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  • How Authors And Writers Can Use Social Media For Promotion

    Posted on February 8th, 2012 jean No comments

    I’m reading Chris Brogan‘s book, Social Media 101, at the moment and I came across a great blog post of his while surfing the net. It’s a fantastic list of things authors or writers can do to use social media to their benefit while promoting themselves or their books–without being annoying.

    It is a must read article. Here are a few appetizers from his list before I send you to his blog for the full course:

    Start an email newsletter. It’s amazing how much MORE responsive email lists are than any other online medium.

    Seriously, I did not know that. Yet, I almost always read the newsletters that come in from authors, etc. Makes sense to create one, doesn’t it?

    When people talk about your book, good or bad, thank them with a reply. Connect to people frequently. It’s amazing how many authors I rave about on Twitter and how few actually respond. Mind you, the BIGGEST authors always respond (paradox?)

    I love it when authors reply to my tweets about their books and feel greatly disappointed when they don’t reply. I LOVE twitter for giving a little shout out to published authors. (I can’t wait to be on the other side of that tweet and make some connections and new friends!)

    That’s a little sample of Brogan’s smorg list of 21 tips. Here’s the link to the full article.

    Enjoy!

    And if you have some tips or ideas that you think would rock the social media world, feel free to shoot them into the comment section.

  • Quick and Dirty Social Media for Writers: Social Media Dashboards

    Posted on February 6th, 2012 jean No comments

    Welcome to Social Media Monday.

    Today’s quick and dirty peek at social media tools is about efficiency. Because let’s face it… this social media thing can be a real time sink. You want to use it to your advantage, but you don’t want to spend all day on it. You’ve got writing to do! So, what is an easy way to manage your accounts and update your statuses on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (note: generally you can manage other social media accounts as well)? How do you quickly share a link to that funny writer video, great blog post, or toot your own horn? You use a handy-dandy social media dashboard.

    TweetDeck Desktop

    What is a Social Media Dashboard?

    Basically, a social media dashboard is a place where you can post to your social media accounts from one place. In good dashboards you can see your follower’s updates, post your own updates, schedule status updates for later, create lists, feeds, and more. Your dashboard is linked to all your social media accounts saving you time. You can see all you need to see from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites all from one place.

    Your dashboard can be online, be a handy app, or something you can download onto your desktop, or all three.

    Seesmic Mobile App

    What Are Some Social Media Dashboards?

    There are quite a few dashboards out there and they are all different. Many of them have the basics listed above (give or take a few features).

    Personally, I have tried TweetDeck, SocialOomph, Ping.fm/Seesmic, and HootSuite. Currently, my favourite of the three is probably HootSuite and Seesmic due to the interface (quick to figure out) and the amount of work I can get done from one place. As with everything, all have their flowers, all have their poop.

    SocialOomph Online Screenshot

    TweetDeck, HootSuite and Seesmic allow you to see what your follow folks in Twitter are tweeting which is lovely. You can also schedule updates to be sent out at various times throughout the day or month (SocialOomph is great for this as well).

    SocialOomph has it’s own pluses such as great business features–so if you want more and don’t mind paying, this may be your ticket. Plus, it is a lightweight site which means speed. None of this bogging down like some of the other sites. However, you can’t view what your follow folks are tweeting and reply to them using the free version.

    I haven’t quite figured out the whole Ping.fm thing. It seems like you can only post updates–however, you can send your updates to more social media sites than I’ve ever even heard of! That’s got some pluses to it. It also seems like it is connected to the Seesmic dashboard (same company?) which has the whole gorgeous dashboard thing going on. It is what Ping.fm isn’t.

    In the end, I am flipping between several as I figure out which one will meet my needs the best. So far it is looking like it will either be Hootsuite or Seesmic.

    How Do You Get a Social Media Dashboard?

    Many are free for what you may need as a writer. However, they usually have business plans  that cost a bit per month but have more features. Depending on how you use social media, you may require one of these plans. Or you may not.

    Linkies to the folks I’ve mentioned:

    SocialOomph.com    Seesmic.com   Ping.fm   TweetDeck    HootSuite

     

    Do you use a social media dashboard? I’d love to hear what you think about it. Pluses? Drawbacks? Or as I say, the flowers and the poop.

  • Quick and Dirty Social Media For Writers: Social Bookmarking

    Posted on January 23rd, 2012 jean 2 comments

    For Social Media Monday… bookmarking on the web just got better.

    Okay, okay. It got better years ago. I’m just getting around to exploring its potential.

    You know when you find something great online and you don’t want to lose it? You bookmark that site/URL in your browser, right? And that’s great, right?

    Well, um. It could be better. A lot better. It could be social bookmarking.

    Reasons Browser Bookmarking Is For the Dogs

    • You use more than one computer or internet device (i.e. computer, tablet, smart phone) at home
    • You want to access your home bookmarks at work or vice versa
    • You frequently kill computers and therefore lose browser bookmarks
    • You don’t know how to back up bookmarks or reinstate them after you change to a new computer/device
    • It never occurs to you to actually look for your bookmarks in your browser
    • Sharing bookmarks when saved in your browser is time consuming and difficult

    Tell Me More About This Social Bookmarking Thing

    Social bookmarking is website bookmarking tool that taps into the wisdom of crowds. That is, if you want it to.

    At it’s most basic, sites like Delicious (used to be Del.icio.us and is still a free service), can be a place on the web to privately tack a few URLs you don’t want to lose.

