Day 15 and the final prompt in the 15 Day Winter Author Blog Challenge asks us....
My response is thanks to a blog challenge that asked us to examine various forms of social media: from the well known Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, You Tube to the less commonly known Quora, Four Square and others, and analyze how we could best use them in our writing/authoring/business worlds.
My biggest takeaway is: the true meaning of social media is to give us a means to connect with other people, to share our knowledge with them, to (in turn) drink in their knowledge - and again, to connect with people. To this end, use the social media that "calls" to you, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or whatever.
Everything else is just a distraction.
I've treasured this 15 day challenge (although I was on vacation for almost the entire 15 days) because I was able to reconnect with bloggers from the previous Author Blog Challenge and meet up with new bloggers. I did that mainly by commenting on their blogs, and using the WABC Facebook page.
If I was giving advice to a new author who was just getting started on social media I would say this: Don't do what I did four years ago, which was to think about a blog and then suddenly do it spur of the moment. All my social media efforts surrounding my blog came later, so I have a mishmash of user names and a blogging platform I am not totally happy with. (It was there, it was free, and there was a small learning curve.)
But I ended up outgrowing it and would now have a nightmare in trying to move four years of blog posts and photographs.
My plans for integrating? I could use the excuse that this is not a business for me, and I work full time at another job (plus I'm a part time caregiver for an elderly in law and my developmentally disabled brother in law) - right now I don't have the luxury of TIME. Or, I could find the time. I could examine how I fritter and waste the time in an offhand way, to paraphrase Pink Floyd's Time (oh,how I love this song....)
My suggestion: Take your TIME. Before you start out, TIME is your friend.
If you are starting out: please give it more thought than I did. Take your TIME to plan. Give your blog, your Twitter name, your other account names - the same name. (Thank you, Jo Michaels, for this suggestion). Call it "your brand", if you will.
Read up! There are many blogs which will help you "learn how to blog/learn how to write". Besides Jo Michaels above, could I recommend Merlene Fawdry, Robert Chazz Chute (an author who has a talent for titles that will amaze you), Tia Bach, and...well, there are so many others. I don't have the room to list all of my mentors, those people who freely share their knowledge.
Use a platform you will not outgrow right away. (How do you learn that? Join a challenge!) and find out...)
And, finally, join a challenge. Join more than one! You will get into the habit of daily blogging (a must, I feel, at least when you start out) and you will read other blogs, and comment on them - something I do not do enough of. You will quickly see what works and what doesn't. I would also suggest a November event, NaNoWriMo, where you will write 50,000 words in 30 days. It's crazy. It's insane. And it will amaze you with the support. (I'm thinking about Camp NaNoWriMo in April because I can actually write non-fiction, but haven't decided yet.)
Do not "fritter and waste the moments in an offhand way". Don't wait until tomorrow. Seize today!