Facebook: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Clint Eastwood - Google images

I’ve been on Facebook for years and I must say, it’s definitely a mixed bag when it comes to enjoyment. Here are a few of the types of posts that get my proverbial goat:

Facebook adHow to write a book in a weekend and turn it into an Amazon bestseller – oh come on! Give me a break, Facebook Sponsored Ad. Why not just reach through my computer and slap me in the face.

Candy Crush logo

Invitations to play Candy Crush – leave me alone, please. I am not a fan of that deep, nightmare voice that says, “Yummy” all the time.

Diary with lock - Google imageAnything to do with anyone’s sexual desires – especially if it involves firefighters. People, people – think! Social media is not the same as that chunky diary you used to have with the little lock and key that you hid under your mattress.


Cheesecake photos of any guy without his shirt off – unless of course you know this guy personally and let’s face it, most of those guys we wouldn’t even ask to take their shirts off let alone put their pic up on Facebook.

Large happy face - google images     Large sad face - Google images

You’re on top of the moon happy one day and angrier, sadder, or madder than you’ve ever been in your life the next – and all over the same person or event. Unless of course you are newly fallen in love, planning a wedding or any other major event, pregnant, a new mom or dad, nursing, experiencing a major life transition, the partner of a recently retired person, on holidays, starting a new job, in school of any kind, decreasing your food intake for some reason, just starting an exercise regime, having to clean your room, house, car, motorhome, or clearly diagnosed with a mental illness of some sort.

I’ll take in stride all the pictures of your cat (or dog) doing cute (or at least you thought so at the time!) things, the monthly shots of your extending pregnant stomach, pictures of what you ate for lunch, endless inspirational quotes, links to so-so YouTube videos and a whole lot more of the minutia of everyday life.

And you know why? Because here are the things I love about Facebook:

Matt's birthday

Photos of you and your family or friends doing interesting things. (Oh, heck – even not so interesting things.) Happy Birthday, Matt! (Don’t get me wrong, I loved this one!)

Prairies - Bruce Witzel photo

Photos of beautiful places and things – I know, I know . . . beauty is in the eye of the beholder but still . . .

Updates that tell me something neat about you, your family, friends or events.

Announcements about cool things happening in your community.

Links to articles, blogs and videos that you found valuable for whatever reason.

Oh crap . . .

Funny cartoons.

Great recipes. I found one the other day for watermelon and feta cheese salad. Delicious.

Leonardo - Guenette photo

I’m off now to post a photo of our old cat, Leonardo. He’s gone now but was cute in the day. That counts, right? Please let me know how you define the good, the bad and the ugly of Facebook.

Reassessing a Social Media Platform for Book Promotion


“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” (Leo Tolstoy)

I’ve been doing some thinking about the massive amount of time and effort book promotion through social media takes and weighing that against the so-called results. Hmmm . . . It is clearly time to reassess.

Considering the above quote, I have to admit – social media as a way to promote myself as an author seems like much ado about nothing. It often feels manic and not like me at all. I need to break the whole thing down into its components and see which ones work for me and which don’t, because the package deal is getting more than a bit overwhelming.

What do I like?

Blogging – definitely! When I have the time . . . lately, with going away and having company and the demands of summer, (eeekkk – I love the garden, but geez, I’d love it more if it would rain only at night and I didn’t have to water!) I feel as though I’m not putting my best foot forward. Blogging takes a lot of time if you’re going to do it well. I’m seriously thinking about the slow blog movement. Better to write one blog per week that is well thought out, than three slapped together pieces because I don’t want my stats to suffer. And I want the time to develop real relationships with those who interact with me on the blog. That means reading posts and commenting and taking the time to be present.

My author Facebook page – I love sharing tidbits on this page, and the opportunity it provides to interact with people in a different way. What I hate is anything to do with following that stupid little chart that says interest in me is plummeting and then feeling as if I need to boost myself. Fancy way of saying – pay for more exposure. I’m also finding that I want to be careful when it comes to getting involved with too many Facebook groups. A couple of well-chosen forums are more than enough. Unless I have the time to be present in a group, there is no point in being plugged in at all.

I have come to realize that Twitter is almost a complete waste of time. I’m now at the point of following around 500 people with 400 people following me. At any given moment, when I have a chance to check the Twitter feed, I’ll probably see tweets by a handful of people – the same thing over and over and over. If I look back through my own tweets, I’m just as guilty – only on a smaller scale. I tweet far less than most. It all boils down to the same thing in the end – my book is great, buy it! How boring is that?

To be honest, I don’t even check out the other platforms (LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads) on anything like a regular basis. I don’t have the time or inclination.

So – where does all of that leave me when it comes to promoting my book through social media?

