Can you imagine the kind of quotes you could get out of Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson on Twitter? Facebook status updates from Da Vinci? Six-second Vine videos from Edison?
Technology has zipped forward in the past few years, making a connected world where information is instantaneous. No one waits for tomorrow’s morning paper anymore. Information streams right to our computers, hand-held devices, and phones as quickly as events take place. (During the Grammys, someone created a Twitter account for Pharell Williams’ giant hat was created and topped 1000 followers.)
We live in a hyper-connected world, and social media tools can be a huge benefit to writers in the 21st century. Facebook is a wonderful social resource in the truest sense of the word. The world’s largest social media network has over 500 million users who connect several times a day. Facebook allows users to create private or public groups with shared interests. Users can send messages directly to one another, and can use business pages to promote their work. For authors, professional pages are very useful. When a user gains more than 5000 friends, a professional page is the answer. Businesses (that means you, writers!) can run promotions, track progress and look at metrics for the reach of the most effective posts.
Twitter is a little less social and a little more business, depending on how it’s used. The most productive way of meeting others I have found is joining chats. Simply search on a hashtag (The # sign followed by a topic) to see all posts on that topic. Some of my favorites are the Sunday night #nostalgiachat, #ptchat for teachers and PTA members, and #fitstudio, which has a roaming health topic each week.
LinkedIn is all business, all the time. Writers looking for a professional career should consider LinkedIn an extension of their resume’. Many employers look at LinkedIn profiles to find a user’s connections and education. This site should be considered from a business standpoint. Writers can often find job offerings, or freelance opportunities to cover topics.
The most important thing to remember is that each of these sites and networks is just an ingredient in the overall recipe that is your brand. A writer can reach different audiences with different tools, and there are tons of resources out there who can help. If you’re struggling with how to get the most out of your online presence, partner up with a writer who’s a little tech savvy. Many of us will help out for free, if that means getting another writer’s amazing creative story out to the world. Don’t be afraid to start a blog and share your thoughts or your writing. As you can see here, sometimes that creates a great outlet to reach your audiences and others as well.
My writing wouldn’t be what it is without having met some of my friends in Write by the Rails, and I wouldn’t have met any of them without social media. Take a gamble, get educated, and enjoy the ride!
Nick Kelly is a musician, professional speaker, and an author. His works include the cyberpunk/sci-fi novel, “Catwalk: Messiah” (Book One in the Leon “Catwalk” Caliber series), and “Ichi” (Book One of the Urban Samurai series). Both are available on Amazon.