Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Professionalism with personality

Posted: January 16, 2014 in General
Tags: , ,

twitter-featured1Social media is a scary place for a lot of people. Or it can be a comforting place — maybe too comforting.

On the one hand, what you say will be seen by hundreds, thousands, or maybe even millions of people. And it’s out there forever. You might be able to delete it, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone. A good rule of thumb is that everything you put out on the internet will exist there for all of eternity, whether you realize it or not.

But on the other hand, it is a place to gather with friends, co-workers, and people who you may not know but share a common passion with. It’s a community represented by avatars, where everyone can be exactly who they are, and damn the consequences. You have opinions, after all, and they need to be heard.

There are pros and cons to both approaches. Do you be professional or do you be personable? Do you spend all day promoting yourself, or do you sit around and tweet about how flipping adorable your cat is?

The answer is both. As with anything else, you need balance. You need to be professional because, yes, everything on the internet stays on the internet. But you also don’t want to assault your family, friends, and fans with links about your next book every day, all day.

You need to have spunk because people fall in love with the person, not the product. They want to get to know YOU, not become familiar with your Amazon links. They want those pictures of your cat, but maybe not every day, all day.

See the pattern yet?

I represent a lot of facets of myself. On the one hand, I’m a blogger. On the other, I’m a huge nerd. I’m a writer, but I’m also a reader. I’m a journalist and an editor, but I’m also just a person. So I need balance to show off each one of those aspects of myself without overwhelming people with one or the other.

I’m not saying I do it right all the time (God knows I talk about Teen Wolf more than any single person should), but I do have some general guidelines:

1. Don’t say anything you’d be embarrassed to say to your parents (or your grandparents or your children, etc.). One day they’ll find it, and that’ll be awkward. This is just a general rule of thumb for life anyway. Don’t be rude and obnoxious. You wouldn’t act that way in front of your grandmother, so don’t act that way when she’s not around.

2. Keep the links to a minimum. Sharing is caring, but don’t spam. People will eventually learn to ignore you, and that’s counterproductive.

3. Talk about your day. People actually want to know, believe it or not. They’re on social media to — get this — be sociable. If you talk about how you spent three hours chasing a chipmunk out of your house and back into the wild, someone will come along and share a similar story. Or at the very least laugh at your misery.

4. Interact with your peeps. Ask questions and you’ll get answers. Ask for tips and you’ll get suggestions. People are friendly (for the most part) and, like I said in the previous point, they’re there to talk to those who have interests similar to their own.

5. Have a filter. Sometimes I really want to rail on something I’m mad about. But is Twitter really the place for that? Is Facebook? Sometimes it is. Sometimes you just need it off of your chest. But other times no one cares. They don’t want to be dragged down by your daily reminders of how depressing your life is. (Harsh, but true.) Social media is a tool to use to your advantage. Whether you’re a writer or you’re just on there for fun, save the private conversations for private. You’ll thank me later.

6. Have fun. Be professional, but have a personality. Don’t think of social media like a chore and it won’t become one. But don’t let it run your life either. It’s addictive, and it will take over if you allow it. Set yourself limits if you have to, but remember that people want to get to know the real you. So loosen up and enjoy.

I swear this is not an advertisement! I’m just an advocate. ;)

When I finally got an iPhone last year, I did it because 1) I needed a new phone, and 2) I knew it would help me stay on top of things like my e-mail and various social media notifications. Plus, I’d be able to surf the internet. Because, you know, I don’t do that enough as it is already.

What I didn’t realize was that it completely revolutionized – and I use that term very specifically – the way that I manage everything I do. It really was like a revolution. Suddenly I had a one man army at my fingertips, allowing me to keep tabs on everything I do. And I do a lot. I became more efficient and was able to interact on social media a lot easier. This was important to me because it’s not just fun, but also good when you want to build a readership and make connections with other writers.

