Monday, December 20, 2010

This Social Networking Thing - Facebook

What I'm reading: Catch a Mate, by Gena Showalter

I started this blog in July of 2006, and have put up 1048 posts (this makes 1049, I guess). I did it because my publisher recommended it. Then everyone said I had to have a Facebook page, and recently, I succumbed to Twitter. I figured I might as well share what I like and don't like about these sites, starting today with Facebook.
What's my take? The following is purely personal. Things I like, things I've learned, and some of my pet peeves. And what I consider a negative might be someone else's positive, so take my comments with that salty cliché. Today, I'll look at Facebook.

I find this is a fun place to hang, but don't visit too many times a day, and don't play games. I like to keep in touch, see what others are doing, but I automatically block applications and gifts – no Mafia Wars, no Farm stuff. It's a keep-in-touch venue, and I prefer it to Twitter because you can post more than 140 characters. I like posting 'real life' stuff on Facebook. I subscribe to's "Word of the Day" feature, and I'll post those. Some of them are real conversation starters.

I'll post pictures, but not of my family. I'm moderately private—after all, I do want people to get to know me, and from there, I hope look at my books. So you might see the sunrise, or the deer in my yard, or what I'm cooking for dinner.

I feed my blog to my Facebook page. I don't have a 'fan' page—probably because I'm afraid nobody would "like" me. I don't "Like" many pages unless I know who I'm liking.

I accept almost all friend requests, although I will unfriend, or whatever you call it, anyone who's cyber-hitting on me.

If you're trying to use Facebook as a way to find people—long lost relatives, high school friends, etc., make sure your profile picture is actually you—and recent. People hunting for you might pull up 15 people with similar names, and they don't know if you're the one they're looking for if your profile is a picture of your gerbil. If you're not trying to be found, then anything goes.

Put enough details on your info page so people can learn a little about you. I tend to shy away from adding people who don't have many 'friends' in common with me if their info page is blank, or protected. I figure they don't really want me for anything other than a number in their 'how many friends I have' stat. I also don't 'bribe' people to be my 'friend' by offering prizes when I hit milestone numbers. Odds are, most of these 'friends' aren't checking my pages very often anyway. I know I can't visit many myself.

Another pet peeve. People who post their own promotion on my wall. Get real, folks. If you want to tell me about your upcoming anything, use the message feature, because I'm not here to provide you free advertising. I'll remove those posts as soon as I see them. Persist, and I report them as spam.

I also try to keep my profile page "clean", if that's possible. If I do go to someone's profile page and all it says is who they've just become friends with, I don't hang around. I remove those posts from my own profile page, but I have no idea if my accepting friendships shows up on other pages. I can only control my own page.

As far as promotion goes, Facebook is more 'name recognition' than a venue to sell books. Of course, I will post my writing news—things like releases, reviews, new covers, etc., but it was a marketing venture, I'd probably have quit long ago.

I haven't tried the new profile yet. If anyone has any positives or negatives, I'd love to hear them.

And feel free to visit my facebook page. Let me know what you think. And if we're not 'friends' over there, send me a request.

Tomorrow, my guest is Joselyn Vaughn, talking about one of the biggest 'lies' she's ever been told.

And Wednesday, I'll be back with my takes on Twitter.


Adelle Laudan said...

I totally agree with your take on other authors posting promos on your page. I would never do that and find it rather offensive. I too remove these pages.
My biggest peeve about Facebook is the 5000 friend limit. I use this venue to reach my target audience, bikers. It works, and I hate not being able to accept friends. I have started a fan page (reluctantly) in hopes of building the same kind of friend base. I am doubtful this will happen, but it doesn't cost anything to try.
Great topic, Terry
Happy Holidays.

Terry Odell said...

Adelle - I guess I'll worry about that 'fan page' when I get closer to the limit. Right now, I'm not quite at 2000.

Carol Kilgore said...

I've resisted Facebook so far, but I'm about to succumb only because someone with a lot of knowledge about it is going to help me set up my page and show me how to keep it coordinated with my blog and website.

Terry Odell said...

Carol - probably a good idea, having someone help or advise you. I've done everything by trial and error. Lots of trials, lots of errors.

Maryann Miller said...

To show you how un-savvy I am about Facebook, I didn't even know you could post on other people's wall until I had been on Facebook for several months. I wouldn't dream of posting a promo for myself on anyone's wall.

Terry Odell said...

Maryann -- I agree. To me it seems rude. Of course, I suppose I could give the benefit of the doubt--that they just don't know how the system works.

Anonymous said...

I suspected I'm not the only one using the 'trial and error' method-computer geek I'm not! LOL
I just like reading about other readers and writers.
Jackie Griffey

Terry Odell said...

Jackie - it's a fun diversion, as long as you don't let it take over your life!

Loretta C. Rogers said...

I started out using FB as a promo tool. In my ignorace, I didn't know about games and gifts until I was inundated with Farmville and Hearts and other stuff. Like you, I've resisted the Fan page. It's just one more thing I don't have time for, and like you, I'm not sure how beneficial it would be. Heck, I don't even know how to get people to my fan page. I'm not much of a techie. At any rate, great article, Terry.

Bob Sanchez said...

I don't spend lots of time on Facebook, but I have reconnected with a few old friends. Also I post daily notices of book reviews published by the Internet Review of Books. It hasn't served as a great promo tool for my own stuff.

Terry Odell said...

Loretta - It took me a while, but I found out how to block those gifts and games. I've even mentioned in my profile that I'm not there to play, but I still get the occasional invitation.

Bob - yes, it's fun to see people you know. I've hooked up with people I haven't seen in years. And I agree that unless you're totally in it for marketing and there are lots of articles about how to do that, it's more fun just to 'talk' to people. (Especially if you live where I do, and actually "seeing" people doesn't happen often!

Wynter Daniels said...

I'm with you about people posting their promo stuff on my wall. But I really enjoy catching up with people on my personal page (I have one as my alter ego and another as myself).

Leah St. James said...

Hi, Terry - great topic! I had the same thoughts (fears?) about a fan page! How pathetic would it look if it was just my kids and closest friends as my "fans"! :-) In fact, I'm with you on pretty much everything! It's been wonderful to reconnect with some old friends I haven't seen or heard from in years, but why some man halfway around the world, who shares none of my interests, wants to be my "friend," I have no clue! Of course whenever I do ignore a friend request, I feel guilty, like I've probably hurt someone's feelings!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm not quite as active on Facebook as I am on Twitter, but I do visit there at least once a day and engage with friends. I like that my updates about blog posts will display a photo from the blog. That's especially nice when I have guest bloggers.

Terry Odell said...

Wynter - two pages. Scary. I'd get all mixed up.

Leah - I agree. I 'friend' almost everyone, as long as we have a friend or two in common (whose name I recognize)

Patricia - I wish my blog pictures would show up. They used to, but now all I get is my 'generic' blog thumbnail. Plus, now FB is changing access to my 'friends' filters, which has me growling.

Leah -

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I enjoy Facebook quite a lot, but I too block all the games and "gifts", etc. I don't accept all the friend requests I get, particularly from men - I've had a few too many annoying overtures! (Do you think those really work?) Don't know if I do everything "right" - lots of trial and error here as well :)