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5 Ways To Use Facebook & Twitter Effectively

Since we're on the topic of cyber networking this week, I can't neglect a post about Facebook and Twitter.

If you've read some of my previous posts on the two, you might have picked up on a tone of skepticism. That was in my early days, before I really understood their purpose and functionality.

However, after months of facebooking and tweeting, my skepticism is rehabilitated. I've gained a new perspective on both. Here's what I've learned. 5 ways to use Facebook and Twitter effectively:

1. Don't tweet or leave a comment and then disappear. In this sense, they are similar to blogging. We can't expect to get much out of such sites if we toss our comments out there and then run back into our safe hole.

I can't respond to every Twitter or Facebook comment, but I try to take some time to personally interact with those who respond to me. More importantly, I try to show interest in the lives of others. Yes, here it is again--the give and take of successful communication.

2. Make an effort to meet new people. I'm not always sure how people find me, but I'm glad they do. I rarely turn down requests and almost always follow back (unless someone looks like a hacker or spammer).While many friends overlap between the social networking sites, I've also met a whole new spectrum of friends in each realm that I wouldn't have met otherwise.

If we want to network, we can't be shy. We have to jump out there, show interest in others, and make an effort to socialize. If we wait for others to make the first move, we might miss out on new friendships.

3. Use the cyber world as a place to express our uniquenesses. I fully realize not everything I say on Twitter or Facebook is life-shattering or world-altering. Some of it might be downright mundane. But the trick, just as in novel-writing, is to take the ordinary and share it in new and intriguing ways.

Maybe we can't expect every comment to have our special flare, but Twitter and Facebook give us a stage on which to showcase our uniquenesses, to establish ourselves as interesting and worth listening to. Debra Schubert recently landed an agent partly because of her unique voice on Twitter. Read her agent story here.

4. Link to other helpful articles or posts. Twitter is an especially useful resource for finding quick links to blogs. Agents and other writers often tweet links to helpful articles. If the title catches my attention, I pop over to scan the information. (This shows the importance of crafting catchy titles.)

I've also found Twitter an especially useful place to link to my own blog. I don't link every day or make that the main focus of my tweeting, but sharing about a blog post can generate more readers. When others find my blog posts helpful or inspiring, sometimes they retweet it (send it into twitter again), which has the potential to bring even more readers.

5. Use social networking consistently and with balance. Tweeting and facebooking don't have to be a huge effort. In fact, with Twitter and Facebook, sometimes less is more. We don't want to tire our followers with our our constant chattering. When someone tweets or comments too much, my eyes tend to glaze over when I see their name.

On the other hand, tweeting or posting for one day and then disappearing for a week doesn't help maintain the connections either. Everyone needs to find a system that works for them. But I try to make a comment on Facebook approximately once a day and then get onto Twitter for several short bursts on a daily basis. Of course I miss days. Life happens. But for the most part, I try to stay consistent.

That's it--that's what I've learned so far about Facebook and Twitter. What have you learned? Do you find them beneficial or are you still skeptical? Please share!

67 comments:

  1. Some don't like doing it, but I link my status on facebook to my twitter feeds.

    Reason: I only have to update one place.

    I have a much different set of a friends (although some the same..) on facebook than twitter... so where as it might be a little redundant, it is a "new" status to many of my "friends" on facebook.

    I do find them beneficial... Not only for platform building but for networking, just plain ol' socializing, and for getting that encouragement we all sometimes need, and to be able to GIVE encouragement too!

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  2. I haven't tried twitter yet and I haven't really tried to network on facebook.
    I agree that you need the give and take. There are a few "friends" who I don't know at all, but every so often I get mass e-mails about their books, etc (stuff I didn't sign up for). To me, that's ineffective marketing. However, I can totally see how these networks can be beneficial once there's a personal connection OR for fan pages, groups, etc. Also, the mass mail is a great tool, it just needs to be used the right way.
    I saw your Christmas thingy you do with your kids. I think that was a great way to show your unique life and it makes all of you more real, if that makes sense. :-)

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  3. I've wanted to start using Twitter. I'm alittle skeptical about how to allocate my time. There already seems not be enough hours in the day for me. One question I do have- do you tweet from your PC or cellphone? I always assumed it would be easier from a cellphone to be readily available.

    Facebook for me is a no. More for personal reasons.

    Thanks Jody for giving us some concrete tips.

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  4. I facebook very irregularly, but I am pretty consistent with my blog. I post five days a week except for lately cause we are moving house and all, but usually I am there. Twitter? Well, I don't know... I guess I don't see the value in it yet. How connected do I need to be? Why did you start twittering Jody?

