When the bookstore closed, I didn’t just lose an income. I lost the place where passionate conversations about books are conducted as a matter of course, as well as daily interaction with the people having those conversations, with me & around me, both fellow staff & customers. Being a part of the buzz.
I assumed I’d be able to keep in adequate contact with most of my bookstore friends via email. Silly me. If you want to keep in touch with anyone in this world, you have to join Facebook. I’m not kidding. Even my mom is on Facebook now.
This post is not a diatribe against Facebook, quite the opposite. I love Facebook. It can indeed be a significant black hole wherein I lose chunks of my day, but so can television. I don’t watch TV anymore, so I figure I can afford a little time-sucking endeavor. The early days are especially intoxicating, getting reacquainted with old friends, becoming “friends” with amazing writers. But I settled in, found a groove, and, generally, manage my time well.
I don’t really consider Facebook “networking”, however. It’s like a big party full of people, some of whom you’ve known all your life and others you seem to bump into everywhere, whose names you can never quite remember. The contact is glancing, snippets of comments here & there, but it’s friendly, and fun. Sure, it’s superficial, but I’d argue that you can tell a good deal about a person by reading a week’s worth of her Facebook status.
And I’d argue that those who are using Facebook for wholly marketing purposes are not only missing the point, but they’re probably not being very successful at it either. I’m aware and have made use of the self-promotional tools of Facebook. Of course! But any friend who is merely a walking advertisement is all too easy to block from my newsfeed.
Also intoxicating and a potential disruptor of my space-time continuum is the new site for women writers, SHE WRITES. It’s about three weeks old and growing fast. (Men are not barred from membership, but the focus is women writers.)
There’s a very large swath of women writers represented here, including poets and bloggers. And while networking is much more prominent, there are real conversations occurring: any member can start a group, and within those groups are even more threads of advice and information, questions and in-depth explorations. The vibe is one of enthusiastic support, and I’ve already increased by tenfold the number of women writers I know. The discussion groups allow a different way of knowing each other beyond the usual virtual kaffeeklatsch.
All that, plus each member can personalize her profile page. Um, I’ve spent a rather excessive amount of time playing with my page, but I might be done. For now. The pitfall with personlizing is how personal the process becomes!
You may be wondering, what about Twitter? Not for me, it’s just too micro. It seems to me that for Twitter to be truly useful, you need an iPhone or something of that ilk. I don’t even have a cell phone anymore. But if you’re on Facebook, you can find me here, and I’m here on SHE WRITES. And if you happen to see my mom out there in this brave new world, be nice to her; she’s trying.
On a related note — related by virtue of being about me: My chapbook, Hunger All Inside, is still available for preorder from Finishing Line Press. If you haven’t yet ordered it, and wish to, you can click here for more information, or click on the book cover at the top left to go straight to the Finishing Line Press new releases page. Thank you!