Monday, March 04, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Facebook—oh my!


Patty here

Am I the only person on the planet who doesn’t have a Facebook page? Oh sure, I’ve thought about it over the years. I even set up an account a couple of times but immediately took it down. At first, I had privacy concerns. Periodically, I read about some hacking incident or one of Facebook’s sneaky new privacy rules and I’d say: AHA! I was right. Mostly, I wasted a lot of time wondering about the difference between “like” and “friend” and which I wanted more. While I twiddle my thumbs about joining, here's a guy who makes a compelling argument for quitting.

Occasionally, I look at a sample Facebook page, but all I see are columns and timelines and boxes—oh my! They just don’t draw me in. Not long ago, a friend from grade school invited me to join fellow classmates on a dedicated Facebook page. While it was tempting to catch up with kids from Mrs. Holty's third grade class, the thought of setting up one more user name and password made my head explode. I need a two-page, typewritten, single-spaced cheat sheet just to keep track of all the UNs and PWs I already have.

Did I mention the time-suck issues I have with social media? Most days, I’m buried under an avalanche of emails from multiple accounts that I set up to keep my nine lives orderly, but which only seem to make a muddle of things. Sometimes I could easily waste the entire day flipping from one to another, responding to messages. Afterwards, I need a nap.

Over the years friends and colleagues have invited me to LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. It’s embarrassing to tell them I have no interest in Pinterest. And I have no idea what Google+ is. Just in case I figure it out, I’ve kept all those invitations in a box, along with my prom corsage and a first edition of How to Dress for Success. One never knows…

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a technology Luddite. I know things. Want a spiffy newsletter sent to your fans via Vertical Response? I’m your girl. Need somebody to post content to your Wordpress website. Just ask. Plus, I have a Twitter account (@SmileyWriter), which is much more fun than I expected. People send me links to informative articles that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Reading live-tweets during the last presidential debates and the recent Oscars was wickedly entertaining.

Lately, I've wondered if maybe I’m just not that social. Writing is a solitary pursuit. We scribblers spend hours in front of our computers, typing away, alone. Most of us seem content with that life. I love my friends, including my fellow Naked Authors and all of you. Thousands (millions?) more people just like you guys would be great. If you have any Facebook advice for me, I’m listening, but until I get off the fence about social media, I'll follow the advice of my cat, Riley: happiness accrues one friend at a time.

Happy Monday! Welcome back. We missed each other and all of you.

And TAH-DAH...Congratulations to our very own Ridley Pearson (@RidleyPearson) for receiving the 2013 Quill Award from the Writers Hall of Fame. Yay!!!!! Details here.


  1. from Jackie

    Patty, I think I'm with you - though I do have a Facebook page but I don't Tweet. My real friends are people I know, not people I don't - and a true friendship is something that happens over time, as people reveal more of themselves to each other based upon trust and connection. However, I had a new opinion of FB last year, when my Dad died. I posted a message, basically apologizing for the fact that I had canceled most of my book tour, and sharing a bit about how much my Dad meant to me. The response was just overwhelming and so touched my heart - people took the time to message me, many of whom had lost those nearest and dearest and knew exactly how I felt - and their kindness was balm for my aching soul. There were words there that I cherish still - I felt so very encircled by the caring of other human beings.
    But all these networking things can gobble up your time, which is why you have to be careful not to get sucked in - read the excellent essay by Zadie Smith - she wrote it after seeing The Social Network, and she explains why she gave up all social networking.

    Of course, we're spending time here on the blog, and people will come to visit - but to me that's more like having a newspaper or magazine column, only you get to know a fair few of your readers a bit more personally - as if you'd just shared your thoughts around a big table and then everyone can say their two-pennyworth. And I love those cats, Patty!!!!

  2. Ah, the kitties. After mourning the death of my two beloved Westies and Tigger-boo-the-wonder-cat, I swore never to get another pet. Just couldn't face another loss. Then along came Scooter and Riley. They're sisters and litter-mates. Be prepared for many more cute cat photos.

  3. Thanks, CJ! Don't get me started...

  4. I have a love/hate relationship with FB. I actually have two accounts - personal and professional. My day job is working with college students, so it pays to be able to communicate with them via FB. However I don't want them seeing everything I post for my 'real' friends, so the second account helps with work/life separation. It can be oh so tempting to spent WAY too much time on there, though.. Have to be intentional about not letting it be a timesuck.

    I think that, like you, I prefer the blogging world for really connecting with folks. :)

  5. Is the professional page more difficult to set up than the personal page? Or both the same? I once tried to set up a professional page but couldn't figure out how to leave the page and search for people I knew. Argh!

  6. for me fb is the perfect way to stay in touch with friends on an almost daily basis. especially with people who live in different time zones. just to say "hi" or read their posts and replies to something i may have written. my kids signed me up a few years ago and i didn't really want to be a part of it. but when requests started coming in from old friends, it got quite exciting. now i wouldn't want to miss it anymore.
    love the cats, patty. they are beautiful!