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  5. I am new on Twitter, as you know.

    Last week, I realized that the key idea for me on Twitter was to think of my tweets as tiny blog posts or tiny emails.

    That works for me. I can have fun with it that way, too.

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  6. I've always looked at Facebook and Twitter, and any social networking platform really, as a way to have an open conversation with potential readers and friends. As you say, life happens, and it's nearly impossible to stay in touch with the many people who have touched my life. Facebook is much more personal for me - these are people I "know" in some way, but not necessarily have met face-to-face. But Twitter is becoming personal, because I have enjoyed the many conversations I've had with people there. I even feel like I'm friends with people I've never met face-to-face.

    Like you, I was very skeptical at first, but I have grown to love social networking. Like all things in life I've had to set limits and learn to set priorties so that social networking doesn't take over my life.

    Great series this week about social networking, Jody. Have a great weekend.

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  7. Jody,
    You educated an old dog on Twitter.
    Not there yet, but only had a Facebook Fam for three months, and that was b/c daughter twisted my arm behind my back and signed me up!

    Your blog instructs, soothes, encourages.

    Thanks.

    Patti
    www.pattilacy.com/blog

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  8. I love Facebook and contacting with old, current, and new friends. I have a Twitter account, but rarely do I twitter. I just haven't gotten the hang of it yet . . . maybe one day.

    I love finding out interesting tidbits about peoples lives, though some people share way too much info in a public forum. I'm more likely to tell you I'm about to go feed the birds outside because they been flying in formation and spelling out 'feed me' then anything intensely personal.

    I think the key to any social networking is . . . don't post anything that can come back to haunt you one day. I also think the adding of 'friends', i.e. people you really don't know should be down with caution. For the most part, I add people, but only after Googling them, and reading through their blogs. There have been one or two I haven't added because something just didn't feel 'right', and I tend to go with my instinct in these cases.

    S

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  9. I'm on Facebook and mostly use it a way to stay in touch with friends and family, but I have added a few blog and ACFW contacts recently. I haven't joined the Twitter world yet...not sure if and/or when I'll go there.

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  10. Tamika asked: Do you tweet from your PC or cellphone? I always assumed it would be easier from a cellphone to be readily available.

    My answer: I do my networking from my PC and at home only. But I know many others who do it from their cell phone. I'm not that gung ho about it yet that I feel I have to network while I'm on the go!

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  11. I was on Facebook and someone hacked into it and left vulgar sexual and anti-Christian posts to friends and family. It took me awhile to get rid of him and thanks to a Christian woman friend who confronted him, he finally left my FB. I had to cancel FB account and I'm scared to get back on.

    I tried to Twitter and got lost in the techno stuff of it and left it.

    Right now my blog keeps me busy enough and I feel over extended considering FB or Twitter, but may be back next year.

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  12. Tabitha asked: Why did you start twittering Jody?

    My answer: After I got my agent, I quickly realized twittering was one of her primary modes of communicating. So I joined in and have gradually learned there are just TONS of benefits to it besides keeping in contact with my agent.

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  13. I have facebook but I'm not on it much as they have blocked it at work. Ugh.

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  14. I like both Twitter and Facebook. I used to have both accounts linked, but I use Twitter more to reach out to the writing community, and I didn't like that it seemed as if I was bragging on FB about my word count when I posted from Twitter.

    Twitter has the hash tag #amwriting and #writegoal which connects me to other writers, but like I said, I don't necessarily want all of my FB friends to see I met my #writegoal of 3000 words that day!

    For me, each has a unique purpose, and I have gotten new blog followers from both and I've "met" many new people from both.

    Totally worth it!

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  15. I am still leary of getting started on facebook and twitter. It is enough to keep up with blogging which I love. I don't yet understand it all. There is so much info out there telling us bloggers what else we should be doing? It makes me think 'you mean what I am doing is not enough?' when what I am doing is ALL I am able to do. I personally find it a little overwhelming...and yet, I am so tempted to try to do it all and to do it better. Anyone else feel that way?

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  16. YIKES! Jody, I have been on twitter a day here and a day there. YIKES! I'd better fix that. Problem? Time. And what do you tweet besides blog posts? I need help. UGH! I mean people don't really want to hear how my home-school day is going or what I'm writing, do they?

    And I don't know how to use it efficiently. Guess I'd better take a day and figure all of this out, huh? Thank you Jody. I appreciate all of the help you give. God bless. :)

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  17. I'm glad you are having a positive experience with both. I'm still not feeling the green light for Twitter. I just know I'll get sucked in too much and I want to use my time doing other things right now. I'm certainly not saying no to someday...

