that, even if the entry itself doesn't teach me something, a comment somebody makes in reply will.

    I joined facebook as a networking tool. I have yet to realize any networking value from it, but I know people who have and I can see how it could happen. It has been surprisingly worthwhile in other ways, though, bringing people who'd disappeared from my life back around and making it so much easier to keep abreast of each other's lives. I also find myself, oddly enough, getting to know some high school acquaintances better now than I did when they were in high school. In facebook there's no competition for the microphone, you know? Anybody can comment on a status update, and most people welcome the attention. And written communication plays to my strengths anyway. 😉

    I have not joined Twitter. Unlike Evangeline, I don't see the networking value in it–though I certainly see how it can be fun. I'm given to understand that professionals "in the biz" are followed by dozens of readers if not hundreds, and they generally don't follow nobodies like me back. (Don't read resentment into that; I wouldn't expect them to.) That means that, while I can ask questions–which I can already do through other venues–those conversations are generally one directional, with other people generating content and me receiving it. I don't see how one-way conversations can be effective networking. For you* to get to know me, you have to see something that makes me stand out. Regardless of how witty my own tweets are, you won't see them if you don't follow me. And as for the messages I send to you (are those called tweets also?), how noteworthy can they be in 140 character chunks? And as for the wisdom I might receive from you, how much of that could come in such small chunks?

    I eventually changed my tune about facebook, and I was surprised by it. Maybe the same will happen with Twitter. But the impression I get from my friends who tweet is that it's all fun and games, but neither educational nor effective networking.

    * generic "you"

  102. Evangeline on July 10, 2009 at 1:25 AM

    >I love Twitter. It's so much easier to do than blogging, and I've found myself in conversations with people who otherwise would honestly never visit my blogs or at least leave comments. The immediacy is important as well, and the ability to jump into someone's conversation without feeling awkward. I have Facebook but find it cumbersome as an author–I'd rather spend time on my personal FB page with people I actually know.

    As for the time suck, it's colossal: particularly so with Twitter. But I figure it's all in good fun and it allows me to blow off steam and shoot the breeze with like-minded people (not knowing any romance readers or writers IRL).