Keli Gwyn
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The #1 Reason for Social Networking

Are you a social media junkie, or did you drag your feet before you began to tweet?

When I crawled out of my cave three years ago and discovered the connections I could make in cyberspace, I rejoiced.

Well, eventually. First I had to learn to speak Facebook and Twitter.

These days I’m becoming trilingual, although I’m by no means fluent in Google+ yet. I have a profile up and am learning to round-up people into circles, but I don’t know how to start a hangout so I can chat via webcam. Give me time, though, and I’ll get up to speed. πŸ™‚

When I was first introduced to the concept of social networking, I focused on the word networking. In all honestly, I didn’t care for the concept. The idea of friending or following others in order to build a platform seemed self-serving, and that left me cold.

As I got more involved on Facebook and Twitter, I realized I’d been focusing on the wrong word. Social networking has to do with the word social, which involves connecting with people. Interesting, clever, fun people. Lots of them.

Meeting people and forming friendships is what social networking’s all about. And that rocks big time.

Just last week, I joined a new friend for lunch. Karen Hansen and I met on Twitter a couple of months ago, got to DMing (chatting using direct messages, not publicly), and learned that we only live about an hour apart. We set a date to get together, and when the time came, we had a blast. Our lunch turned into a four-hour gabfest. We talked writing, kids, gardening. . .and social networking.

Because of Karen’s encouragement, I’m on Google+. I’m not usually an early adopter, especially when it comes to technology-related endeavors, but I’m having fun getting to know fellow, well, Googlers.

These days I embrace social networking because I’ve learned the #1 reason for it: forming friendships. All right, I’ll admit it. It’s just plain fun, too.

β€’ β€’ β€’

Did you embrace social networking, or were you hesitant to join Facebook, Twitter, etc?

What are your favorite social networking sites?

Are you planning to check out G+?

Keli Gwyn

30 Comments

  • Sherrinda says:

    Ooooo, I’m on Google+ too! It is really quiet there, but the talk is that it will replace FB like FB replace MySpace. Who knows….something will eventually replace Google+. Weird, isn’t it? There is always something newer and better around the corner. I guess with technology changing so fast, we have to be adaptable and go with the flow. πŸ™‚

  • I sooo related to your post, Keli. And now that I’m finally on FB I’m having a great time reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

  • Wendy says:

    Oh sure, what could one more social network hurt? πŸ˜€ Ha. I don’t know enough about it though. I laughed hard when I read your trilingual line on Twitter yesterday. It seriously changes the writing process though. Love all the surrounding encouragement!
    ~ Wendy

  • I’m there with you – the whole Google+ thing, but I haven’t had time to really explore around and figure it out. Sort of the same with Goodreads. I really need to jump on both of those trains, but haven’t quite yet!

  • I want to check out Google Plus but am completely swamped at the moment. It is a good point about friendships. Some of my most supportive friendships are online, and they move from being social media based to involving email, personal contact, or telephone calls.

  • How fun to meet a Twitter friend in person! And no, I haven’t joined G+ yet…trying to figure out how I’d have more time in my day for it. πŸ™‚ I was slow to join Twitter, but I’m so glad I did! I’ve met lots of new friends as a result.

  • Erica Vetsch says:

    I was slow to arrive on the Facebook/Twitter bandwagon. I joined Facebook because an author friend told me I needed to, and now I really enjoy it. Twitter and I had a rather bumpy start, but it’s going better now. I haven’t joined Google+ yet, but I imagine I will soon.

    Like you said, it’s like learning a foreign language, all that jargon.

  • the writ and the wrote says:

    I have Facebook and Twitter and a blog. I’m thinking about getting rid of Twitter, though. I am sort of over the whole life in the computer thing. I will probably still blog and I’m undecided about Facebook right now.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      The Writ and the Wrote – I can understand that social networking can seem overwhelming at times, but in today’s world those of us who are writers are taught that we need to have an online presence. I’ve heard that some publishers even include the requirement in their author’s contracts that they participate in Facebook and Twitter.

      There are many blog posts out there that give helpful tips on how to manage our time so social networking doesn’t take over our day. My critique partner, Jody Hedlund, has a number of helpful posts on the subject. http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com/

  • I was slow to join the social networking but am now reading all the blogs and commenting as much as I can and I look at FB many times a day. No tweeting yet, though, because it’s a time suck and I can’t do it. But I do enjoy the others.
    Patti

  • I jumped on facebook because I could re-connect. That was my motive at first, but then when I crawled out of my cave as well, in writing, I connected with many people in the blogosphere. And new ones! Twitter was a little harder, but I’m glad I did.

    I’ve formed lifelong friendships, and you’re right. That’s what it’s all about. So glad to have met you too! πŸ™‚

  • I so agree with your statement about social networking being about FRIENDSHIPS, Keli!! (after all…that’s how I connected with YOU!). πŸ™‚ LOVE Facebook, mainly because I’ve reconnected with long-ago friends and that’s been a huge blessing. I haven’t done Twitter or Google+, but maybe one day… ~ That is so neat that you and Karen met online, and then actually were able to meet in person for lunch – – so FUN! πŸ™‚

  • With the exception of my blog, I have to admit to being slow to socialize on the web. Two months ago, I joined Twitter and have been building my follow/followers slowly. Last week I set up a Goodreads account (still looking for “friends” there). I want to join Google+ when I can get in.

    I’m pretty shy with people I don’t know, so the hardest part for me has been to request friends and followers. It’s like walking up to them in person and starting a conversation. I know it needs to be done, but it’s difficult.

    Also, it’s eaten into my writing time because I’m not generally on the computer at night, but I have been introduced to a number of people I would not have known otherwise. And it has been fun.

