Social Media for Me (Oh, and for You, too!)

You've heard it, perhaps in the squeak of your own voice. The fear, the worry, the I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing so why should I bother? Haven't you wondered if anyone out there even cares? You have. So have I. Origami Twitter It wasn't all that long ago that I wrote a post where I questioned the how-tos of tribe building, of finding like-minded folk out in blog-sphere, on Facebook or Twitter. Old Bottle top icons But in the intervening months, you know what I've discovered? Tribes. Plural. More than one real, honest-to-goodness groups of online friends who matter. Whose words I like to read. Who teach me and comfort me and let me into their life. Some of these new friends write in my genre. Over at Amy Nathan's blog, Women's Fiction Writers, I've learned of new writers whose books I want to read. Women's Fiction Writers Association is becoming a reality. Right now we have a Yahoo group where we learn and grow together. The founders are working to get the association off the ground to offer more and varied opportunities for writers and for readers. A Tribe. Other groups simply support writers. All writers. My favorite is the penulitmate tribe builder, Writer Unboxed. Its Facebook Group (over 3000 members now) offers a safe place for writers in all genres, of any sort, at any level of competence or success to support one another. A Tribe. I've made new friends on LinkedIn, and in some of the Goodreads groups. More folk in the Tribe. Girlfriends Book Club is another wonderful tribe builder. I've recently discovered Southern Writers Magazine. You know I'm likely to fit there. They've asked me to write a blog post, so I'm trying to put that together. More tribe members. These are only a sampling of the places I've discovered. I've sailing tribes and publishing tribes and prayer tribes and tribes of old-friends from long ago whose worlds I'd lose if it weren't for Facebook and email. flock of flamingos

Do you remember how small the world once seemed? We knew only those in our circle. Yes, we could enlarge the circle by moving, by changing circumstances. But we couldn't connect with people in California on the same day we connected with someone in Italy or Japan. (Unless we were ham radio operators.)

I can't tell you how many lovely people I've met. People who laugh with me and who hold my hand. People whose hands I hold and for whom I do a happy dance when there's good news. As they do for me. I live in rural America, and I have friends in Italy and Australia, Wales and South Africa. My son tells me these online friends aren't real. But you know what? They feel real. And when I travel and meet some of them face-to-face, that's about as real as it can get. So, those of you who are still stuck in the I-can't mud hole or on the what's-the-purpose cliff, I want to suggest that there are a lot of folk just waiting for what you have to offer. People who want to hear your words, know your thoughts. Who want to meet YOU.   Social Icons   Come connect with me.  I'd love to welcome you into one of the tribes I frequent. What makes any group strong is its membership. Its people. Will you let me know some of the ways you've connected with folk online? Has it helped you at all? Do you feel less lonely or more so in the midst of this Internet noise?  

25 Thoughts on “Social Media for Me (Oh, and for You, too!)

  1. Bernadette Phipps-Lincke on 6 May, 2013 at 8:05 PM said:

    Very informative post. Thank you. As a writer, there are times when I want to be alone. Then again, there are times when it’s very good to know, I am not. Here’s to supportive tribes. 🙂

    • Bernadette, isn’t it fun that we can choose to turn off the social media when we need it off–and then turn it back on when we wish that connection? I’m lifting my coffee cup to you and the tribes!

  2. There was a time when I too felt that the ‘Ether crowd’ weren’t real friends, just someone to chat with on the net. I was wrong and am delighted to admit it. These friends are as solid and supportive as those who live up the road. They may just take a bit longer coming for a cup of tea. Having had the good fortune to meet one young friend from America last year I can confirm online friendships are as real as any other. The tribes of which you speak are gaining ground daily.
    You and I have corresponded for some time now and I count you a friend, no less a friend than came round after Julia died. You were still there for me albeit over the ether. I’m honoured to be in a tribe with you as I am delighted to be in tribes with other diverse friends from all walks of life.
    David Prosser recently posted..Post Marital One-Sided Discussions.My Profile

    • You noticed, didn’t you, David, that I listed Wales among those countries where I’ve friends now? I love that Julia became a part of an extended family for whom we could pray. Still holding you up as you walk these hard and rocky paths. I rejoice with you that not only do you have those local friends you’ve shared with us, your readers, but you have so many others who obviously care about you. And that’s because you’ve let us into your world, into your life and your thoughts, and we’re richer for it. Thank you.