There are cons, of course. Anyone with a Smartphone will tell you that they can become addictive. I check mine constantly, though I try not to do it when I’m around other people. The internet can suck a lot of our time and energy without us even realizing it. And it can cause tension on relationships. I try not to let that happen.

As with everything, there needs to be balance. And one of the best things about the iPhone is that it actually gives me more time to do other things – namely writing, but also spending time with my family and friends. Instead of having 50 e-mails waiting for me at the end of the day, I can keep an eye on them as they come in and read or delete them sooner. I can respond to tweets instantly, or check Facebook when something comes up with Hypable.

It’s hard to pick just five, but I’ve narrowed down my favorite apps and why I like them so much. These are the ones I use most often, and the best part about them is they’re FREE! We all like free.

ONE. Notes

The notes app is just a simple little application designed to look like a yellow legal pad. You just open it up and start typing. You can use it for reminders, to keep your grocery list, or to write down ideas as they come to you.

I tend to use this for the last option. I have background information on my characters written out, lists of blog ideas, outlines for stories, and so much more. The best part is that it’s so portable. You don’t need to drag a laptop around with you just in case an idea strikes. And those ideas never strike at opportune moments, do they? Who doesn’t carry their phone on them at all times these days, especially given the fact that most bloggers/writers are so dependent to the internet.

TWO. WordPress

The WordPress app is one of my favorites (don’t tell the others). Instead of sitting down each night and replying to a dozen comments on a blog post, I can just respond to each person as they come in. And it’s so easy to keep track of it, as they end up in a queue in the comments section of the app.

For the longest time, I was only half using this application. I never used the reader portion – which is where new posts from the blogs you follow end up. Until recently, I would just go to my email and open up each one to read them, sometimes having to click through to the actual site. It wasn’t a pain in the slightest, until I realized there was a much, much simpler way to go about it.

When my inbox backed up to about 150 e-mails – most of them being blog posts – and I was drowning trying to keep up, I finally had the brilliant idea to check out the reader in the app. I flew through those blog posts like you wouldn’t believe. I could now do it anywhere – not just when I had my laptop on me. Of course, I could have done it from my e-mail on my phone before, but I’d have to log in each time to leave a comment and that was just such a pain.

Keeping up with blog posts now is a breeze. I hardly have any lying in wait in my e-mail because I can get to them whenever I have a few minutes. And the best part is that the app always has you logged in. You don’t need to constantly input your information, which can be frustrating on such a small screen when your fingers never quite hit the keys you intended.

The only problem I find with this part of the app is that I have to click into the blog post from the reader, then click into the person’s site, and click into post again in order to leave a comment and be able to mark it to notify me of any further replies. (I do this as an easier way to see when an author replies to me, but there’s also some hidden gems when other people leave comments. Plus, I’m a sucker for notifications/e-mails. Sue me.) But it’s a problem I’m willing to work with if it means I won’t be staring at an inbox of 150 blog posts any time soon. Hallelujah.

THREE. Twitter/Facebook/E-mail

Okay, I know I’m cheating here by giving more than one app, but these sort of go hand in hand for me. They’re ways I keep in touch with people – Twitter for writers (mostly), Facebook to keep an eye on our Hypable group, and e-mail for, well, e-mails. As with the WordPress app, these other apps keep you constantly signed in, which is one of the perks for me. (And I realize this makes me sound like someone who is too impatient to even sign in each time I want to go on these things. You may or may not be right…)

Twitter makes for great distraction. I keep to my lists, which I’ve broken down into categories for why I’ve followed certain people. I’ve followed a lot of people on Twitter, and so it can be a little overwhelming at times. Having it broken down like this is much easier to handle (though sometimes I still avoid certain lists because – WOW – so many things to read). Twitter is, unfortunately, inundated by an incredible amount of people all sharing links. I see this a lot with many of the writers I follow. Twitter is a great place to share information like this, but it’s hard to get through a list when there’s hardly any “real people talk” and it’s mostly just links. But it is what it is, and I still enjoy it. It’s a place where I can share my thoughts and be more of myself than I can be on Facebook (sad isn’t it?). The only thing I wish would change is the ability to add people to lists directly from the application, rather than having to jump on my computer to do it.

