Connecting – How to make it meaningful

When you’ve finally got something to say, be it via a blog, a book, a tweet, or a Facebook post, how do you make a meaningful connection?  There are so many instances I see of someone throwing words out into cyberspace, and then letting them fade away.  Like a shout into a noisy room.  Those who hear it turn to look, but if you don’t follow up with more, they soon turn away and go back to what ever they were doing in the first place.

No, I do not advocate shouting everything.  That’s where the meaningful connections come in.  A few of the people who initially turned to look your direction when you first spoke actually are interested in what you have to say.  The rest?  Let them keep talking among themselves.  Sooner or later, something they say, or something you say can bridge the gap between you for a while.  For now, focus on the ones who turned to you first.

Talk to them, get to know them.  Find out who they are, let them find out who you are.  It is a give an take.  You don’t have to be come fast friends.  But you are walking paths that parallel the other for a while.  Help them to be comfortable around you, while you let them help you be comfortable around them.  Enjoy the cycle of getting to know someone.

In the specific, let’s break down the platforms I’ve started trudging up the learning curve on.  I am in NO way an expert, so if you have other suggestions, please feel free to leave them.  I’m always eager to learn more.

  • Twitter – The main feed can be a bit intimidating.  So, use it to skim for anything interesting, but don’t plan on spending a whole bunch of time here.  Set up lists, and use those to keep track of people you are interested in.  If the lists get to be unwieldy because there is too much going on at the same time, then make another list to help filter the content.
    • Once you have the lists, add people to them.  Then, interact.  That’s all it takes.  If you see something that you want to comment on – comment.  If you get a reply, then converse.  Frighteningly simple right?  Yeah, I thought so too.
    • Keep an eye on your notice tab.  Right now, because I am growing a follower platform, that’ where I see the most useful information.  For now.  Others state that the lists will take over as they grow.  But, to find new interactions, new connections, the notice tab will remain important.
  • Facebook – Personal or business?  I have seen a huge growth of Author’s pages and business pages.  Sadly, so has Facebook.  In reply to this, what used to be considered a “fan page” has fallen under close scrutiny.  While it is still a good idea – from what I have read – the likely hood of the fan page being a big draw is rapidly dwindling.  I know with my own page, and the few folks who follow it, I rarely see my own posts.  Yes, I post something to the page, and I never see it show up on my own news feed.  So, how to build a good, meaningful network on Facebook?  At this point, the best I can suggest is to set up a fresh page for your work.  Not an Author’s page appended to your own personal page, but something that will live or die on its own.
    • Once you have the page set up, then follow the suggestions for twitter.  Get your interest lists set up, and start talking.  Be yourself above all else.  Facebook does not have a limited number of characters, so if you like to write long posts – write long posts.  If you like to keep things brief, keep them brief.
    • One thing with Facebook – use complete sentences!  Nothing drives away followers faster than using txt sp w/ a pltfm that lts u wrt ppr wds.
      Yeah, irritating isn’t it?  Do your self a favor, and don’t write like that.  Not everyone wants to puzzle out what you are trying to say.
  • Blogs – I am still such a newcomer to the blogosphere, I don’t dare say much about that.  The audience is slowly growing.  In all honesty, I am beginning to feel that the blog is a good repository for story ideas, and the big stuff that would be buried on Facebook for me.  (working chapters, character back stories, and tools I want to go back to.)  The blog does not get flooded as fast as Facebook, and is a still pond compared to twitter.  So, if you have something you want others to see, read, or think about, then the blog is a good place to put it.
    • If you get comments (which are always appreciated) try to make sure to reply to them.  Just because you visit your site once or twice a week does not excuse you for ignoring replies.  Answering your comments, even if it is a simple “Thank you for the visit” lets your readers know you are a human.  And, it helps them feel appreciated.  Ignore that interaction at your own risk.

So, what is the final take away?  Twitter is a live environment- it moves fast, and offers the most interaction for the shortest amount of time.  This is a great place for first contact, and can be used to help point people to your Facebook page and/or blog.  Facebook does not move as quickly, which lets you express yourself in greater depth.  It also allows your followers to interact with you in a more lasting way.  Use Facebook to point people to your blog and to your twitter connections.  The blog is the slowest point of contact.  But, it allows you to express yourself to your fullest.  While the blog may not do much to point people at your Facebook or twitter connections, the information can be fed through to these accounts, which will help draw people from those platforms into your blog.  Yeah, the blog is the focal point, the big draw if you do things right.  However, unless you have those meaningful connections, attracting people to it doesn’t do you much good.  At least, that’s what I’ve experienced so far.

What has your experience been about your social platforms?  I look forward to hearing back from you.

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