    At it’s most sophisticated, it can be a place where you tack URLs along with pictures, a synopsis, tags, titles, and notes, all organized into a topic ‘stack’ that you can ‘publish’ (which means share with other people on the web).

    A Quick Rundown on The ‘Social’ Aspect

    • You can see how many times that same URL has been saved by other users
    • You can share your links with others who are interested
    • You can peek into other stacks and find more links to things you are interested in
    • You can use tags to search for your interests
    • And, say you have a new writing protege, you could email your links to him/her.

     

    That’s the quick and dirty lowdown on social bookmarking. Do you use it? What do you use? Do you like it?

     

    NOTE: I was contacted by Grazely.com after writing this post and they have built a lovely social bookmarking site similar to what I have described here along with some fabulous encryption additions. So, if you are shopping for a new bookmarking dealy, be sure to stop by their fab site: www.grazely.com

  • Quick & Dirty Social Media For Writers: RSS & RSS Readers

    Posted on January 16th, 2012 jean 2 comments

    RSS. Need I say more? Yes?

    Okay. Let’s get started. I am not a tech god of any sort, so this is going to be quick and dirty. If you have suggestions, ideas, favourites, links, or corrections, feel free to jump on that in the comments section.

    Why you might need an RSS Reader

    If you are like me, you have a pile of tabs open on your browser (currently only 26! Woot, woot!). Some are sites you go to frequently (for me: weather, AQC, Twitter), some are ones you want to keep on top of (those lovely folks who had me over on their blogs last week, agent or publisher blogs, news), others are ones you really should read (articles, links sent by others to check out) and some may be links you don’t want to lose (I’ll talk about how to keep on top of those later in the week).

    However, sometimes you may find you have so many tabs open your browser bogs down or you just can’t find things anymore. What to do?

    In comes RSS and RSS readers.

    What is RSS?

    RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. You may have seen the chicklet on blogs and websites. Basically, RSS is the magic of the geekiest part of the internet working behind the scenes to notify you that new content has been uploaded to the sites you stalk, or wish you could stalk if only you were more organized.

    RSS Chicklet and its buddies
    (If, for example, you were using a RSS reader by Newsgator, you would click on the newsgator button to add the RSS feed to your reader.)

    So, say you want to read all of the latest posts for JeanOram.com, but darn that Jean, her blog posts are posted so randomly! (You will notice 3 chicklets on my blog–top corner is blog, the others by the Twitter feeds are so you can RSS my Twitter feeds. Handy, eh?) How on earth do you know when to go and check to see if there is something new? This is part of the magic of RSS. The other part are…

    RSS Readers (also called Aggregators and Feed Readers)

    Before you start clicking on RSS chicklets, you need an aggregator. An aggregator gathers all those blogs feeds (RSS for those sites you want to stalk/follow) and puts them in one nice little organized spot for you.

    Essentially you have three options. You can use a web-based reader (handy if you want to use more than one computer to check feeds), software you download onto your computer, or a mobile device based do hickey.

    Keeping this quick and dirty, let’s stick to the most basic and common–the web-based RSS reader. (You can Google the others if you are interested or tell us a bit about them in the comment section if you so desire.)

    The top two to hit my radar are Google Reader which I used to use, and Yahoo! Reader which I have now switched to. Why? Because Yahoo is pretty and it is simple. It does not overwhelm me. I found the ‘new’ layout of Google Reader a bit like a laundry list (that looks a lot like my inbox) of things I had to read. Frankly, it was overwhelming having all those blog post titles lined up, bolded because I hadn’t read them, and shouting at me. It felt like too much to read. The old Google layout, and the one I’m using for Yahoo! Reader are a bunch of lovely boxes–one for each RSS feed–and contain the latest three feeds (you can tweak that), as well as ‘candy feeds’ like my horoscope. You can also click and drag all your RSS feed bits around. For example, the blogs I really don’t want to miss out on are pinned at the top of my Yahoo! Reader webpage.

    My Yahoo! Reader Page

    The use of both of these readers are free as long as you have an account–also free. (Free because there are ads, of course.)

    There are a TON of other readers out there. Do a little snooping and see what meets your needs and strikes your fancy.

    Have Reader, Now What?: Putting it All Together

    You’ve got your RSS reader set up and ready to go. Find those sites you want to follow and look on their page for the RSS chicklet shown above. (It may be tiny or different coloured. It can also be completely different. But usually, it is that chicklet in some form.) Click on the chicklet. It will give you an URL (usually ending with ‘feed’) to copy. Copy it. Pop over to your reader. There should be a button that says something like, “Add content.” Paste the link in the box that shows up when you click on it. Voila. It is THAT easy!

    You should now start getting feed from that site. Now, each time there is a new post on that site, it will show up as a link in your reader. (Some readers download all the content (whole post) so you don’t have to leave the reader. On the other hand, some sites don’t allow the whole article to be sent via RSS so you do have to visit the site. However, you now know when to go over there and often have enough info in your reader to decide whether it is something that interests you and is worth popping over to read.)

    I Want To Use RSS for My Blog! How Do I Do It?

    This depends on your site. If you are using Blogger, it is a lovely little gadget right in Blogger. Same with most other blogging applications such as WordPress. A couple of clicks and you have a chicklet on your blog for people to click on.

    Enjoy!

    Questions? Comments? Tips to share? Go for it… over to you.

    (Join me next Social Media Monday for information on Social Bookmarking!)