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Friday, May 28, 2010

Networking For Wusses

Here's a casting call to post your networking hangouts!

I'll admit, I'm a wuss when it comes to social networking sites. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy rubbing virtual elbows with old and new friends, but I am such a troglodyte. I'm afraid I might end up offending someone by not responding with the proper codes, handshakes and virtual martinis.

For the most part, I limit my socializing to blogs. I like blogs. I like visiting other blogs, and I love the comments I get here.

I promised myself from the beginning that I'd either reply to every person who comments here or visit their blogs and comment there. Sometimes both. I think if a person takes the time to comment, the least I can do is reciprocate. (That's where the social part of networking comes in.)

But recently, I've been called to task that my efforts are puny compared to other people. Geez! I didn't think anyone noticed my absence at these other places.

I'm still a newbie at Twitter, and I'm not on Facebook (yet). The last person who shook her finger at me for not being on FB said that publishers EXPECT me to be on FB. Oh noessssss!

Is that true?

I was on the fence about FB for a long time, and apparently Mark Zuckerberg must have gotten my memo because FB has once again reconsidered its privacy terms.

If you want to see how insane the privacy issue is, check out this org chart of options. I did some sleuthing and found All Facebook, the unofficial Facebook resource, and they gave a nice cut and dry list to check on your privacy controls.

Okay, so this has helped make me a little less paranoid about FB, but what about Twitter?

Twitter is a little less intrusive than Facebook, but I'm still trying to figure out how to word each message so it makes sense in 140 characters.

And how do you keep up with replies and @whoever messages? I feel like I'm eavesdropping, reading someone's personal message to somebody else.

I love the Retweet function though. This way, I can spread good intel without having to retype the message. Brilliance!

But I have no idea what a Tweetdeck is, or what people mean when they tweet '#amwriting', or any number of similarly cryptic hashtags.

Reading sites: Goodreads is still my reading site of choice. I still love that place. I belong to several groups where I just lurk when I have time. I love reading the threads there. It's the least stressful networking site I know.

Writing sites: This is one area where I am indeed negligent, so I decided to choose one site and dedicate myself to it. I had several to choose from, places I liked, but I think I am going to hang around Absolute Write Water Cooler. I've gotten a lot of good information from them over the years and it's time I reciprocated.

This year, I am writing more, and I FINALLY have the time to actually participate at some of these sites. No more excuses. I am going in the water this time.

It might take me a couple of weeks to join Facebook, but I'm already on Twitter. And if you see MariaZ at the Water Cooler, that's me!

If we have the same interests (and we should if you're here) would you follow me on Twitter? I will surely follow you too.

And if you're not already a follower of this blog, join up. The nice thing about following a blog publicly is that YOUR link is shown on my profile page. I've found quite a few new blogs by following the trail on someone else's follower's list, so this really is a good tool for all of us to use.

The only thing that bugs me about the Follower list is that it doesn't tell me when someone joins. I have to scan the list to see where the new person is so I can follow him too. Maybe they'll modify that in some future version. Meanwhile, don't hesitate to let me know that you're following, so I can follow you too.

For those of you playing at home, you can follow me here:

Absolute Write Water Cooler: Find me as MariaZ

So tell me, where do you all rub virtual elbows? Leave me a comment with your hangouts and links so people can find you.

Let's get social! Spread the word, guys.

Addendum: Good to her word, Brokenbiro has posted a new article explaining the mysteries of Twitter. Go over and take a look.


brokenbiro said...

Whoa, Maria! Big questions here. I almost feel like writing a whole post in response because I had the same questions and found out some of the answers.
- Personally, I've found FB a brilliant way to find/keep in touch with all sorts of people I'd certainly lose touch with otherwise. In your position you could set up a fan page but I don't know much about them.
- Twitter is harder to get your head around and lots of people abandon it too early 'cos they fall into the trap of just following celebs. With perseverence you can gather a circle of erudite, witty, well-informed 'tweeps' - it's almost like mini-blogging. A good substitute for office banter if you work alone. Definitely recommend downloading Tweetdeck (small programme which makes the whole process much more manageable).
I know you're already published, but I've read that publishers are impressed by solid follower-bases on social networking sites, though a blog is still best to showcase your talent!
Phew - I AM going to post on this now I'm all fired up.... doh!

Maria Zannini said...

Brokenbiro: I'll stop by when you've posted.

Ref: celebs
Good for me that I have 0 interest in celebrities. :)

Joanne said...

I'm lagging behind here, and only blog :/ I'm reluctant to give more time to the internet, so I try to focus my energy only on the one outlet as best I can.

Maria Zannini said...

I completely understand. That was my story too.

I finally have enough time to devote to other outlets. So far, it hasn't been too bad a time sink. And I've learned so many new things from people all over the world.

We really do live in a remarkable time.

Kait Nolan said...

