Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What would it mean to you if social media stopped existing altogether?

I'm forgetting when Twitter and Facebook started, but I do remember being online doing my social networking thing before they were even born.  Okay I looked it up.  Twitter began in March 2006 and Facebook began in February 2004.  I joined Twitter and Facebook, but didn't know what in the heck I was doing (you too?).

Years down the road, I discovered how EASY it was to advertise certain things on both (as well as other social networks including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, etc.).  Click a button and it was there.  How easy is that?  Now we have social sharing buttons on almost any blog or website.  We don't even have to log into our accounts to promote, just click and voila, there it was for all our followers to see.

What happened in the transition from what I was doing before the social media boom and what I'm doing now is that what I did before which had meaning and realizing my tweets and facebook posts have little meaning if that makes sense.  They're just out there.  Not that it doesn't sell books or help my authors make bestselling lists because it does, but just the fact that it seems like whoever I am sending my info to, I really only have a name to go by.  I don't know much about them except what I see in their profile and that's if I'm not too busy to look.  What are their frustrations?  What are their joys?  How are they spending their day to day lives?  We don't know unless they send that info out and usually most anyone on any of the social networks is out there to try to sell you something.  Oh excuse me, it's called sharing.

There is an interesting conversation in one of my social networking groups on LinkedIn about this. One of the members brought up the subject of what if social media stopped existing?  What would it mean to you if social media stopped existing altogether?

Before social media, I was out there blogging.  Blogging was relatively new.  Most authors had websites.  Few had blogs.  But over the years blogging increased tenfold.  So what did we do before social media came onto the scene?  We blogged, but the thing was, we wanted people to read what we blogged. What's the point if you're the only one reading?

When I first started online, there was a site called Themestream (this is all that's left of it - everything else has been stripped) and this existed before blogging became popular.  Themestream was where you would post just like you would do a blog and people would comment and the more comments you got, the more pennies you would make.  Anyone remember them?  They jumped ship on us taking our pennies with them, but it was on Themestream where I learned how to communicate through networking.  You comment on my post, I comment on yours and we make money. 

It became a game.  Every night when I got off of work, I would go to my chart I would keep and check off how many posts I had commented on.  I wouldn't stop until I got to at least 20.  This would hopefully mean those 20 writers would come over and comment on mine and we would all make money.

After Themestream ditched us and taking our pennies with them, I came away from the experience knowing lots of writers and the value of networking and that's the most valuable thing I could take away from that.  I started this blog in 2005 (posts are in draft until I release them) and most of the writers who I had befriended followed me over here.  We continued to comment on each other's stuff but over the years, some bloggers stopped blogging and started using social media like Facebook to communicate.

But just think about it.  If you took away the social media, what would you do?  Go back to blogging and commenting and that's what you should be doing anyway for that is where the real  conversation is.  I really miss one blogger's daily escapades as he, his wife and cat traveled the U.S. in their RV (they stopped blogging).  I really miss one guy whose name escapes me keeping me laughing every single time I read his latest blog post (he stopped blogging).  I really miss the chick lit'ers I used to visit and they visit me and we talk about the joys and frustrations of being published (they stopped blogging).  I just miss the whole blogging thing and this is the reason why I'm back.  Doing the networking thing the old fashioned way perhaps but I don't know of a better way to bring back networking that means more than just a tweet.

What's your take?  Do you blog?  What would you do if social media stopped existing altogether? 


Sandy said...

I don't think I would miss social media much at all. What I would miss is keeping in contact with old friends. Without social media, I would have more face time with family and friends. I have blogged for years and probably won't stop for a long time. I have a lot of followers, but very few leave comments, so it's hard to tell if anyone is reading my blog.

Charlene Roberts said...

Dorothy, great blog and great question!

I don't know how much I would miss it; I much prefer to talk to friends and people in person, although it's much cheaper to talk long-distance via FB than the phone! lol

I actually do try to keep in contact with close friends the old-fashioned way. And while I have FB, I don't have Twitter; don't know if it will do me any good as I don't spend a lot of time on the computer at home as it is. I am with a couple of groups, which I enjoy chatting with, but if they disappeared tomorrow? I wouldn't cry (too much!)

Melissa Keir said...

