Day 14: Get Social – Google Edition

Day 13 of Robert Brewer’s 30-day writing platform challenge was to link your blog post in Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I did that already. So let’s spring ahead to another online socialization exercise.

Day 14: Start a Google+ account

This has been on my to-do list for months, but frankly the idea of keeping up with one more social network is daunting. Not to mention the unsettling pervasiveness of Google… when your search engine knows who you are and essentially links your online activity with a variety of services, things can get a little creepy. Perhaps I will just give up the illusion of authenticity and just blatantly self-promote.

So why do I feel like I’m being absorbed into a cult?

Well, it’s done now… trouble is, I don’t know anyone on Google+

Except Robert Brewer. Following! Anyone else?

Day 12: Encourage Conversation

A good hostess knows how to keep a conversation going. She presents a topic and invites comments.

That’s sort of like what we do as bloggers – unlike authors, whose work is done and separate from their person, a blogger is right in the midst of their creative work. We draw readers in and encourage them to stay and participate. Interact, if you will, with our writing.

Today’s exercise from Robert Brewer’s platform-building challenge hinges on the second half of this relationship.

Day 12: Write a blog post and a call to action

In which a ‘call to action’ is an opportunity to connect via social media or previous blog posts. Offering readers other ways to engage, beyond this one post that may have randomly popped up in their feed reader. It’s another way of communicating, “Come on in, take your shoes off, have a drink. Make yourself comfortable and tell me about yourself.”

Sit down and visit for a spell.

To read more about Robert Brewer’s writing challenge, and how I was enticed to follow along, take a look at my first post on Day 1: Get Back in the Box

I’d love to have you come see me in the Twitterverse, Facebookland, or LinkedInville.

Twitter: @cortneywrites

Facebook: Cortney Writes

LinkedIn: Cortney Matz

Any thoughts about this post? Leave a comment and join the conversation!

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Day 11: More Sharing

Sharing buttons again! But today we won’t be encouraging others to share our posts – instead, we’ll be sharing posts we like and want to pass along to anyone who may be reading.

Day 11: Find a helpful article and share it with your social network

Technically I have been doing this every day for the last 10 days, since every post I write in this challenge begins with Robert Brewer’s 30-day challenge. But in the spirit of the challenge, I welcome a new opportunity to build platforms and grow in writerly wisdom.

Robert’s reasoning is good; with all this platform-building, it’s easy to take our social networks for granted as a collection of eyes that we must continually put our content in front of. Today is a reminder that our people are well-rounded connoisseurs of content, with a palate for everything from dancing babies to economic projection infographics. Let’s share good stuff of all kinds, not just what we’ve generated ourselves.

Of course, we are still platform-builders, so being a bit strategic in what we share is called for. I’m building a platform to do with writing and storytelling. Specifically, I seem to have drawn a following of writers looking to connect about writing. So I want to share an article that will be helpful to this particular crowd of mine.

To that end, I found a very interesting article in Writer’s Digest’s e-newsletter today. My task is to share it on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (at minimum – linking to it here is going a bit extra).

I was drawn to Brian Klem’s article, 7 Tips for Turning Your Blog into a Book, because I want to do just that. Blogging is an exploratory exercise, and I’ve discovered several story ideas as I’ve typed away at WordPress the last couple years. Maybe not novel material, but certainly a short e-book could be cobbled together from my Except When It Rains series of fiction and also last year’s road trip travelogue.

If you have a blog, there’s a high likelihood there’s a book in there somewhere—or at least the beginning of one. Don’t let that book go to waste. Turn your blog into a book, or “book it,” as author and book designer Joel Friedlander likes to say. Repurpose your blog content into a book.

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Please enjoy these helpful thoughts on blogging with a book in mind, or mining your blog for book content. I definitely did.

Day 9: Tweet Back

I don’t know many of the people I follow on Twitter, so oftentimes I feel I’m tweeting into a vast abyss with no guarantees that anyone will see – let alone care about – what I wrote. So the occasional response I get is hugely gratifying.

Wouldn’t we love to give that gratification to our fellow tweeps? Oh, good.

Day 9: Respond to at least three people on Twitter

So, I hopped on Twitter and wrote back to the first three posts I saw:

@DannyManus Lazy Saturday takes on a whole new meaning when it’s doctor ordered.
@cortneywrites Did it ruin it for you?

@WritersDigest Writing retreat on the Greek isle of Ithaca this summer
@cortneywrites *drooling*

@ASouthernYankee Today I discovered that if you argue with the groceries in your shopping cart, the checkout line magically clears.
@cortneywrites Nice

There they are. My responses. Tweeted them right out into the abyss. No acknowledgment of said tweets has been made in the last 13 minutes, but that’s okay. You know, my readers. You know it all.

If it were easy to build a platform, everyone would do it. At least I have 94 followers, even if they don’t always read my tweets. I guess that is the reason we keep writing… so we have something to engage readers with once we’ve pulled them all together.

Day 3: Get Sociable Part 1

Four new followers today! Wow, this is so exciting. I just got home from lunch and am jetting out in a few minutes, but I will check you guys out soon. Meanwhile, a big welcome to Daniel Postlethwaite, MarriageCoach1, Madmoiselle Gathou, and Mazhar Qureshi!

Today’s step toward building my writing platform is ostensibly done already… I’ve been on Facebook for a few years now, but as I’m reading Robert’s recommendations, I realize I could crank it up a notch. For one thing, my writing page is seriously neglected. I don’t have time right now, but later tonight or tomorrow I will for-sure beef that up. You can hold me to it!

Day 3: Start a Facebook profile

This is a little sneaky, because there are two other blog posts linked within the one on Facebook… which I don’t have time to read right now, but will come back to. For now let’s skip to the “Most Important Things to Keep in Mind.”

Here are the most important things to keep in mind:

  1. Use your real name. Check!
  2. Complete your profile completely. Hmmm… my profile is pretty bare bones. I don’t like to talk about myself that much, and posting all my likes, dislikes, job history and voting preferences cut pretty close to the Day 1 “Define yourself” challenge/phobia. But I will take this under consideration.
  3. Use your account regularly. I do use my account, but I don’t post often. Robert recommends posting once a day. My last post was May 16 (today is May 20). Not terrible, but there is definite room for improvement.

In the interest of building an online platform for my projects and myself, the two main goals here are to make me easy to find and easy to contact. So I can see how mentioning something about writing and video production on my Facebook profile could be good. Even better, post my email address!

Things that make you say, “Duh.”

I’m curious what you all think of Facebook. There are a lot of privacy concerns flying around, and as I begin to use it more for business building in some ways, I don’t want to kill all the fun. I don’t want to be hyper-vigilant about what photos I post or are posted of me, for instance.

I also wonder if becoming more public with my profile in any way exposes my friends – if someone looks at my profile, do they then see all my friends’ posts on my page? Probably, yes. And depending on what they posted, that could be weird for them.

So… still figuring this out. Any thoughts from my new and beloved readers?