Social Networking and Me (and You)

Platform! Branding! Social Media! Twitter! LinkedIn! Facebook!! Fame! Success! Numbers! Strategy! Network! Globalize! Promote! Sell!

Whoa there, pal. I have a headache and I didn’t even get through ten percent of the social networking buzzwords.

I’ve always been a computer person. I grew up in the Seattle area and computers were the norm. My grandparents had Pong (sweet!). I got an Atari 2600 for Christmas (back in the day when it came bundled with Pac Man and Combat!) and I was hooked. My brother and I spent hours camped out in the den in sleeping bags, beneath a ramshackle fort we had created, playing video games.

And I was awesome at this. P.S. This guy is doing it wrong.

Some of my best friends were met in online video games. I even met my spouse in a video game. (Embarrassingly enough, it’s true — and we’re coming up on 7 years of marital bliss.) When online life was new, most of my friends shunned me, saying they’d never understand. At one point, a group of them came over and tried doing an intervention. And where are they now?

Beats me. I have to log into Facebook if I want to connect with them anymore.

I’ve been at this online thing for a very long time, so when I get inundated with the advice of self-proclaimed “social media experts” I have a mixed reaction. So let me first get this out of the way:

There is no such thing as a social media expert.

Social media is very new. It’s so new, no one knows anything for sure about it yet. They can tell you how to get a massive following and promote your blog and there has been direct success related to businesses promoting their brand and connecting with people, but there is no definite dos and don’ts with social media. Not yet, anyway. In computer years, it’s still just a baby — drooling and crawling and pulling your hair and trying to stick its goobery, saliva-covered fingers into electric sockets.

Hello, my name is Facebook. How may I get into your personal space today?

But I’m not knocking social media, either. 90% of you reading this blog are people I met through social media — and only in the last two months. What’s even more stunning is that the majority of you reached out to me first! Then again, I’m not trying to sell you anything, either. I’m just trying to connect to some interesting people. And I have. Mission accomplished. Though my Twitter roster and blogrolls are small, it’s the quality that counts. (You’re quality, baby!)

I understand everyone has a different opinion. A particular person started following me on Twitter about a month ago, so of course I wanted to be kind and follow back. She seemed a little rude and demanding and didn’t typically respond to messages unless she talked to you first, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt because some people don’t understand their typed words are being perceived that way. Until one day, shortly after I tweeted my recent blog update, she blasted out: “People, if we don’t talk, I’m not going to click your link!”

Which is pretty funny, because she is one of those spam-followers and I did try being friendly. And if you’re going to follow people you don’t want to talk to… Needless to say, I unfollowed her and gave myself a stern talking to about not acting like a selfish little twerp. And I try not to. If anyone has taken the step to follow me, I make it a point to get to know you a little. That’s why my “social media growth” has been slow and steady. Small numbers.

With that said, I received an incredibly nice surprise this week:

Isabelle Gregson gave me the Kreativ Blogger Award! I met Isabelle on the She Writes forum not too long ago, and I’m happy that I did. If you’re looking for a lady who successfully mixes class and hilarity, Isabelle is a great person for you to get to know. Click her name if you want to check out her blog. (Check it out!) Isabelle has a lot of friends and connects with a lot of people, so to be called out among the throng was beyond flattering.

Now I’m supposed to pass this award along to 10 other bloggers. The problem is that I really don’t know that many yet, and doing it all in one shot would exhaust all the blogs I know. So I’ll give one award away per month until all 10 are gone. Hopefully that’s okay. I’ll spotlight that blog in a separate post, so stay tuned for next week when I give out the first award.

And now I’m supposed to tell you 10 things about myself. I suppose that’s like an acceptance speech, of sorts. So here we go:

  1. I’m a classically trained soprano (nearly 10 years of private and choral vocal training).
  2. I prefer alto, but I was never allowed to sing it until I got into college. I tried out for some prestigious college choirs as a soprano and didn’t make it. So I joined a different choir and auditioned for all of the alto solos. I got them all. Every single one. After our choir’s first performance (and all of my smashing alto solos), every choir director that turned me down was banging down my door and chasing me in the halls, begging me to join their choirs. I turned them all down. Ha! My snootiness knows no bounds!
  3. I hate carrots. They taste like dirt.
  4. My biggest pet peeve is having wet socks. Second biggest is hole punches all over the carpet.
  5. I play World of Warcraft on Fridays with 8 drunk Canadians and 1 drunk Hawaiian.
  6. I play GURPS on Sunday nights with friends I’ve had for over a decade, but have never met in person.
  7. I led worship in various Vineyard churches for over 20 years. For the uninitiated, this means a full band, not an organ and some stale, old hymn books. Last year, I even guest led at a church that had a flutist. It was pretty badass with the electric guitars.
  8. I would someday like to record my own album. Right now I just have too much going on while I write books, so that aspiration is on the shelf, waiting for me…
  9. Favorite phrase: “It’s all relative.” Because Tom has a degree in philosophy, and whenever I say it, he goes cross-eyed and he gets really annoyed. I like to say it a lot. (Coincidentally, my least favorite phrase is “It’s all relative,” because whenever someone else says it, I have to hear all about it when we get out to the car.)
  10. I am currently working on an ongoing blog series of “Choose your own adventure” type stories — shorts that end in a few choices, and everyone can vote for what happens next. The stories will be based on the MUD we’re working on.


I can’t think of a good way to end this post except to say you’re all fabulous and I’m having a great time connecting. Stay tuned for next week when I award the first Kreative Blogger Award!

Published by Jen Kirchner

I write funny things.

4 thoughts on “Social Networking and Me (and You)

  1. Hi Jen. Congratulations on your award.

    Great point about social media being a baby. I know my friend and mentor, Kristen Lamb, was hesitant to call herself a social media expert when other people labeled her with the title. She was very successful in marketing before she became a writer, and she transfers that experience to social media. I can’t attest to other peoples’ experiences, but her methods have worked well for me so far.

    Very cool that you’re so comfortable with computers. As an older person, I’ve been slow to acquire a taste for online anything. However, like you, I play World of Warcraft at times, and that really does loosen a person up to these things. Enjoyed your post.


    1. Hi Piper! Thanks for stopping by. It’s a nice surprise to see you here.

      I know of Kristen Lamb. She actually introduced me to you on Twitter. You probably don’t recall that because you have a gazillion Twitter followers. Slow growth allows me to remember everyone I meet. I’m really glad that she’s helped you reach out and get your name out to folks. Twitter can be a wonderful place, and I’m thankful to have met so many people, like you, who make social media worthwhile.

      With that said, I’m not totally convinced that social media sells books. Yes, it’s worked for Kristin Lamb because she is selling social media to writers. She even has a very easy (yet politely firm) way of getting people to spread her name around. I have a background in marketing and sales, too, so I appreciate her methods — which work for her since, as I said, she’s selling social media to other writers.

      I looked online to see what books you are selling, but I didn’t see one. From your Tweets and our random little chats, I know you’re working hard on one, but I assume yours isn’t out yet. Once it is, I would love to hear your experience on whether or not social media worked for you. Right now, I’m still trying to figure out what’s best for me. I think I subscribe to a philosophy somewhere between Kristin Lamb and J.A. Konrath.


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