Thursday, October 15, 2009

To Facebook or not to Facebook....

... that is the question.

Facebook is a black hole of time, every one I know who is on it, seems to spend waaay too much time messing around, desperately checking their updates, or playing Waka waka.

Do I even want to go there?

Well no, not really.

But then, I keep getting these invitations. And people tell me it is a great way to network and keep up with what everyone is up to.

They even say it is a great promotional tool for writers, and we all know I'm into shameless self-promotion.

But then I don't want to get sucked into it, and be one of these sad, desperate people constantly checking in case someone has visited.


What's a girl to do?

Opinions, anyone?


Kiwicraig said...

It certainly can be a time waster. I only joined while I was travelling so that I could upload my photos to share with friends, and some of the people in the photos (rather than having to email them to people, which took way longer) - and to catch up with old friends who I might have lost touch with thanks to a job change, email address/cell phone # change etc over the years...

I know lots of people who spend tonnes of time playing all the games and widgets, but in the end I killed all that off my page, and it's just photos, friends, and a few wall posts etc. basically. So now I don't spend very much time on it at all, but it is a good way to stay in touch, network, and reach people etc...

I vote to Facebook, in your case.

PS a lot of people use it for networking, adding people they've never met as friends. I try not to do that - even though I have lots of mates, they're almost all people I've met over the years through various travels and activities. I must confess that I have befriended Mark Billingham however, who I hadn't yet met... shame shame...

Kiwicraig said...

and you can do all the networking by setting up a "Fan Of" page and keep your "friends" for actual people etc...

Dave B said...

Yep, I would avoid it at all costs. As Craig says, it's a massive timewaster ... everyone starts with a hiss and roar and then it peters out.

I used to get emails which read 'here are the snaps from the wedding on the weekend - I will put them on facebook tonight - go check them out'

!!? But you've just sent them to me.

The other things is that you tend catch up with people you don't want to.

I also don't think you need facebook as you ARE a writer. You're not trying to get your first manuscript in front of some publisher.

You have a blog, you have a website ... so you are interactive and fresh already.

Just my $0.02c worth

Margot Kinberg said...

You have a good point - Facebook is definitely a vortex of time. However, I love being a part of it. I've reconnected with old friends I haven't seen in years, and it is a nice way, as Craig says, to share photos, videos and the like. As a new-to-the-business writer (I've only one novel "officially" published), I also use it for networking, but of course, you've no need for that.

Yet, I'd still vote for Facebook. After all, you don't need to play the games, etc..

Dorte H said...

Well, I am on it (and log on when I am bored), but I think one can live very well without it - unless you are a teenage girl, perhaps.

The main benefit I have discovered is some level of contact with cousins I have not seen for twenty years. That is rather cozy, especially when I can see some of them read the same crime writers as I do :D

Rachael King said...

Do it, Vanda! I love facebook, despite grumbling about it. I do spend an awful lot of time playing scrabble, but as a mother I consider it my duty to keep that part of my brain working. I have just used it to invite some 70 people to my book launch - you can create events pages, and I also have a page for Magpie Hall, which 100 people have joined and I can let them know news related to the book. Plus I love it as a quick an easy way to keep in touch with all my friends since I have been exiled in Christchurch, when I don't have time to sit down and email them all. I'll be your friend if you join.

I also post links to my blog when I update it and as a consequence i have more blog visitors.

PC said...

As you know I hate the pressure to be on Facebook, and the fact that so many people disappear into it, and all the rest of us see are their toes waggling out the end of it... but even I do have a profile there, and I agree with the people who say "in your case" it would be a good idea for you. For that self-promotion and net-working. But you MUST exercise self control!

And you can get the best of both worlds - you can link your blog to Facebook so that your latest blog post updates onto there, and the people who don't have time (haha!) to leave Facebook to go read your blog, can read it in their home territory!

PC ... From a warm sunny Auckland :-)

Erin said...

My vote is yes, join, we already know you spend too much time online, why not channel everything into one outlet? Link your blog, promote your events, add photos/videos of your radio show... use it like you do your blog- as a marketing tool, and don't get sucked into the brainless quizes and ridiculous surveys. You don't have to post photos of your children, you can be a professional FB fan who reconnects with folks who can't seem to do email on a regular basis.

patrick foster said...