    I love seeing you on FB.
    ~ Wendy

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  18. Times are changing, folks. If you dream of being a successful author, you need to be on facebook and twitter.

    Great post, Jody. You're always such an encouragement to me on both of these social networks. :)

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  19. Wendy Love asked: It makes me think 'you mean what I am doing is not enough?' when what I am doing is ALL I am able to do. I personally find it a little overwhelming...and yet, I am so tempted to try to do it all and to do it better. Anyone else feel that way?

    My answer: Wendy, don't do these sights if you're overwhelmed by them. Focus on your writing. That's what will truly bring you success in the long run--excellent writing. The networking is just icing on an excellently baked book.

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  20. Good post, Jody. There's so many social networking possibilities out there that it's easy to get overwhelmed. I started my blog two years ago and am slowly but surely building a following. I'm on twitter, but I don't work it well or regularly yet. Still working on that. Facebook is my challenge for 2010. I think one of the keys is to focus on one thing at a time and get that down before adding another. At least, that's what works for me.

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  21. Jody: One important lesson the Lord has been teaching me is to examine the motives for my Face booking: Do I Face Book from fear that I need X amount of friends to show the would-be publishers of my books that I am popular? Or do I Face Book out of love for others, to introduce them to my Best Friend, or just to give them a much-needed laugh for the day?

    BTW, I love your kittie photos on Face Book this week--those made my week!!

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  22. Hey Jody,

    Thoughtful post! I'm surprised at how many of your readers who left comments don't use one or the other. It sounds like they might benefit from explaining how FB and Twitter are different. The main difference, in my mind, is that Twitter is for meeting people and networking, and FB is for updating people you already know.

    Why does this matter? Because it affects how you use the mediums. Newbies sometimes make mistakes like linking their feeds -- that might work depending on what you're tweeting, but if you're tweeting useful, non-personal stuff like you probably want to, your FB friends likely don't care. I still only befriend people I've actually met, even if only briefly (I swear! I've met or been introduced to all of those people!). That means when a Twitter friend asks to be my friend on FB, I usually say no. I love meeting people on Twitter, but FB is much more personal.

    Love the link about the woman who met her agent through Twitter.

    Thanks!
    @alexisgrant

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  23. I'm still trying to get used to Twitter. It seems all mumbly-jumbly to me with all the retweets etc. Good thoughts on how to incorporate them. :O)

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  24. My goal for January is to get up to speed on Facebook and Twitter. I see the benefits of using them, I just haven't taken the time to get in the swing of things on those networks. Thanks for these tips. They'll come in handy to me in the new year.

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  25. I can concur with your point that a person can twitter too much. I find that if there's a person that makes a ton of tweets each day, I tend to skim over them.

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  26. I struggle with #2. I love meeting new people, but it's very hard to make the time to interact with my existing internet social groups AND branch out!

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  27. I use Twitter to post on Facebook, as it simplifies things. However, there are times when I need to turn it off. When my alma mater is playing football, I will Tweet through the entire game. I discovered later that one of my CPs thought I'd gone nuts. (She now understands the passion of college football in the south.)

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  28. I'm still resisting the pull of Twitter. We'll see how long I last. ;-)

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  29. I love my FB and Twitter peeps. I just feel like I never have enough time to be on both as much as I'd like. Same with blogging. And reading. And writing. I guess its about finding balance, but I'd still like to add more hours to the day. :)
    Click to read Karen’s Blog

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  30. Hey, Jody!

    I have a twitter account but I'm still suspicious of it. Right now I haven't done anything with it other than reserve my name. Creating a separate "author" facebook account was the best thing I've done in a while. It solves all my "facebook problems". I'm such a private person that I wanted to keep the public persona different from the one where I goof off (nothing bad, just silly).

    Have a great weekend!

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  31. I can HONESTLY say I use social media consistently!!!

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  32. I've met wonderful people through Facebook and Twitter. The interaction has encouraged me in my own writing and my own spiritual growth. I hope I've been an encouragement to others. I also been drawn to links I wouldn't otherwise have found.

    One of the things I especially love about Twitter is learning to say something pithy in 140 characters or less.

    I don't link Facebook and Twitter because to me it's not as personal. Also there are things I might post on FB that I wouldn't on Twitter. If there is, I make separate posts. That way, too, I'm not as apt to ignore someone who has taken the time to comment or reply to me.

