Day 15: Make Some Friends

The winding Sea-to-Sky Highway

Back from vacation, and on with the writing challenge! Happy Summer, everyone.

We’ve invested some time by now in getting ourselves involved in social networks – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and most recently, Google+ (which I confess I haven’t revisited since). Well, let’s break down the big network of society into the individuals woven into said net.

Namely, friends.

Day 15: Connect with at least three new people on one of your social network sites.

So, where to begin?

Twitter would be the simplest and most straight-forward path – the 140-character profile usually drives users to stick to the important stuff, which is handy when you’re looking for specific interests that relate to your own. And it’s easy to follow said users. And in my experience, 8 times out of 10 said users will follow you back.

Facebook, on the other hand, could be a little trickier. Facebook users tend to be more oriented toward keeping up with family and friends, and depending on the user, could be resistant to connecting with strangers. Then again, depending on how active they are, Facebook could be a lot more  likely to yield meaningful interaction if you’re allowed into the inner circle.

LinkedIn connections used to be impossible to make without a bona fide acquaintance with the object of your socialization. Or at least an email address (if you fibbed and said you were friends), but now supposed ‘friends’ don’t need any proof of friendship, and if you don’t want to be that dishonest, you can just click the option for ‘I don’t know this person’. So chances are, if you rewrite the automatic “Dear blank, I’d like to add you to my network on LinkedIn” invitation copy into something that actually introduces you and why this person might want to know you, it could work out well.

Again, it all depends on how active your prospective connections are on each site.

I’m brand new to Google+ so I don’t even know how connections are made there. Anyone want to chime in on this?

So having weighed all the options, I think I will go with Facebook. There are a few friends of friends I’ve wanted to meet, and this is a good kick in the kiester to give it a try. What’s the worst the can happen? They’re totally turned off by my charming self-introduction and proposed invasion of their Facebook privacy, and forever think black thoughts at the very mention of my name.

Big deal.

Let’s go make some friends!

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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 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 8: Get Linked In

More social media! Facebook: check. Twitter: check. LinkedIn… up next.

Day 8: Create a LinkedIn profile

Robert doesn’t have a lot to say about LinkedIn, other than to recommend getting on it, and then he asked for advice from readers. In my experience, LI is one networking site that seems to have a split opinion. Half the people love it and extoll the multitudinous ways for industrious folk to do business by connecting with friends of friends and answering questions about which they have expertise. The other half is there because they feel they should be.

But now what?

I’ve been on LinkedIn for a few years, and have taken the time to fill out my profile pretty completely. I have 129 connections, 5 endorsements for my work, and when I have new episodes of the chocolate show I post links there.

I’ve connected with a few folks I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and had one interesting email from a cable station (which didn’t go anywhere), but otherwise it’s been a pretty dry fount.

I’m sure it is beneficial for the sake of legitimacy to have a profile on LinkedIn. It’s kind of an online resume with accountability from all your connections to back it up. Plus there are lots of professional groups to participate in, and new job opportunities within your network are emailed to you regularly.

All that to say, I’m on the fence.

Any thoughts? Have you played with LinkedIn and found it a helpful tool? Let us discuss.

Join the link!


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Day 4: Get Sociable (Part 2)

Twitter! Who’s on it? Me… and about 175 million others, depending on whether you count spammers.

Today’s challenge has been done already, so I will use the time to write a story. I’m excited about it. Meanwhile, if you haven’t cracked the Twitter code yet, here is the gentle nudge you have been seeking…

Day 4: Create a Twitter account

Once you do, don’t forget to look me up at cortneywrites!

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?