Not a fan of Facebook. Entirely too intrusive, getting pokes and prods from people I left behind 30 years ago. Might be a good marketing tool; OR a way to keep in touch with the folks you really care about, but the random, indiscriminate 'friending' is a pain.

Anonymous said...

To be or not to be post-human, now that's some question. I'm still human, and I love it.

TK Roxborogh said...

this is like the ol' breast is best and the to smack or not smack kinda debate.

Here is what I posted on Beattie's blog on the issue of FB

The post on the 'online presence' is most interesting. I'm lucky because my students are doing most of the work for me. One of them set up a T.K Roxborogh fan page on Face Book (I think there are currently 155 fans, lol) but the most pleasing thing for me, as an author, is the instance feedback I'm getting for the book.

Everytime someone posts on MY wall, it not only is available for all my friends to see but also the friends of the person who posts. It's really like multiplication.

Also, late last year, another one of my students set up a blog (it was the summer and the girls wanted to 'be in the loop' as I was writing the novel). This also has had wonderful flow on effects for the book. Not, of course, anywhere near as popular as your fab site, Bookman, but, with posters being displayed in bookstores and libraries containing my blog address, the FB traffic and search engines, I'm getting a huge number of hits daily, from all over the world.

The bookseller connected to my page told me on Saturday that he's had orders from America already.

Initially, it took up time which should have been spent writing, but I believe it has paid off (is paying off.

Though I don't understand Twitter, and tweeting and other such stuff, I'm leaving a lot of this online chatter in the hands of my very dedicated group of students who are spreading the word.

Penguin and Tania are very happy, esp as the book debuted number three on the best seller list

As a secondary school teacher who enjoys knowing where her past students are, FB is for me.

As someone whose mother and father married three times, connecting to whanau is important.

Also, my grandmother had seven living children and I love that I can connect with them.

Go FB. I don't do the stupid quizzes and inane things - I just love knowing what folks are up to and their thoughts.

Vanda Symon said...

Thanks for you comments, everyone.

I'm still undecided. I guess my biggest reservation, other than getting swept up in it and wasting too much time is the privacy issue.

I keep hubby and the kids off the blog, Hubby, Mr Seven-year-old and Mr Ten-year-old is how I refer to them, and I like to keep my family life private, apart from the odd selected snippet, with no names or photos.

I worry that on Facebook people (ie well meaning relatives and friends) will start referring to them by name, or put up pictures etc.

I don't know enough about Facebook to know if you can separate your private life from your professional life, and if punters will respect that division.

Rachael King said...

You absolutely can separate the two. There are all kinds of privacy settings. I am only 'friends' with people who I am actually friends with, so only they can see my profile. I never post photos of my children but if I did, you can set your privacy to the highest level. Some people unfortunately don't manage this very well in my opinion and there are ways that their photos can be seen by friends of friends, but there are ways around it.

I have my private page and I have my Magpie Hall page, and if random people join the Magpie hall page, they still can't see my profile.

I don't know if I've explained that very well.

Pen said...

You could always have a fb page just for your writing updates etc. I often post links to my blog posts on fb to encourage people to go see what's new there. I have a friend who is not a writer, but who has a blog and does this too. All in the name of shameless self promotion of course! It seems to help traffic through the blog.

Mary McCallum said...

This has been an interesting discussion. I like the way FB is a promotional tool [as a writer you can do with any promotion you can get and FB is wonderfully efficient - look at Rachael's Magpie Hall page] and the way it connects me with distant friends, and closer friends I don't see as much as I'd like... Although I think I've muddled the two a bit and let people in I know professionally etc ... I like Kiwicraig's idea of a private page for JUST friends and family [and yes the uttermost privacy setting - all perfectly possible] and a 'fan of' page. I also like to hear you can banish the widgets which can be huge timewasters. Thanks kiwicraig! [and Vanda] And I have to say

Mary McCallum said...

... oops lost the end there...

And I have to say, I do enjoy the scrabble...