I have read more than a couple of posts and articles over the last month (I’ve been too busy to jot down links – I think that’s a bit unforgiveable!) that stress the idea that indie authors need to think more about gaining readers (here is where the patience and time parts come in) than about sales figures. We win over readers one by one. And a reader won over to my book will attract other readers. (I have Linda Gillard to thank for that idea.)

More and more recently, I’m coming back to the idea that selling myself as an indie author is a marathon, not a sprint and anything that feels like sprinting is not for me. I just want to turtle may way through the social media whirl. I’ll do the things I know mean real connection and leave the rest by the wayside. And believe me, I know the difference. The loyalty many of you have shown to me in the blog world since Disappearing in Plain Sight was published has stunned and overwhelmed me! I don’t know how to thank all of you. It’s been like having my own cheering section 24/7.

I think the best thing to do is simply send out sincere thanks. Which I do! And a commitment – I will remain true to myself. What else really matters?


Like a Bird on a Wire (or a wooden bench)

Bird on Wooden Bench - Stanford Campus, CA

My unquenchable desire to spread my social media platform beyond the confines of the known universe had me turning to Twitter this week. I have always thought that Twitter was the exclusive purview of people with fancy little cell phones who had mastered the art of typing on tiny keyboards. I put this comment up somewhere on a discussion and a few people told me that they Tweet from a laptop or home computer. I decided to give it a try. Like most things out in the social media world – getting signed up was no problem.

Things happen fast, fast, fast in the Twitter world. I managed to follow a few news sites almost immediately. Found a great Indie authors site that offered this bloggers connect up thing. That meant I had to add a Twitter follow to my blog. I managed that. I started connecting with people in the World Literary Café. I’m not sure what I did there, but people started following me back to my blog. Good, so far!

For the most part I was just watching the Tweets mount up on the screen without having much of a clue what they meant. They looked like strings of gibbeley-goop. But then it all started to make sense. Like when you watch the loading bay at a large factory – everything seems like random activity. Trucks are coming and going, forklifts all over the place and people buzzing around. Then all of a sudden, a pattern emerges. It all falls into place – fascinating!

I started following George Stroumboulopoulos around – I’ve been a fan for a while. Bruce and I had a chance to see a live taping of his previous show – The Hour – at George’s studio in the CBC building in Toronto. That was back in 2008. George was amazing – full of energy, humour and generosity. He stayed for at least an hour after the show was wrapped up – just interacting with the audience and answering questions. There is something a bit incredible about seeing George tweet that he is in the Ottawa airport and being able to reply within a few seconds – I feel sorry for all the time you spend in airports, George. Pseudo-intimacy for sure – George and I are not buddies. But he is fun to follow around.

Last night I actually figured out what a hashtag is and from there I tapped into a trend. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages – tears were streaming down my face as I read through tweets that were arriving in groups of 40 or 50 at a time – #ImSoSickOf – I had no idea that Twitter could be so much fun. This was my favorite – I’m so sick of how ten years ago we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash – now we have no jobs, no hope, and no cash. I jumped on that one right away and was the 76th person to re-tweet it.

I think I’m starting to get a handle on the social media world. What I’ve learned so far leads me to think the following:

  • Facebook – for interaction with friends (real friends – the kind of friends you would want to show pictures of your grandkids to or share your home renovation projects with – OK, let’s just leave aside for a moment the issue of whether friends are ever interested in your home renos.)
  • Facebook Fan Page – people can like me or follow what I’m up to without me having to accept them as a friend who can see pictures of my grandkids and home renovation projects – sounds good – fans, not friends.
  • My Blog – the place I get to share who I am with whoever wants to read (and hopefully someday be able to say – here’s my book, guys!)
  • Pinterest – a place to see and share beautiful images, mostly with strangers (also a place to link up blog posts – especially if they contain great pictures.)
  • LinkedIn – the place for professional networking, establishing credibility in terms of education and past work experience (also a great place to link up blog posts and connect with people from times in my life gone by.)
  • Twitter – fast connections with total strangers about anything and everything (a lot of people are using Twitter for crass and in-your-face promotion – I figured that out quickly. Glad to say, that’s not my style and most of it is easily ignored.)

I guess in closing, I would say – don’t be afraid of social media platforms. Don’t write off opportunities to connect with others before you even give them a whirl or a tweet for that matter. I am not a techie or a computer whiz woman. I’m just a regular computer user and I am able to maneuver my way around. Maybe I’m like the person who buys a pricey microwave oven with all the bells and whistles and only ever uses it to heat up coffee – but still, I am using it! You can, too. Give it a try. Then we can tweet together, like a couple of birds on a wire (or even a wooden bench, but you can be the drunk in the midnight choir. I’ve never been a great singer.) Sounds like fun – right?