    But then, my friends and followers are manageable at this point. :D

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  33. Still skeptical, I'm afraid. But these are good tips, Jody. Thanks.
    Karen

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  34. I only joined Facebook at the urging of my children and grandchildren, and my 'friends' are mostly family members with a couple writerly exceptions. Because the postings are inevitably fairly personal I don't feel comfortable adding professional contacts into the mix. I think it will make more sense for me to establish a second account so I can keep the two separate. I don't Twitter but can appreciate that will be useful once I have an agent.

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  35. I'm still weighing the pros and cons of Twitter. I think some of it is the learning curve. I do love Facebook and connecting with people that way.

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  36. Haven't tried Twitter yet cause I'm overwhelmed by Facebook, blogging, and other networking tools. Mostly I only go on Facebook to see what my daughters are up to. When I post an interview on my blog I normally announce it and have had some luck with people going to my site from there. I know I've had to block certain of my friends because they fill up my page with their internet schemes. I want my FaceBook posts to be more like a special event.

    I posted some similar thoughts about blogging today on my site. To quote what you said, "We can't expect to get much out of such sites if we toss our comments out there and then run back into our safe hole." Thanks for the oblique reference to my site "Tossing It Out".
    Lee

    http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/

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  37. Another hot topic! An editor who spoke at a recent conference encouraged us to get out there! Use FB & Twitter, start blogging. I'm on FB, but joined for close friends & family. Haven't taken the plunge into Twitter. LOVE blogging! I wrote these important words from your post into my person paper journal: "If we wait for others to make the first move, we might miss out on new friendships." Amen. Words to live by, on and off line!

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  38. Good points on the social networking front. I've found that it has definitely helped drive some readership on my blog. I have been more successful with Facebook than Twitter. Twitter seems to attract more 'spammers.'

    Thanks for the post! God bless!

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  39. I'll add "don't just tweet about your book, blog, product, whatever. Actually interact with others vs. using Twitter as a selling tool.

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  40. I agree with Angie above.
    I don't find FB all that effective, maybe if you are published it would be a better tool?

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  41. I'm new to twitter but love it. I'm in the process of setting up an author facebook, hopefully by new year. I was thinking of getting a professional picture taken but right about now I'll take one shot by my fifteen year old. Honestly, I have no decent picture. Can I borrow your face?

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  42. I appreciate this series of posts. I was on Twitter for a while, but got off because of too many spammers. Perhaps I'll give it another go eventually. Have enjoyed Facebook, but need to be more consistent with it. It's been fun getting to know so many writers, and connect with old friends too. Blessings to everyone:)

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  43. A Tweetable post!

    So I think I will. :)

    Nice tips on social media, Jody.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  44. Jody, thanks for your thoughts on both of these networks. Twitter is new to me as of last month and facebook as of last week. You've been a great help today!

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  45. You've given us great tips here, Jody. Though, I can barely keep up with blogger. :) I haven't tried Twitter, though I've been curious. I do use Facebook, but only to stay in touch with close friends and family. When I get a little more time, maybe I'll bring it up a notch. Enjoy your weekend!

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  46. I love Twitter. Love my Tweetdeck. Some people are REALLY funny. One thing I'm not very good at is following people back on Twitter. I wish Twitter made following people as easy as Facebook. For Facebook, somebody requests to be your friend and you accept. For Twitter, people can just follow you and it's so easy to forget to follow them back. In fact, I'm going to go to Twitter right now and follow some people back. :)

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  47. I've been too busy to Tweet. It takes time. After the first of the year I intend to get back on track with my Twittering.

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  48. I have met many wonderful people whom I consider friends through social networking!

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  49. Jody, guilty as charged for updating my Twitter status and disappearing. But it's not what I'd prefer. When I disappear, it's literally because I have left my computer. This summer, my schedule was different and I could hang out for more sustained periods of time. Now, my schedule doesn't lend itself to staying on during the time it seems most active. It definitely has made my Twitter time less engaging and I feel badly about that, but sometimes it's all I can offer to pop in, stay a while, and then leave after a bit. I agree with you -- it's been a nice surprise to me, when things work out and you become engaged with fellow Tweeter. It's even more "live" than Facebook, and there are more resources to be found. So I definitely will keep at it, but my Twitter schedule will have to remain elusive for a while. :) I love seeing you on there, though. Thanks for your retweets. You're a sweet Twitter tweeter.

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  50. Hi Jody -

    I'm on Facebook and blog. Facebook provides a way to notify people of blog giveaways and special posts. I've also met a lot of authors and arranged blog interviews through Facebook messages.

    One of these days, I'll try Twitter. Right now, it's a bit too much to handle. :)

    Blessings,
    Susan

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  51. I had a twitter account for a short while. I was amazed at how many people wanted to follow me. But soon, many people of a different moral fiber than myself were following me and wanting me to follow them. Seems the sex business is alive and well on twitter! Between those and the people that twit about each tooth they brush... well, I no longer have an account.

