Saturday, May 23, 2009

Social Networking Tools

Things are changing so quickly with technology and communication, it's difficult to keep up; but I fear that if we do not make an effort to adapt, we'll all be left in the dust.  

I've been trying to encourage fellow authors who want to promote their books to get a handle on social networking tools like blogging, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  There are many other sources out there, of course, but these are the ones that I seem to be able to manage at the moment with everything else going on.  

I am still learning about all of the features and possibilities these things have to offer, but what I do know is that these tools give us the ability to communicate quickly and effectively to those we're connected to.  

I'm sure you've noticed that I have Twitter updates on my blog and that I always tweet that I have a new blog post.  This is a way for me to let people I know on Facebook and Twitter that I've written something I'd like them to read.  It's a way to drive traffic to the blog.  (Yes, you can link your Twitter to your blog and to your Facebook profile status.)   

I think the biggest thing that holds people back from using these tools is that they don't understand what they're for or how to use them.  What I'm discovering in adults around their 40s and above, is that there is a huge apprehension to these changes and advances in technology.  And, as I said before, if you don't jump on it now, it's only going to get more confusing because people take the technology that's out there currently and build on it for future advancements.

This is a huge portion of what Internet Marketing is becoming today.  So those of you with businesses need to know how to apply social networking to building your business and communicating with your consumers.  I know for many, it seems complicated and intimidating, but once you play around with it a bit, it's really useful and yes, can even be fun. 

I'm sure that most of the people who read blogs already know all about this stuff, but there are some regular readers of mine who really are hyperventilating right now.  (You know who you are.)  And that's okay.  Take a deep breath.  Just know that you're not going to push the wrong button on your computer and set off a bomb.  It's okay to try things and play with these applications until you really understand how to use them.  And no one thinks you're stupid for no knowing how to use this stuff or what it's for - just ask someone (like me!).  
I had to ask questions at first too.  We all did.  

Some of you may not even be interested in social networking.  I remember when I was in college, I heard about Facebook and I wondered "what do I need that for?  My friends already know what I'm up to."  But it's fore more than just the small circle you talk to on a regular basis.  It's a way to stay in touch with your family and friends who you may not see or speak to much at all - and in that way, it increases the flow of communication exponentially.

My Grandmother is on Facebook.  She doesn't go on there very often, but it's a way to communicate with her nine grandchildren and find out what we're up to.  Even though users may not share everything with the Facebook community, we give enough to where there's a pretty accurate picture of who we are and what we're up to.  

Now I can know moment to moment what's happening across the country with my cousins or on different continents with other family members and friends; and that's pretty awesome.

So - anyone with questions?  I'm happy to help.  
I can think of several of you who may not even know what questions to ask.  And at that point, just say, "where do I start?"  


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