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?

 

In A Crowded Room

 

A long time ago, in pre-Internet / pre-social media days, my eyes were still young and too often turned inward.

 

(Fine, sometimes they still are. That’s what poetry is for: to release angst. I’ve less of it to release these days, hence fewer poems find themselves squiggled between lines.)

I wrote this one in those long ago days. The images will be familiar to many artists.

 

One’s a Crowd

Lonely isn’t lonely

If one looks from outside in.

It’s just the inside out

That makes a person feel so thin.

Peering on the inside

One can see a host friends,

All caring, sorting, building, coping,

Sharing life with him.

 

 

 

I remember sitting alone, feeling disassociated, odd and out-numbered as I watched others interact. I was happiest with my clay or my pen.

But something happened between the then and now, between the me I was and the me I’m now — a healing, a rejoicing, an empowering — answered prayer as I learned how to like me and so  learned how to let others in.

Yes, some of that had to do with life changes: maturity and overcoming pain, marriage to my best friend, sailing to lovely places with him, watching healing happen within me. But some came about because of here. This ability we now have to reach out and touch kindred spirits who may live a continent or a world away.

Hello, Facebook! Hello, blogs! Hello, critique friends and writer friends and friend-friends! Hello, world!

You know who you are. So many of you, old friends and new, who’ve touched me and continue to touch my life. You have helped me grow as a writer and as a person. You’ve reached out and let me reach to you.

I give you a salute today and a peek into beauty from my window.

I hope to meet more of you in the days to come, either here or on Facebook — or in person. Grab a cup of something good and let’s chat a while and get to know one another. None of us needs to feel lonely, no matter how crowded the room or how out of place we imagine ourselves. Reach out. Look around. Someone is waiting for you to say, “Hey, I’m me, and I’d like to know you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Marketing Revelation

Fine, this won’t surprise the networking gurus, but as I commented this morning on a post over at Writer Unboxed called “Networking for the Cowardly and Terrified” (that would be moi), I saw it.

I rarely buy books when someone begs me to. I rarely buy based on advertising. But I do head over to Amazon when I read a thoughtful post or a comment by someone who intrigues me, some word that makes me want to know the writer better.

So, if that works for me as a buyer, perhaps it will work for me as a seller?

Oh, my, I can wrap my mind around that sort of marketing. The friendship thing.

And not because I want something from you or you want something from me: that will never work. I’m going to spot your insincerity after the first few conversations, and you’ll see mine just as clearly. No. I’ve got to want to know you—you, the person—before you’ll want to know me. And if you and I can interact on some real level, won’t that be fun?

I enjoy people. Yes, I’m basically shy, an introvert. But years ago, a voice whispered in my head that if I let my shyness impede my access to others, I was being self-centered, worrying more about me than about the other person. I’ve tried to hold on to that, to remember it when faced with a room full of folk. Not everyone is going to want to know me or talk to me. That’s fine. We’re all so wonderfully different, so uniquely made, and we come from such varied backgrounds and experiences. I enjoy richness in my relationships, and that’s not going to come if I surround myself only with clones. You don’t agree on some aspect of life? So what. You don’t share my faith? Fine, I’m used to that. You’re young? (I’m not, except at heart.) Then maybe you’ve some extra energy that you’ll share with me. You’ve a different perspective on things? Excellent—as long as you don’t expect me to agree and don’t get offended by our differences.

Right now, I’m a book buyer. (Hey, I’ll always be a book buyer!) And I’m going to follow interesting comments and interesting posts and anyone who reaches in my direction with some bit of compelling insight.