Like you I spend most of my time dealing with blogs, but I'm also an avid tweeter. I'm ON FB and MySpace, but I hate them and have things set up to feed into them so I don't actually have to go visit. I'm also on Goodreads, and I spend a great deal of time on Romance Divas. My username is kaitnolan on all of the above if anybody wants to friend me :D

Oh Maria, you were asking about Tweetdeck, it is a desktop program that allows you to manage your tweet stream so that you actually CAN follow the thread of conversations. It makes things more like a giant instant messenger as opposed to the not at all logical web version of Twitter.

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: tweetdeck

Ohhhhhh! That's the simplest explanation I've seen yet. Thank you!!

And I found you on Twitter and Goodreads!! I am following you now.

Jannette Johnson said...

FB is a private one for me. I only have writer friends and family members.

I have a MySpace account, but it's for networking only. I don't have any of those apps. Actually, I can't be bothered. With dialup internet those things take forever to load.

I'm on Twitter and I'm like you, still trying to figure it out. That Tweetdeck sounds interesting, I should look into that.

The only thing I've found with Twitter, is if someone starts following me, and if I don't start follow them back, they drop me. Sorry, but I only follow people I know (and some celebs :P).

BTW...I'm adding you. :D

Marian said...

Hey Maria,

When you get to Facebook let me know and I'll friend you. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Jannette!

I don't mind following people I don't know. It all depends on their tweets.

The only people I'll unfollow are people who blast me with advertising tweets, or the sleazy ones--which Twitter seems to get rid of right away anyway.

Maria Zannini said...


OMG! I'll have one whole friend on FB. LOL!

I'll look you up when I take the plunge. Thanks!

catie james said...


Maria Zannini said...

OMG! Catie, you're everywhere!!

Good for you. Thanks for the links! I'll look you up when I get to FB.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I JUST joined twitter and FB this year. Peer pressure.

Both are really FUN.

But some of your twitter questions, I've had, too! And I still don't know how to FF or @ someone. It's crazy.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: I didn't like Twitter in the beginning, but now that I've found some interesting 'characters' on Twitter, it's been fun.

I've learned all sorts of things and met new people.

I'm still afraid of FB though. :eek:

Sherri said...

You have more than one friend on FB!

I haven't got into Tweeting, never did My Space, and only got on FB because my cousin decided to use that for planning our family reunion. FB can be a huge time suck though *g*

I think the suggestion of a fan page would be good. They're easy to set up. It's also easy to link your blog posts to FB, which I know has increased traffic to my blog.

I'll have to revisit the blog following thing...I know I didn't have much luck with it the first time I tried it despite the fact I have two followers. -- I see more links via my blog roll both to and from my blog.

Maria Zannini said...

Thank you, Sherri! My friends list is growing and I'm not even on FB yet. :)

I've been reading about those fan pages. That might be what I need. A presence without too much personal information going out.

Dru said...

I'm on twitter and I think we follow each other, but I don't tweet as much. I just followed you.

I'm on Goodreads and we're already friends.

I'm mostly on Facebook though, basically catching up on friends and enjoying the many authors that I read.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: I know you've always been careful about where you hang out so it makes me feel a little better that you think FB is okay.

Takes deep breath. 2 weeks. I'll give myself a couple of weeks to work myself up to it. :grin:

Mike Keyton said...

I'm also thinking about going on Facebook, but I'm still in the process of wondering why

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I keep wondering why too.

Though the "fan" page sounds like a good way to maintain an author presence. If I can figure out a way to link this blog with FB, they have a deal.

Maybe we'll meet each other there.

James Garcia Jr said...

Hi, Maria. Happy long weekend to you...
Not on FB! Tsk, tsk, tsk. Kidding! I look forward to see you there (it is futile for you to resist the dark side!) Sorry, had to do it. LOL!
I did just find you on Goodreads, however.

Maria Zannini said...

James: Why do I get the feeling you guys are going to pull me into the dark side whether I want to or not? :)

Thanks for friending me on Goodreads!

Mike Keyton said...

I'm speaking hoarsely and with much heavy breathing. I've just jointed the dark side. (I like the typo,I'll keep it). I'm on facebook. Fairly painless. Haven't said much, probably won't say much, but I'm there. Yay...I think.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I like FB. It lets me keep up with people I haven't seen in years.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: The thing I worry about is why would anyone want to keep up with me. LOL.

But I'm weakening.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: Now I know hell is about to freeze over when you beat me to a cyber spot.

But then I've always known you were inherently evil.

India Drummond said...

I just love FB and Twitter, but I have to keep it reasonable so it doesn't suck up all my time.

But feel free to drop me a line if you have any problems or questions about Tweetdeck and the like. I've been using them for about a year now, and I'm happy to help!

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, India.

Brokenbiro helped me with the big stuff, but if I have more questions, I'll be sure to email you.

--questions I never seem to lack.