  7. Sybille, thanks. You may have inspired me. People tell me I'm a wuss for not just jumping in. By the time I'd decide, FB may be passe.

  8. Susieb. I've given up on Facebook and haven't got to grips with twitter. I think you're right about writing being a solitary pursuit which may make us a tad unsociable ... Anyway, I got rather demoralised with FB and haven't missed it, or the time it took up. I'm so glad you're all up and running again, I know I'm going to really enjoy all your posts 😊

  9. Susana, you might want to try Twitter. I just started using it and have an embarrassingly small number of followers, but I love to read the articles people link to their tweets. Let us know if you start an account and we will follow you!

  10. HI Patty!!!! I missed you!!

    Love your kitties!

    I'm on FB only, and only on LinkedIn rarely. That's it...don't have time or interest for more. FB has helped me catch up with friends from school, whom I thought I'd never hear from again, as well as a couple of close RAAF pals, and some former workmates. And then there are the friends I like to touch base with now and then. I'm acquainted with a lot of artists and writers. HOWEVER, I'm not on FB a lot, unless I'm checking up with people or doing a little side marketing or business. I've found FB to be really good with moral support and creative support...and the sub-connections that occur between my friends and friends of others is mindboggling in 'however did that person find such a buddy in THAT person?' a good way of course. :-D

    Many things have happened since the Naked Authors closed up shop. I become a US Citizen on Thursday, at 8:15am...and take my oath.

    Glad to have you all back again.

  11. I have a FB page and that's where I hope my readers find me. I'm more comfortable with FB than Twitter, although I do occasionally tweet.

    I'm always amazed how I can sit down at the computer (supposedly check my email) and before I know it, two and half hours have gone by.

    Congratulations on the blog revival!

  12. Marianne, how great to hear from you! I still make your fruitcake recipe every Christmas. And CONGRATULATIONS, my fellow American! How really truly exciting!

    Thanks Kathy. Great seeing you on Sunday. I'll have to look you up on Twitter and give you a follow.

  13. From Cornelia

    YEA Patty! And I feel the same way you do about Pinterest and lots of other stuff, but have been sucked into the ravening maw of Facebook in a big bad way. <3

  14. Hey Patty!

    I use Facebook a ton, and it's not at all hard to set up an author page! If you ever decide you want one, just holler and I'll be happy to help you. It won't let you "friend request" anyone from it, though (which is why you couldn't look for people you know from it last time). Professional pages work by other people using their accounts to "like" your page. Once you have enough likes, you can set a URL for it and post that on your website and blog so readers can find it. It's just a way for you to post messages and links for your readers and for them to contact you, but a little less frantic than twitter.

    I bet we could round up enough likes to get you a URL no time at all, so if you decide you want to try it and you need help, please let me know. You were so sweet to me, and I would love to be able to do something for you. :)

    Side note: so glad to have found this blog! Yay for twitter!

  15. Cornelia, I dunno, the "ravening maw" sounds a little scary. And have I mentioned how much I've missed you?

    LynDee, just read your article on writing dialogue. Very cool. And all the best on your new book. As for Facebook, I may just need to give you a call because my head is already spinning in a bad direction.

    1. Aw, thank you! I was so excited to guest with them. :)

      Seriously: just holler! I'm more than happy to help you any way I can.


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  17. Hi Patty,
    For me Facebook is mainly a way to let my friends, family and acquaintances know what's going on with my book. When I post a review, it's wonderful to read all of the encouraging comments. And it helps me spread the word. But I think you have to be a certain kind of personality to use it for full-on publicity. I'm not that kind of person, so I'm happy using it in a small way that keeps my book on the radar of those in my world. For publicity, I much prefer Twitter. I can reach thousands, and I find that on Twitter, I am connected mainly to people who have my interests: writing, food, etc. We share, spread the word about each other's projects, and learn from one another. Not sure if that's helpful - just my limited experience online. Now time to get back to my writing :)


    1. Very helpful, Kim. Many thanks. I like Twitter, too. I've found links to some great articles. I'm not totally sure how to use it yet, but as Scarlet O'Hara says, "Maybe tomorrow at Tara."

  18. Hey Patty,

    Like a lot of technology FB is a blessing and a curse. It is a good way to keep up with friends, maintain contact with that person you hit it off with at a conference, celebrate colleagues birthdays and events, etc. But it is also time suck, your personal data is mined by FB and other entities, and there is - at least for me - an unnecessary anxiety about forgetting to login in case you missed somebody's birthday or wondering if after commenting on something whether context was unintentionally offensive and if it even made any sense at all. I actually believe the benefits currently outweigh the cost if you keep your personal data and political opinions private. It is a fairly effective communication tool both as a writer and for staying touch with friends.


    1. Thanks for the advice, Travis. I'm leaning toward setting up a personal page if I can get over the general suckiness of not having any friends!!!