    I’ll work out it all out eventually. πŸ™‚

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    Sandra, I just sent you an invite to G+ and added you as a friend on Goodreads. πŸ™‚

    • I saw that! Thanks so much, Keli! I’m in the process of setting up the Google+ now and will add you there and on Goodreads. I’ll look forward to meeting you at an ACFW conference one year (not this one, though). I’ll be the flower stuck to the wall. πŸ™‚

  • Karen says:

    It was SO much fun hanging out with you Keli! You are so sweet and it was fun chatting about everything!! πŸ™‚

    Ahh, social networking. Being a country homeschooler, sometimes it’s the only “social” part of my day. I love people so it’s a great way to “get out” and meet others all over the world without going anywhere. πŸ™‚

    For me, FB and Twitter each serve a different purpose. FB has family/friends from high school/church/previous jobs. It’s like my online directory of people I’ve met throughout my life. Twitter is full of strangers that slowly become friends, one at a time. Funny thing, I actually closed my first Twitter account because I thought it was stupid, but later signed up again to follow a favorite author. After learning all the ins & outs, I can safely say I love Twitter without giggling or feeling foolish. πŸ˜‰ It’s such an invaluable tool in the writing world! Also adds and extra bit of fun when on a family road trip, you can meet Twitter friends along the way.

    Google+. It’s a wonderful concept, I have an account, but I don’t see it replacing FB and Twitter. I can’t imagine transferring everyone over nor do I have time to attempt it, but the chat function is completely awesome!! Instant chat, no software, no connection issues. Just chat. I see Google+ being another tool with a different purpose for me. I’m not a social media expert, who knows, maybe Google+ will smash FB. Time will tell.

  • Kerry Johnson says:

    Hi Keli,

    I was hesitant to join FB, but my sister and sis-in-law talked me into it almost two years ago. I’m so glad I did, because I’ve met some amazing, supportive people (as well as re-connected with old friends and kept up with family that lives far away). FB has really been a blessing for me, and so helpful in moving me out of my writing cave, too. (Still in the process of moving out, but almost done.;)

    I recently joined Google + at the urging of a friend, but I’ve done the bare minimum with my account. I’m slow to dive into technology…and life is too busy to learn a whole other networking site (and I don’t even tweet!).

    I’m definitely grateful for all the wonderful fellow writers (like you:) ) who’ve been an encouragement and who’ve taught me so much about this “hobby” I love so much.

    Take care!
    Kerry

  • I love social media. I love being social! I need to jump on Google +. I keep meaning to. Maybe after vacation. See you soon on one of those sites!

  • Laurie says:

    I “do social media” for my job, so I also piddle around for myself. I have been on Twitter for a couple of years, but didn’t really do much with it at first… now I do enjoy it, but I need to weed out some of the folks I follow who just fill up my feed with stuff I never read.

    Haven’t jumped on Google +… don’t know if I have time for another outlet, FB already takes WAY too much of my time when I should be WRITING! πŸ™‚

  • I recently started the facebook and twitter thing since that seemed to be all anyone talked about at Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference. Then I sat back and watched how the pros were doing it for a couple of months and now I have jumped in and am enjoying the benefits of social networking. I guess you encouraged me to go for the google +. Why not!

  • Martina Bedregal CalderΓ³n says:

    I hesitated in joining Facebook, but now am on it daily. It made me find old friends and my former students in Peru again and it is very helpful for staying in touch with people. Although there is nothing better than a personal contact, a hug, a cup of tea or a good meal together.

  • Martina Bedregal CalderΓ³n says:

    And about languages: Yessss, it is great when you can talk in several languages, it connects you to the world. I have friends (most of them I know personally) in New Zealand, Peru, on Tikopia (Solomon Islands), in the USA, in Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Tunisia, India etc…

  • Beth Vogt says:

    Late to the party on this post, but I’m recovering from my daughter’s wedding (in a good way) and a wonderful vaca in OR!
    In the same way, I’m usually late to all things social networking . . .
    I’m getting up to speed though and, yes, have even clicked “YES” to an invite to join Google+. Gasp! I’m become so brave, so daring! I’ve managed to make social networking more user-friendly for me by boiling it down to one word: relationships.

  • Linda Yezak says:

    I’m amazed how close I am to my cyberpals. Some have encouraged and uplifted me throughout this trying year. I’ve cried with some over their losses, rejoiced with others over their victories, and they’ve done the same for me. Those I don’t get to personally meet here on earth, I hope to hug in heaven.

  • You make a good point. People seem to frown on anything that might be labelled ‘self promotion’, but the social connections are mutually beneficial. It’s a bit of a paradox that we shouldn’t make friends just for our own purposes, but one of the best ways to promote ourselves is to form true genuine friendships.

    I’m a nerd so the concept of online social networking came pretty naturally to me.

  • Jill Kemerer says:

    So smart–focus on the “social” not the “networking.” Love it, Keli! And how cool that you got to meet a fellow writer/tweeter!

    Enjoy your weekend!

  • Jeanne Ryan says:

    It took me a while to get onto Twitter because I’d heard it was just about folks talking about what they had for breakfast. Once I finally understood it was about hanging out and chatting with other like-minded folks, I decided to join the party. It’s fun! And hardly anyone mentions what they ate for breakfast.

  • I’m always happy to find others in the blogosphere that are there to enjoy networking for the sake of the relationships that develop, rather than just for accumulating big ‘Follower’ numbers and aggressive marketing. I have my Blog, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, gradually acquired in that order over the past 3-1/2 years. I was slow to join the latter two because of the time drain and the fact that I don’t have a professional persona to promote yet. Once I discovered how much I enjoy the cyberspace connections, however, I use them regularly. I’m ready to give Google+ a try, too, but can’t get on it yet. The circles sound like a huge improvement over FB where every friend is subjected to their friend’s comments to everyone else.

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