The facebook app is a great tool, and I mostly use it to keep an eye on the Hypable group (where we share ideas and make sure all the news is being covered) and my writer page. I hardly do any “real” Facebook-ing, but I don’t mind. I generally keep my thoughts to Twitter. ;) The one problem I’ve noticed with this app is that I don’t always get notified when there’s new activity. But so far it hasn’t been much of a problem, and I just make it a point to check in on everything once in a while.

FOUR. Goodreads

The Goodreads app has so much potential, I’m sure, but I don’t really use it to its fullest extent. I’m not super active on Goodreads anyway, so I’m not bothered. It makes it much easier for me to update which page I’m on in my book – something that has no real use (because I don’t my friends on there really care I just read 15 pages), but makes me happy anyway. I also use it to quickly add books to my TBR pile or to add to my already-read list. It’s nice for when I’m suddenly struck with a memory of having read a certain book, or see a book in a store that I’d like to eventually read. I can just whip my phone out and input the title. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

FIVE. Pocket Frogs

Yep, this is a tried and true app, and one that I am so glad I found. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, it’s pretty simple. You have a bunch of frogs that you breed and can either keep or sell. The game is super simple, but incredibly addicting. It’s fun to see what combinations you can come up with and to try to obtain all of the awards.

Smartphones can be distracting, and this is one instance where I can get sucked into a game like this (or Fruit Ninja, which I recently discovered and have a fondness for). When your main goal is to write and not be distracted while typing away on your computer (which sometimes feels like an impossible feat), having games on your phone isn’t always the smartest decision. But, I’ve also found it to be a nice break. A game like Fruit Ninja doesn’t take long (if you’re not too great at it like I am, that is), and it’s a good way to reward yourself once you’ve accomplished something on your to-do list. For someone who tends to reward herself with food (bad, bad habit), this is a much healthier alternative.

Do you have a Smartphone? Do you use any of the apps above? Which are your favorites? Got any good ones that aren’t on my list?

I’m sitting outside on my porch while I’m typing this. The sun is shining, there’s a thin layer of clouds, and the breeze is rustling the bare branches around me. It is a beautiful day. (Wow, my computer looks so dusty in the sunlight.) It’s got to be about 70 degrees – warmer in the sun. This is not weather we’re used to having in Upstate New York in the middle of March. It would make much more sense if we had a foot of snow on the ground right now. Seriously.

But I’m not complaining! In fact, I’m trying to take as much advantage of it as I can. I’m about 99% sure we’re going to get socked with another snowstorm between now and May. It always happens.

I’ve got tons of stuff to update you guys on – plus that lovely, lovely news that I promised I’d share with you. But first, my check-in:

(Oh, and color me surprised when I found out this morning that we only had four days left of this round. Really? I can’t believe it’s been that long already!)

