18 hours ago
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Community doesn't just happen… it takes time.
The more time I spend trying to figure out the internet and all of it's nuances, the more I see that it is so much about marketing and networking. And I also recognize that both of these take a lot of time. Occasionally I can't help but wonder what the end result will be to all of my little efforts. And mostly I just keep working away, discovering treasures in people and their words, actively writing, and posting my work. Social networking is a big part of my life now.
This is what I've been learning about social networking so far. If I want to get word out about something I just tell my friends about it on Facebook, and then my announcement will instantly be 'seen' by my friends friends and so on. I can join special interest groups on Facebook and make new 'friends', expanding my network and my ability to spread the word about anything… an event, a book launch, a birthday! If I want to become more involved in the virtual writing world, I can visit writer's blogs, websites, and networks (like Pink Ink Workshop) and dig in a little, posting comments (only after reading their posts, of course) that link back to my own blog or website. And I can blog myself to build a platform for future projects, and I can Twitter… or Tweet… although I haven't gone there and I'm not sure if I will. Then there are also podcasts, and other things that I'm probably not even aware of (yet).
I've learned that I can follow or subscribe to blogs that inspire me and widen my perspective. I've learned how to join networks that again expand my circles and introduce me to the world of writing in new ways. Google Alerts allow me to monitor who else is writing on certain topics, and find other networks for writing women and so on. I can find a niche, discover a new idea, or make a new friend because of the amazing world of the internet.
Social networking creates a sense that I am 'out there', and there's this opportunity to build into and receive support from writers around the world. It's pretty amazing when you think about it. Pink Ink Workshop is an example to me of how a group of writing women can connect, care, and draw out the very best in each other. So many good things have occurred already in just a few months with this network, because of our growing relationships with one other.
The things I have yet to figure out are well defined boundaries… to ensure that I'm not spending too much time in the virtual world, but also engaging in relationships with flesh and blood people. I have to figure out a good writing schedule to allow me to blog regularly without sitting for hours in front of my computer. I have to discover when enough is enough when it comes to online research. But, with all those things in mind, I will forge on because I believe it's a worthwhile endeavor and a way to meet incredible people, learn new things, stay relevant, grow my gifts.
So, I encourage you to make time to get involved in online networks… it's up to you how much or how little you put into this, and it's really just one way to connect. But I believe it's a healthy thing to belong to communities of like interested people, who are actively making a place for themselves, and making friends along the way.
Out there, but still here,
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