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Where Do Readers Hang Out Online the Most?

*Image Source John Atkinson* 
 By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

I recently did a blog post about the changing nature of blogging and mentioned that I didn't think my readers really hung out much on my blog. To my surprise, several readers commented about the issue.

Here are a couple things they mentioned:

Sylvia said: I am a reader, not a writer. Reading your blog posts is always something to which I look forward. I just don't comment much. Since I'm not a writer nor a great talker, it's difficult for me to form the sentences into a smooth, enjoyable reading experience for others. Therefore, I don't comment much. I am certain there are plenty of others like me out there who read the posts all the time, but don't comment.

Deanna said: From a reader's view, I enjoy reading author blogs. However, I do know how much time a blog posts takes away from an already busy schedule. Basically I see both sides of this coin. I really think some kind of presence is a good thing or else I may not have found out about your awesomeness!

I truly appreciated the feedback, ladies! Thank you!! It's good to know that some readers enjoy reading author blogs! (And as a side note, I NEVER pay attention to how a comment is written. I don't care if there are typos, repetitions, etc. In fact, I type my comments fairly quickly and make plenty of mistakes myself!)

In light of the discussion of whether readers follow author blogs on a regular basis, I thought it would be a great time to ASK READERS to chime in WHERE they like to hang out the most online. In other words, which social media provides the best avenue for connecting with authors you like to read and follow? (So readers, make sure you chime in the comments with your thoughts! I sure would love to hear!)

From my perspective as an author, here's where I see readers hanging out and interacting with me (going in order from the MOST to the LEAST):

1. Facebook Author Page:

I've found that I interact with readers the most on my Facebook Author Page (not my personal account). On my Page, readers can swing by anytime and make comments without having to wait for me to get around to "friending" them. And they can also comment without the intimidation of the blog commenting system (or the comparison of other comments). Readers usually leave a comment after reading one of my books and let me know what the book meant to them.

2. Emails:

I also hear from a lot of readers through emails (either directly or through the contact form on my website). Emails tend to usually be longer and more personal. I likewise return the email with a personal, longer note of my own.

3. Pinterest:

Although most people don't use the "comment" feature on a regular basis on Pinterest, I find that many readers interact with my Pins by repinning or liking them. And I regularly interact on Pinterest as well. It may not be a place to "chat" but it is quick and easy way to stay in touch with each other via pictures we post. I've found that my numbers of followers is growing at a faster rate on Pinterest than any of my other social medias sites.

4. Blogging:

Like I mentioned in my recent post about blogging, even with my Thursday posts that are geared for readers, I still don't see a lot of readers hanging out at my blog. As Sylvia said above, many readers might be reading, but just not commenting. And that's perfectly fine! I think most of the time, people who comment are usually other bloggers who already feel comfortable with the blogging process. And I'm guessing most average readers don't have blogs.

5. Twitter:

I interact the least with readers on Twitter. Most of my followers there are other writers. Thus I find Twitter a great place to chat about writing stuff, find writing links, and keep up with industry happenings.

6. Other social media:

Generally speaking I don't find that many of my genre readers are hanging out in places like Linked In, Google Plus, Tumblr, etc. I have started to get more messages and comments from fans on Goodreads, but by and large, I don't interact with readers there.

So those are my thoughts about reader hangouts! Now it's your turn to share!  

Readers, where do YOU hang out the most? In your opinion, which social media is most deserving of an author's time?

47 comments:

  1. I do actually connect with my favorite authors on their blogs and websites... in fact, I get frustrated when an author has just a social media account (like Facebook) and no central spot, like a blog or website. But really, I think this just validates what you're saying about blogging and who interacts there, because I'm an avid blogger and aspiring author myself! :)

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    1. I actually really like it when authors blog too! I may not be able to always keep up, but it keeps them more personal. But like you said, as a blogger myself, I'm not intimidated by the blogging process. I think back in the days before I started blogging, I likely would have been more of a lurker. :-)

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  2. I don't know where readers hang out, but I hang out a lot on Facebook. I used to spend a lot of time on Twitter, but the conversations have trickled. I don't see as many folks there as I used to. :)

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    1. Hi Jill, I've noticed a trickling off in conversations on Facebook too. I'm guilty! I'm writing more these days and pushing social media into my spare moments (like right now when I have a five minute break!). So I definitely have cut back!

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  3. I don't use Facebook a lot. It's mostly because I can't keep up with it. I have tried recently to attend a couple of author Facebook parties, but I can't keep up with what other's are saying. Plus they're usually in an evening which is when I'm online the least. (That's my husband time!)

    I use emails for what I call "business." I learn about book tours, send book review links to publishers, etc. I don't usually send emails to authors because I understand their time is valuable and I don't want them to feel obligated to reply.

    I mostly use Pinterest mostly for window shopping. It's a psychological thing. I'm going through the motions of selecting items - mostly clothing - but instead of checking out and using a credit card, I pin them to one of my boards. I also find Pinterest useful for travel planning.

    Blogs: depends on if I have time to read or something grabs my interest.

