Thursday, December 23, 2010

Do I need a social network?

Earlier this evening I deleted my MySpace account and I stared hard at my Facebook account, wondering if it deserved the same fate. Not yet, I decided, but maybe soon.

The MySpace account had stopped being useful several years ago. I realized this a few months back and started deleting my friends, most of whom were other writers who had apparently joined MySpace, just as I had, thinking it would be a good way to market ourselves and our books. It wasn't. At least, it wasn't for me. And not one of my former MySpace friends noticed or cared that they had been defriended.

I joined Facebook a bit later, while I was in college (to bring latecomers up-to-date: I graduated in December 2005, at the age of 48), because that's what college students were doing. My current Facebook friends are a mix of family, friends, and other writers, and I rarely post anything on Facebook. There are few intimate details of my life that I'm willing to share in a public forum--and with Facebook's woefully inadequate privacy protection it is very much a public forum--and I don't feel comfortable inflicting writing news on family and friends who mostly don't care that I've sold another story or had one published. I'm not even sure that more than a select few of my fellow writers care about my successes and failures because they are rightfully more concerned with their own.

So, if I rarely share information via Facebook and I don't follow anyone else's updates, what value does membership offer for me?

I'm still trying to answer that question. But, unless I convince myself that it has absolutely no value, I'll keep my Facebook account.

And keep posting my writing successes and failures here where anyone who reads my blog posts is doing so by choice.


Brian Drake said...

It's funny how friends and family--they of the self-anointed "biggest fan" variety--react to news of our sales in the same way they react to a fly who lands on their dinner.

My own mother doesn't even read my books.

Dad does, though. That's why he's cooler than Mom.

Fiona said...

My Facebook account went away when I realized I hadn't used it for six months and nobody had noticed.

Michael Bracken said...

Brian, I hope your mother doesn't read your comments on other people's blogs, either, because you may have just been scratched from her Christmas list.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I don't have either as the school district that was my employer forbade both. Heck, just doing a book review or selling a story that was published would cause angst with some folks from time to time.

Now that I am no longer employed, I have started using twitter. It is hard to quantify at this point if that has translated in sales for the anthology I am in, but there is no doubt contacts from those involved in various aspects of publishing are way up.

Michael Bracken said...

I understand the school district's concern, Kevin, but perhaps from a different perspective.

Thanks to the rise of the Internet, powerful search engines, and social networking sites, it has become increasingly difficult to separate one's personal life from one's professional life (or lives in the case of writers and other creative people who hold day jobs that contrast with their creative endeavors).