On Writing: Social Media

SAMSUNGI’m participating in a Blogging 201 online workshop with WordPress. If you have a WordPress blog, these online workshops on Writing, Blogging, and Photography are free and truly valuable. I recommend trying one out and see if you like it.

The latest Blogging 201 prompt on Social Media was particularly helpful. I have Facebook and Twitter and Linked In, but I’d also heard about Pinterest and Instagram and had no idea whether they would be useful. I knew Pinterest had to do with photos, scrap-booking sorts of things, but that was about it. And that’s not what I do.

Here’s what Michelle W. at WordPress wrote and which I found very helpful:

Each network has different strengths. Facebook and Instagram are good for parenting, lifestyle, and personal blogs. Twitter is more technically-inclined and useful for pop culture and current events/political blogs, while Pinterest is great for blogs [with] lots of images, like food, fashion, and craft blogs. LinkedIn is ideal if you blog for business.

I did my research: Instagram is there to “share the world’s moments…” and seems to be more about photos than the kinds of blogging I do, and I have Facebook, so will pass on Instagram. But those of you who do photo blogs regularly might find it useful. A nice touch is the ability to fine tune your photos on the site rather than fiddling with them on another program and then uploading.

As a general rule, I don’t send my blog posts to Linked In. I have, however, taken advantage of the new feature in Linked In to write posts with a business/training focus with tips on writing. Those have had good readership.

As a general rule, I’ve also avoided sending blog posts to Twitter. However, from time to time I write a more current and politically focused post. Having the above information gives me permission, if you will, to post them on Twitter.

Many of us use Facebook and I appreciate seeing other writers’ posts there. An interesting tidbit I picked up from Jane Friedman: Helping Writers and Publishers Flourish in the Digital Age is that having a writer’s page on Facebook is less effective than allowing readers access to your personal blog. Readers want to know who the writer is and news of the writer’s life rather that simply what she/he is writing.

I’m sure there are differing ideas on this, but for me, that fits fine. In part, because I didn’t want another page to keep up with and in part because while I post photos from time to time and respond to family posts, I rarely to never post personal information.

Each writer or artist needs to find their own comfort level, but for me, what I have seems to cover my bases: Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and a WordPress blog with several pages.

Hope the information helps you. Let me know what your ideas on the above are and whether you find a particular form of social media more helpful for your writing than others.

And keep writing!

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The Trees Dance

The world is whirling past as I sit here in my upper room, a square of window my companion. For the past several months, it’s been me whirling and I’ve not had much time for this companionable time just watching. This morning, conscious of having time to stop and sit, I looked out to see silver-white clouds dashing northward across a fresh blue sky and an airplane flying southward like a silver arrow through clouds to some target I can only surmise. A stray browned oak leaf whirls past in a wind-gust. And tree tops, light and feathery and freed of their burden, dance like a troupe of upside down ballerina legs on the sky, swaying to a song I cannot hear.

I am gifted by beauty, by quiet, by time.

A little booklet, “Advent Meditations from the Works of Henri J.M. Nouwen” sits by my side. From Monday, First Week of Advent, he writes about a meeting an old professor at Notre Dame who said, “I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work.”

Each year when I read this meditation, I am reminded again of my own need to learn how complaints are my work. This fall, I’ve complained of being too busy, of being too tired, usually adding that life has also been filled with all kinds of gifts during this busy time – a book contract, working on a film, travel. And yet, the complaining, even if silent and to myself, seems to come more often than recognizing I had something to learn from the experience of weariness.

Nouwen goes on, “when we believe that patience can make our expectations grow, then fate can be converted into a vocation, wounds into a call for deeper understanding, and sadness into a birthplace of joy.”

Last evening I read a Facebook post from a poet-friend, Judith Bader Jones. She said she was clearing her calendar for the season to write poetry and bake cookies. Sounds like a plan.

Our tree is up, lights on the windows, and the semester coming to an end. If I grow tired in the coming weeks, I’ll practice understanding instead of impatience. I’ll practice watching and waiting for the rebirth of light.

The Creator of the Universe comes to us in these small ways – a dancing tree, a swaying leaf, a moment for reflection.

I offer those same small gifts to you.

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