Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Social Networking for Newbies

Shortly after I began writing, I encountered the advice: If you're going to write you'd better blog, FaceBook, and twitter.

I started my first blog shortly after that, and proceeded to make almost every mistake in the book. So while going over the basics today with some writing friends of mine (who just returned from a conference where they were told that if they're going to write, they'd better blog, facebook, and twitter), I thought it might be a good idea to review what I have learned.

Where do you start? Perhaps the best place to start is with the blog. The most coherent description of how these things work together I found here:

To paraphrase, he said that your blog is your “homebase.” This is where you ultimately direct people. On the other hand, services like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. are “outposts.” The purpose of an outpost is to connect with people that otherwise wouldn’t find your homebase. (Michael Hyatt paraphrasing Chris Brogan)

Yes, blogging takes time. Yes, blogs need updating. But the primary advantage to a blog is that the constantly changing material is an attraction to people. I've learned so much reading blogs. It is information in bite-sized morsels that are easy for my mind to digest. Reading writers' blogs has helped to understand the process of writing. Reading agent blogs has begun to orient me to the business of writing.

And the advantages to writing a blog? I'd have to say the biggest one is that I tend to learn things best when explaining them to other people. All the topics that I've blogged on remain lodged in my memory. It is one of the best ways to learn. Secondly, blogging has brought me into contact with some new people I would have never otherwise met. There's a social aspect to it. And thirdly, a blog is writing. And every bit of writing you do makes you write even better. Words are never wasted.

So, how's that home base coming? Do you have a blog? What do you blog on?

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