Have you heard the pitter patter of people roaming around deep in Twitter Chitter Chatter? Have you considered putting your face up next to your thoughts on Facebook? How about putting the You into Youtube?
I've realized for a while now, what wonderful devices these were but I had not been taking full advantage of them. Both my brother, Ray and my friend JoJo alerted me to what some experts are saying about using such tools so I went online to hear the scoop.
According to Twitter Guru, Perry Belcher, social media tools are powerful items for writers and business people. Many people think they do not have time or that these are merely time-wasting devices. I've been "razzed" for my own obsession with communication via social media networks. When I do something, I do it full force. I'm learning to find the balance between playing with it and communicating as a business person and friend. That's the key.
As David Alston puts it, "Social media is not a media. [The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.]" The people on your networks are not only your audience, but they are first, your friends.
Not only has using these tools helped me as a writer but it has grown me as a friend, family member and homeschooling mom to build a community with people about whom I care. Connecting me with people from states all over the USA, my list contains family members and friends who live far away, locals with whom I share everyday parts of my life and new friends with whom I've become acquainted from public interaction or via the web. Fewer still are my business connections. All are important to me and teach me many things.
As well, my children are learning communication skills when they sit next to me and I model for them how to interact with people. So, I'm not only playing with the social media tools--think again! I'd also like to exhort you with this: don't knock them as a waste of time, unless you are so addicted to them that you can't live your life. They don't have to rule you. That's your choice. Just don't diminish their importance to you as a person or a writer. And don't belittle them because you feel a sense of guilt that you ought to be doing something else instead of "wasting time". Communicating with real people is never a waste of time.
While Facebooking and Twittering can be addictive--don't I know it?-- they can also be useful for connecting with readers and forming relationships with real people. They can be a great platform to share your ideas and provoke reactions. Balance is the key. Choose your words wisely.
(NOTE TO FELLOW CHRISTIANS: I have done a large amount of ministry via FACEBOOK chat's and IM's as well as emails. I'm not saying this to elevate myself as it is God who brought MANY people to me for help. I am thankful that He did. I just want you to think out of the box here about social media tools. They aren't just for silly teenage ramblings and tangents of over-tired women like myself, although that certainly does add entertainment factors into the mix.)
One thing that I find appealing about Twitter is that you are limited to a few words and characters so that you really have to think about word choices before posting. It's great for practice in concise speech. Facebook gives you more story room but yet, not as much as a blog. I'm still trying to figure out how to network them, but so far, the experience of each is enjoyable.
Youtube is another free networking tool, giving you the opportunity to let readers get to know you and feel a connection with your message and personality. One blogger "friend" of mine, parodied a song and sang it over Youtube and received umpteen zillion hits. She went from having many readers to having an abundance of followers as her funny video made it's way around blogworld. Of course caution must be taken that a professional or well planned monologue be presented or it could mean ruin for your business. Never do anything on "too much a whim". It could get you in trouble. On the other hand, the most successful people take risks and shoot from the hip at times, too.
In closing, let's examine the follow quotes from a man whose words come from experience and success.
Who said these words?
- "I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user."