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  52. Hi Jodi,just thought I'd drop in this evening and I'm glad I did. I'm very curious about twitter but don't know very much about it..Thanks.

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  53. I enjoy facebook but haven't done twitter. I learn a lot about what my children are doing from their facebook posts. :)
    I have to watch myself because I can spend too much time on facebook because I enjoy reading everything my friends are doing.
    Diane

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  54. I love using these sites to keep up with, especially. other writers. Sometimes I learn about good blog posts, news in the publishing world, etc. jnust because I happen to read a tweet about it. I'm hooked!

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  55. I came over after reading the shout-out at Through My Eyes. Wow! There is a lot of truly awesome info on this blog - you rock! ;-)

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  56. This was such a helpful post Jody! I'm just starting to understand Twitter and see it's value. I'm hesitant to really get into Facebook because friends tag me with pictures of my kids and stuff. How do you deal with that? It seems like Facebook is tricky because people from every part of my life use it.

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  57. Wow! I did a post on Twitter on my blog but it was not as informative as this one. Twitter Vs. Facebook. I have learned to update my FB status from twitter, I usually do that and at least once a day. I used to be crazy and update a million times a day but people don't want to hear from me that much. i used to play FB games but then I realized I was just wasting time so I stopped. I RE-discovered Twitter again and I love it. I so think of it as a mini blog--I have gotten to meet many authors and writers on Twitter. and since I am a struggling writer I like ALL the connections I can get. I recently joined an online writing group about a month ago so I feel I am in the right direction.

    Any-hoo I've added you to my reader. You are an extremely talented writer! i also am going to find you on Twitter and perhaps learn alittle from you.

    Thanks for being on AMber Lynae's blog roll:) I blame her :) for showing me where to go...Not really blame really but you know what I mean.

    :)

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  58. Great tips. I think a huge part of networking is showing true interest in those you follow.

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  59. This was a service done for me so intimidated by both that I've yet to set up an account. My every gratitude to you.
    Warmest regards,
    Simone

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  60. Another informative post. I love that you are steps and steps ahead of me (as I can dream that my path is similar to yours) and you take time to share your experiences.

    I have a Twitter account but haven't started tweeting. I allowed myself to say no, not yet. I agree there is value in networking via Twitter, Facebook, etc. but I know I would not able to manage my blog the way I want (which was neglected this week) or keep at my editing if I added Twitter to my plate.

    Save it for later.

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  61. I do agree that all the social networking is a valuable tool for writers. Twitter is the one I have the biggest challenge with. I am still trying to make it a part of my daily routine.

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  62. Hey Jody,
    I think this is very valuable information! :-)

    I started a few years back to do some of these things ... but my blog was really for personal/fun reasons rather than having any professional aspect. I found the whole idea of being involved / commenting on others' blogs to be key to gaining readership. But I also found, over time, that my limited-purpose blog and all the reading and commenting to keep up with others was more time and effort that I could justify. I purposefully cut back both on posting and on which blogs I chose to read & comment on, because I was out of balance.

    I think you've done a great job at addressing the idea of balance, I just wanted to add my experience/perspective as one who blogs for other reasons. Sometimes I wish I had kept up more, and grown a bigger reader base, but I still can't justify it for purely social reasons.

    Maybe someday I'll blog for a *purpose* LOL

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  63. I guess my comment really belonged on the post about blog comments. :-) I tweet like a mini-blog (also mostly purposelessly, LOL) but I have not liked my initial experience with facebook, and don't use it.

    :-)
    kim

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  64. It's the time consumption that I have trouble with. I just can't do it all and keep up with writing. I do dabble with it though.

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  65. Excellent suggestions.

    I, too, tend to glaze over the Olympian Tweeters, eg: those who tweet so often, what they say somehow feels diluted.

    I like the balanced approach you suggest. It doesn't have to be all or nothing with social networking, and, as I'm finding, it can be lots of fun!

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  67. I discovered your blog yesterday and have found your posts and the replies so interesting, especially as I am really debating the social networking issue with my self at the moment.
    I have tried a few of the networking sites now, starting with Youtube which was for the longest time, then facebook, twitter ( for only a few weeks ) and now blogger. I still have facebook and blogger running. For me its been nice to try out the different sites with their different focuses ( music, writing, updates,) Knowing me I'll move on to something new again at somepoint ...another new cyber world to explore ! :-)
    Thanks for visiting my blog today :-)

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