If social media ended, I would go back to more rudimentary means of getting the word out about my books. I've left business cards in books at resorts and left pens at dining tables. I've been in the local papers and the radio stations. Without social media, my audience would be smaller unless I captured someone's attention who helped spread the word.

I do have my own webpage and blog. I enjoy chatting with other authors. Back in the day, I used to webchat a bit. I had the most interesting friendships there. And I'm glad to have people who visit my blog and chat today. :)

Dorothy Thompson said...

Thanks for your comment, Sandy! That's the don't realize how important these people are to you until they're not out there anymore. As for people leaving comments, I will visit your blog and make sure I leave a comment when you update. How hard is that? People are busy.

Dorothy Thompson said...

Thank you, Charlene! I'm at both Twitter and Facebook and frankly to me there is more hawking at Twitter and I'm doing the most of it. It's a godsend to business owners but somehow there's something missing as far as relating personally to anyone.

Dorothy Thompson said...

I love your ideas, Melissa! Didn't even think about leaving my business cards at the resorts I go to every summer. Man I miss summer. But you're right, and that's why we're in the social networks, we actually need to be there.

Ann Lawrence said...

If social networking ended, I'd just keep writing and if no one heard of me...oh well...I'd just keep writing :) I guess I'd still have the website and the events they plan, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. As I tell my friends, you have to write because you love story telling because it's a cold cruel world out there, but the stories will keep you warm even if only you are reading them! I have just started blogging. When I started writing I had a publicist who handled everything and if I had one today, it would be less stressful...I'd let them pretend to be me and go on FB, etc. But then...I'd miss all the great people who read my books and email me and comment on FB and Twitter etc. So...this time because of social media (I had retired and decided to unretire) I have more personal contact with the people who read my books. I'd miss that if social media disappeared. Before, I only had personal contact through email, book signings and conferences and events. Now, I have it everyday. More fun, but stressful to keep up and be "on stage" all the time. However, I can do it all in my pjs!!

Dorothy Thompson said...

Thanks for your comment, Ann! Love it that we can do this in our pj's, lol. I'm with you though. Don't get me wrong - I still love social media and believe it's the ticket for getting the word out about anything to more people than anything else.

Cris Anson said...

Provocative thoughts, Dorothy. Thanks. I've had a blog for just over a year
and according to the stats, way more folks read it than comment. Come check out the one I posted just yesterday, about the kinky things I'm thankful for :-)

I like FB because people tell me when they're sick, or have a new grandchild, or sold a book...things I'm happy to hear but they might not have had time to call and tell me about it. I also post photos when my flowers bloom, or my brother bakes a special cake when he visits, and other things I hope people might be interested in. It's a way of keeping in touch with lots of people at once.

Twitter? Don't have the time or the inclination to start yet another time suck LOL. But yes, I'd miss it if social media suddenly went the way of the dodo bird.

Dorothy Thompson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Cris! You have a good point, too...that's the way blogging used to be before Facebook. Now people talk about their lives there instead of or in addition to but I have to admit, I love going through my wall to see what everyone is up to...sort of like spying, lol.

Gemma Juliana said...

I feel like a dinosaur when I read how many of you were on social media so long ago. I'm taking baby steps. I have a slight grip now on Twitter but can't stand FB. If social media ceased to exist I'd probably breathe a sigh of relief! And write more books. Probably not sell more books, but who knows. When one thing disappears something usually pops up to take it's place. My favorite way of communicating is on the loops - I've made some wonderful friends on several and would truly mourn the loss of them even though I could live without the constant Yahoo! problems these days. Thanks for your post!

Dorothy Thompson said...

I am so glad you mentioned the loops, Gemma. That was one thing I left out and it's one of the most important networking venues out there. Thanks for stopping by!

Molly Daniels said...

Great post! I joined the online community in 2007 and first blogged, then joined MySpace, FaceBook, and Twitter, plus a few other social media sites. Before that, I was setting up my booth at craft fairs and visiting libraries and bookstores, trying to get my 1st self pubbed POD book on shelves.

I enjoy the camraderie on FB, and reconnecting with people I've not seen in 30 years or meeting other authors I hope to meet in person one day.

Naomi Bellina said...

That is a tough question. I like the marketing that social media offers us (for free!) and I like connecting with people. I don't like the idea that I should push my books at people. If social media stopped, I guess I would write more and go back to emails to communicate, like we used to in the age of the dinosaurs. :-) Great post!