Monday, July 2, 2018

Going Rogue

The topic of this week is to post the youngest photo we have of ourselves and what it has to do with our writing, if anything. The problem is that I made the mistake of posting it two weeks ago. Rather than posting it again, or saying more on the subject, I’m going rogue with a topic that has been on my mind. We’ve written about it before, but I have never approached it quite this way.

Social media. I love it. At least I love parts of it—the parts I understand.  The problem is that I limp along, using only the smallest part of this powerful system. I post on Facebook, just started posting photos on Instagram, and mostly retweet or reply to tweets. I almost never use Pinterest, and don’t have the slightest idea how to use any of the other platforms.

I’ll give Facebook as an example. No matter how often it is explained to me that I’m better off posting all my book news on my Facebook author page, my author page is a mystery to me. When I go to it, it looks like a complete mess. It’s cluttered with old events, notices of things that mean nothing to me, comments from random people that are “showcased.” My personal page comes up automatically, and to get to my author page, I have to type “Terry Shames author.” That doesn’t comes up in the drop down menu for my name, I have to type it in in its entirety. I have no idea who sees it when I post something on it. I have 750 followers and I don’t know whether my personal page comes up for them, or my author page. It seems like since I have three times as many people on my personal page, that I should be putting out info about my books on that page. But those “in the know” tell me absolutely not. I’m told I need to grow my author page, but I have no idea how to do it. I can’t figure out how to use ads effectively, except in the most rudimentary way. This is just one example of what I don’t know.

It's even worse with Twitter. It completely baffles me. I constantly get notices of something interesting that someone tweeted, but when I go to find it, it isn’t there half the time and I have no idea why. I’m sure there must be a way to find it easily. Otherwise people wouldn’t use it. But how? I’m also sure there is a way to organize the staggering number of tweets I get each day, but I don’t know what that is.

Same with Instagram. I like it. It’s fun. But if I want to go on it and see posts from a particular person, I have no idea how to do that. And besides that, somehow I set up two accounts, and can’t figure out how to merge them. When someone follows me, I have no idea which account they follow.

Bottom line: I’m not too stupid to learn this. But it takes time I don’t have. If I cask how to do something in particular, people tell me, “Oh, just do xxx.” That means I’m full of all kinds of little random hints, but no coherent idea of how to work efficiently and effectively. What I need is a good, solid tutorial. In person. I have taken a few on-line courses and they sound great, but when I get down to it, there’s the problem of time again.  What I’d like is a week of sitting down with someone every day for an hour and having them school me, with samples. But I have no idea how to find someone like that. Do I call a university computer department? Look on Task Rabbit? Put a call out on social media for such a person?

I’d love to hear from people who use social media effectively with comments. How did you learn what you know about social media? Do you think you need to know more? Do you have suggestions about how to find someone to help? Or is everything just muddling along like me?

A little addendum: I have just sent in my completed edits for Samuel Craddock #8, A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary. And on July 16 I'll be celebrating the fifth anniversary of my first Craddock mystery, A Killing at Cotton Hill. Hurrah!


Paul D. Marks said...

Terry, Twitter by itself is a nightmare. If you want to make sense of it you need to use something like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. In them you can set up columns for various things. I use both as each one does this or that better than the other. But if you're not using them and you want to "enjoy" Twitter that's the way to go.

Terry said...

Thanks, Paul. This is one of those bits of help I was talking about. I looked at both, and they made no sense to me. I need some guidance. I know it's just a matter of sitting down and taking the time, but I always run into glitches that take more time than I thought they would. The fact is that I don't "get" much about Twitter. All the @ and # signs, and who gets what and who sees replies and.....grrrr. I'm not asking you to explain this. I need somebody in person to walk me through all of it.

Susan C Shea said...

Yes, with you all the way, Terry...I think it was Seth who set us up with Tweetdeck years ago but then something happened and that program no longer meshed with Apple, and I was screwed. And congratulations. It's been only 5 years since the first Craddock mystery debuted? Wow, what a journey.

Terry said...

Thank you Susan, for the congratulations. I had two books written before the first one came out, and the first three were nine months apart, which accounts from seven books in five years. Still pales in contrast with some of our colleagues.

Unknown said...

It really is confusing, Terry. I probably know stuff you don't, and vice versa, and it would be great if we lived close enough that we could get together and share our knowledge etc. Plus drink a toast to your fifth year anniversary of your series!