  3. Aaaaw, that is so well put! I agree that it is real and that you do build up a wonderful support network, even though some of the social media is just herd instinct and superficial and can become vicious (there’ve been some good articles recently about the whole trolling tendency). But that’s always been the case – not everyone around the watercooler in a workplace was benign and friendly, right?
    Marina Sofia recently posted..Happy Orthodox Easter!My Profile

    • And isn’t that the truth, Marina Sofia! You can’t live as long as I have without experiencing the negative, the backbiting, gossiping, and jealousy. I think of folk who are different, who don’t seem to fit into their neighborhood, and think how lonely they feel without a way to reach out and touch a like-minded friend, albeit merely mind-to-mind or voice-to-voice (though, with Skype, it can also be voice and face involved). As writers, we’re often alone, even among crowds. We tend to watch and observe unless we find someone with whom we can actually relate. Someone who gets us and the process, the angst as we go through the highs and lows of this writing life.

      And through social media, in particular through blogs, I’ve had the privilege of meeting you and reading your words. I’m so grateful for you.

      • Yes, writers are often alone, even in a crowd, and it can be hard to find those kindred people. In that regard, the net is a huge help.
        Tracie recently posted..Tracie HeskettMy Profile

        • And sometimes we get to meet them in person and continue the long-distance friendship via social media. Right, Tracie?

  4. linda glaz on 7 May, 2013 at 8:02 AM said:

    No longer the small world that it was

  5. So happy to be a part of your tribe!

    • And you’re such a delightful part of it, Linda. That award you won at the Oklahoma conference? You absolutely deserved it. Few folk cheer others on as well as you do!

  6. We’ve been traveling for a year on a motorcycle, and Facebook and LinkedIn have been wonderful ways to connect with fellow writers, mortcycle enthusiasts and travelers. Family stays in touch too. But Twitter? Maybe I don’t get it, but yuck. Hate Twitter.

    • Kevin, I’m not sure I get Twitter either, but I’m working on it. I’m glad other social media work for your connections!

  7. What an encouraging post, Normandie! I’ve always felt like a match in a bonfire, especially on Twitter, but what you say is true. I’ve joined and developed quite a few tribes over the years in spite of my frail efforts. The networks have been wonderful in our give and take of info and help and, yes, even sales. It’s great.

    Thanks too for the links. I wasn’t familiar with the WF sites. Heading to them now! 😀
    Linda Yezak recently posted..Don’t Call It “Exercise”My Profile

    • I think you’ll enjoy those sites, Linda. I continue to meet other WF writers, but I’ve got to tell you, my pocketbook is feeling the ka-chings from all those trips to Amazon!

  8. Social media can be a help and a hindrance. It helps us find like-minded people. I also think it has hindered our face-to-face abilities. We’re losing the art of conversation. The happy news is that people are reading and writing more than ever before.
    I’m so pleased to have met you and to be in some kind of mutual tribe, whatever that may be.
    Tracie recently posted..Tracie HeskettMy Profile

    • Yes, ma’am! I can’t say that my conversation skills have changed, Tracie. I’ve always enjoyed one-on-one and that is no different now. If you mean that texting has affected conversation, then I’d agree with you. We often go out to dinner and see an entire family with thumbs dancing all over their phone–and not a one of them talking to another. I don’t text. I’ve dug in my heels, and I’m sticking to that, in spite of my son’s suggestion that it is a great way to keep in touch. If he’d like to keep in touch, I need either words in an email or his voice on the telephone! (And not during dinner.)

  9. What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing it :).

  10. I still have a difficult time with all the social media stuff. It seems that every time I get the hang of something, there’s something new or different or added!!! Then I’m lost again. Sigh . . .

  11. Yes, I get that, Cheryl. But I’ve decided only to do the bits that are comfortable for me. I tweet other folks’ posts and my own. And I find fellowship among our client group, on Facebook, and by participating in some of the other groups that speak to me.

    So, we do what feels right, and we let the tribal growth thing work its way in our life. Does that make sense?

  12. Great post. Inspired me to reconnect with LinkIn. I’ll have to check out some of the groups you mentioned as well.

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