    These days, Twitter is my main social media of choice. I get my news, sports score updates, info on sales, etc. I can choose when to read and don't feel I have to read everything at once. I've got two Twitter accounts and can switch between them easily. I can also read Tweets on my iPhone when I'm away from the computer.

    There's one more reason I like Twitter. I'm forced to make every character count. Give me a text box like this and I become rather verbose!

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    1. LOL! But isn't that the nice thing about blogging? You have the freedom to say more and interact more deeply, when you have the time and something to say? That's why I like it so much! But time constraints are a factor as well in being able to keep up with all of the various social medias. And so sometimes the quickness of FB and twitter make it easier to connect on those places.

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  4. I connect on Facebook most often, unless the topic requires more time and thought. Then I go to the author's blog.

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  5. Hi Jody, I do facebook a lot but then have many blogs that I follow and check them daily too or as often as I can...the author newsletter is always good to find out things that are happening so I view this too.
    mainly it is facebook though.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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    1. Thank you, Paula! I love seeing your smiley face on facebook! Thanks for always being there! :-)

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  6. I stay connected on Facebook most often. It's easy to connect over blogs (whether the author's blog or one where they are featured or one of their friends, etc), announcements and giveaways :). I also like to follow author's blogs too!

    I try and keep up with twitter too, but since I work 8-5, I can really only check it on quick breaks. Hope that helps!

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    1. Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for sharing! It is fun to meet new authors through their blogs or interviews. Thanks for hosting me on your blog and doing a giveaway there! It's been great to get to know you! :-)

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  7. Oh and I love love love Pinterest and it's been fun following authors there too!

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  8. I've had a similar experience to yours. I see the most non-writer readers on my Facebook author page and through email contact. However, over the last year, there's been a big uptick in readers on Twitter (which makes me happy since that's where I like to hang out most.) I also have seen more readers reaching out to me on Goodreads to either comment on one of my reviews of other books or to send me a personal message. I don't, however, see a ton interacting with me on my blog. However, like you, I suspect some are reading and just not commenting. Before I was a blogger, I know I would've been a lurker. It can be intimidating to comment. Thanks, as always, for the insightful post! :)

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    1. Hi Roni, That's interesting that you're seeing a growth in readers on Twitter. I wonder if some of that has to do with our genre readers (or the demographics of our readerships)?

      I think it's likely worth it to keep blogging even for readers who are lurking but not commenting. Hopefully it keeps us visible and personal.

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  9. Oooh, this is interesting to me. Just two days ago I finally created an author page on Facebook! That's why I stopped by your blog. I remember when you set up your page, and posted some tips. I'm happy to know that when one of my books comes out, Facebook will be a great place to connect with readers. Thanks, Jody!

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    1. Oh congrats on starting an Author Page, Julie! It will be a great place to connect with readers once you have a book out!

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  10. While I don't "hang out" any place online regularly, you're blog is one link I always click when I do log on. I also frequent Seekerville because those ladies are an amazing source of laughter and encouragement to an aspiring writer like me. I follow other authors' blogs too, but many are not as regular as yours.

    Facebook is where I spend most of my internet time (probably because it's on my smartphone, thus very handy). I do see authors there, but I use it mostly for personal interaction.

    I really like Goodreads, but I don't usually have enough time to use it like I should.

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    1. Hi Andrea, I appreciate that you stop by my blog when you're online! Love hearing that! And that's interesting that you're on FB the most because of the availability on your phone. I hadn't thought of that, but it really makes sense! :-)

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  11. As a reader I hang out most on FB author pages. I follow authors on Pinterest and have a novel board for my WIP.

    Jody, if it had been available would you have started a FB author page for yourself before you were published in fiction?

    Thank you for your insightful posts. They're so helpful for a new author like myself.

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    1. Jenni, If I could go back and do things over with FB, here's what I'd do. I'd start a personal page under an alias of some kind (not sure what!). That way, I could have kept my personal account much more personal. And then I'd really only have ONE account (my Page) that is for my public persona. As it happened, I had my personal account first and so ended up having a lot of followers (readers and other writers) before I had my Page. Because of how things started, I don't turn anyone away who "friends" my personal account since I feel it would be unfriendly to readers. But I use my Page much more often.

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  12. Hi, Jody!

    You'll probably see me over on Pinterest... that's where I get most of my inspiration! and your Writer's Advice board (http://pinterest.com/jodyhedlund/my-writing-advice/) really gets me motivated. :)

    Have a wonderful day! I've just downloaded your newest title! and will review it as soon as I finish. All the best!

    ~Ashley

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    1. Hi Ashley,

      I have to tell you that I LOVE Pinterest the most! It's my favorite place right now! Even though we don't chat, everyone's pictures seem to say a little about them and speak for them.