  1. Go to Writer’s Market at least three times a week. Incomplete. I didn’t do this at all. I’m definitely avoiding it. Better luck next time. As always, I hope to get some time in today.
  2. Write at least four days a week. Done! I’ve been editing L1 all week and I’m about 2/3 of the way through it now. I fixed “chapter six FROM HELL” and it’s a lot better now. I hit another snag the other day, but I plan on sitting down and reworking that as soon as I get this post up. I’m not sure how many words I’ve added to my WIP (or taken away) but it’s been a fair amount. I haven’t written anything else (short stories, background information) like I was hoping I would, but I’m not too worried. L1 is my main focus right now, and that’s what I’m most concerned about working on.
  3. Exercise five days a week. Done! Since getting my new DDR game, I’ve been much more excited to do this – which is what I was hoping would happen. And, just like I knew I would, I’ve been running to dance to the Spice Girls song each and every time. What? I’m a 90’s kid! Weighing myself only on Sundays has definitely made me feel better – checking in too often was too hard on my mental state. I’m not dropping a lot (or sometimes any) weight, but that’ll come in time.
  4. Read every day. Done. Since I count blogs and other articles for this goal, there’s pretty much no way this can ever not be accomplished. I’m struggling to pick up Tiger’s Voyage and finish the last few chapters of the book. I just don’t really care. But I’m not one to give up on a book if I’m that far through it already. I’m going to try to get through it and get on to the next book. My to-read list on Goodreads keeps growing and growing, and I have to start making a dent in it!
  5. Blog at least three times a week, not including my ROW80 updates. Done! Super easy, of course. I love hanging out with you all. Being a part of Triberr has brought me some new blogs to read and has brought some new people to my own blog. It’s been a great experience and Triberr is now one of my favorite websites to visit. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out Jenny Hansen’s posts on it here. EVERY blogger should be on Triberr. And if you’re a part of ROW80, you already have a tribe that you can join!) I love blogging, and I love when my posts can help or entertain other people. Believe it or not, it’s one of the things that keeps me sane!

Okay! Now onto some super-ultra-awesome stuff.

First off, I now have a page on Facebook, which you can find here. It was very nerve-wracking for me to finally do that and admit to the rest of the world (ie. friends and family) that yes, I want to be a writer and yes, I’m serious. But I did it and there you go. Everyone has been great so far. I invite you to “like” my page and then link to your own page in the comments so we can all “like” each other!

My next announcement is the big one. It was the reason I finally made that page on Facebook. I promised myself that if this came through, there was no holding back. I was going to be out there for everyone to see and I wasn’t backing down. I am a writer.

Hypable.com is a nerdtastic site that covers all sorts of fandoms, from Avengers to Glee to Harry Potter and way, way, WAY more than that. It’s from the same guys who brought us Potterheads Mugglenet. I’ve been a fan of Hypable from the very beginning and have been lucky enough to watch it grow and change and become this wonderful thing it is now.

I’ve applied for positions before, but my schedule never made me an ideal candidate. That’s fine, I thought. As a fan, I’d rather them choose someone who can really bring something to the table. So, I wasn’t that disappointed. Then a few weeks ago another posting went up. They want to add to the website – they’re not just looking for news writers now (which is what I applied for before), but content writers. They want people who can write up histories on the fandoms and make Hypable an all-inclusive website. A one stop shop for everything you’ll ever want to know about what you’re interested in. Oh, and they want copyeditors, too.

What!?

Yes! I love reviewing, editing, and critiquing all sorts of documents and articles (except my own, of course). This was just the thing for me. It’d allow me to attach my name to this amazing website, but – and more importantly – it’d let me do what I already love doing. I applied to be a content writer, since that is obviously close to my heart too. But a copyeditor? I wanted that more than anything.

They e-mailed me a week in and told me I was being considered for the position. “Don’t get your hopes up” was my mantra for the following week, but I already had. There was no use not getting my hopes up. I wanted this. Bad.

And I got it!

I was so incredibly grateful. I’m not sure how many people applied, but only three copyeditors were hired. It is volunteer-based, but I don’t care. The website is run by a bunch of college students because they love what they’re doing. Not to sound corny or anything, but to be a part of that is just as good as getting paid. I’m more than happy and more than grateful to be on their team.

You may recognize the name Hypable from Jessica O’Neal’s blog – she does a couple of different things for them, too. Please go check out the website – it’s the only place you’ll ever need to go to brush up on news for all of your favorite movies, books, TV shows, video games, and musicians. They’re always adding to the site, so don’t be discouraged if they don’t yet cover a fandom that you’re a part of. And here’s some good news – if they don’t cover something you’re interested in, they have a “News By You” section that you can submit articles to. The articles will be published on the website with your name attached – awesome!!

Well, I’ve rambled on long enough about myself. What about you guys? Do you have any awesome news to share? Don’t forget to link to your facebook page below! I’ll make sure I go around and “like” all of you. :)