      Thanks for downloading my book! I hope you'll enjoy it! :-)

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  13. As both a reader and writer, though I'm admittedly more of a lurker than anything else, I do most of my interaction on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and Pinterest. I love your writing pins! I really need to focus on making more connections with people and not lurking so much, but that won't be till later in the month when my schedule calms down. :)

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    1. Michelle,

      Sometimes lurking is perfectly fine! :-) We all only have so much time in a day and have to prioritize! It's definitely hard to find time to do all of the social medias, which I guess is one of the reasons why I think writers need to be aware of where readers are hanging out the most. That way if we can't make it to every place, at least we can hit the main hang-outs.

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  14. With other authors I connect with Twitter. Now I utilize that with posting and interacting with Flipboard, which incorporates all of my interests, is exceedingly visual, and where I started my own little mag "Janet's Daily Flipbooks".

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    1. Janet,

      I have to admit, I'm not too knowledgeable of Flipboard, although I did read an article about it earlier in the week. You've perked my curiosity! I'll have to investigate it a little more! :-)

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  15. There's a huge cadre of book bloggers on twitter and that's where I go when I want to discuss bookish things with a large group.

    I don't spend much time on facebook, and now that they're doing away with Google Reader, I think my time on blogs might dwindle too. I've yet to find a replacement I like as much.

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    1. Hi Joy,

      I have a column on Twitter for readers (like you!) and a few others! But I've had a hard time keeping up with Twitter followers and organizing them into lists. Maybe one of these days I should take an informal twitter poll and ask readers to tweet me so that I can make sure to add them to my reader column!

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  16. Jody, I've been spending more time at The Book Club Network. I find that more people see my blog posts there than they actually do on Facebook. Thousands of people use the site for a variety of purposes, including book clubs, discussions, blogging, etc. Goodreads is another website that I frequent. I leave reviews at both sites, and find more views from those websites. I hope this is helpful to you and other authors. Fred St. Laurent from The Book Club Network is always available to authors and readers if you need assistance. He has a Facebook timeline site now @ https://www.facebook.com/TheBookClubNetworkBookStore?fref=ts. This is a new site, but I think it will become a mecca for authors and readers.

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    1. Hi Nancee,

      Thanks for sharing about The Book Club Network! I had an interview and book giveaway there for my last book and was surprised at how busy it was! It would be really cool if it turned into a mecca for authors and readers!

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  17. I follow several author blogs. Just reading them makes me feel like I know them. I don't comment very often, but I do appreciate all their extra work in their already busy schedules.

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  18. Facebook is where I spend most of my time.

    I also love Goodreads.

    I have found myself using Twitter and Pintrest a bit more lately.

    And of course blogs. There are several blogs I follow from fellow readers as well as authors. I probably spend a couple hours a day checking the blogs I follow.

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  19. I use Facebook the most. I receive many emails but I usually don't read them all. I don't typically go to an author's blog or website unless I see something about it on Facebook (that's how I saw this) or get an email that intrigues me. I use Goodreads but I don't follow anyone in particular there.

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    1. You would be surprised how much authors enjoy being stalked!

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  21. I guess I fit into the trend of writers who are bloggers, and I spend much of my online time reading my favourite blogs. E-mail and Facebook are a close second, since I check both of them several times a day. I visit Twitter at best once or twice a day but, while I also have Google+ and Goodreads accounts, I don't use them very often.

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  22. Definitely Facebook! But I do check on the author blogs as well, just not as frequently and many times need an email to remind me to check them.
    Brittany McEuen

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  23. Love author blogs, visit yours often, Jody. I keep a list of favorite Christian authors that I click on. Also, a few on Facebook...don't do Twitter or Pinterest. I like authors monthly e-mail newsletters to keep up with what's going on. Blogs are a way to get to know an author better with listings of books. I'm reading The Preacher's Bride and want to skip to the end to see what happens--I won't but I'm reading as fast as I can! Thanks Jody keep up the great writing! Linda

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    1. Hi Linda, Glad you're enjoying The Preacher's Bride! Thanks so much for reading it! :-)

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  24. I just joined Twitter last week because, with my youngest getting ready to leave the nest, I'm hoping to more aggressively pursue my writing dreams. Heard Twitter is good for marketing. Instead, I'm finding a wealth of information, advice, and encouragement from so many writers--like you! (Thank you.) Of course, I find the information, advice, and encouragement when I follow their tweets to their blogs, so I think the blogs have the most value, but Twitter is a great tool for leading readers, like me, there.

    I'm trying Pinterest, too. It's a curiosity, but I'm not sure I get it just yet. Oh, well.

    Expecting "Noble Groom" to show up in my mailbox any day now. Can't wait!

    Enjoy your day, Jody--
    Janet Reeves

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    1. Hi Janet! Thanks for getting my newest book! I truly appreciate it!

      And I hear you about twitter. I find most of my best links there to writing/industry articles. But they always lead back to blogs for the full info. So there is a benefit to having that home base in a blog!

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  25. Twitter is the big one for me. If I start chatting to an author and they seem like a nice or interesting person, that's when I'll check out their blog and see if they've written anything I might like.

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  26. Hi, Jody - I'm still looking for the Find My Readers button on Twitter & Good Reads ... have you discovered it yet? LOL

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