Can you really make personal connections with social media? The Internet and emerging technology have brought an international flavor into my life and I more than like it. I know what happened in my hometown across the continent and to friends in Germany in an instant.
Anxiety about the subway bombing in NYC was lessened somewhat when I saw my friend’s facebook post–she’s safe. The flip side of this news coin is the happiness I felt when I saw a picture of my New Jersey extended family great-nephew two hours after he was born.
I’ve posted, texted, connected, friended, liked, and tweeted. Not all at once. But I’m there for a period of time every day.
BENEFITS OF CONNECTIONS
Those connections are treats for a people person like me. For a writer it expands my connection with other writers, especially memoirists. Social media offers online and international groups to join (She Writes, Story Circle Network, The International Women’s Writing Guild to name just a few) as well as a heads-up on local events in Tucson (Odyssey Storytelling, Tellers of Tales, FST, Writers Read, Unscrewed Theatre, POWER). LinkedIn has allowed me to “meet” writers and paved the way to actually meet writing colleagues.
Two of my current editing clients are thousands of miles from me in Oregon and Massachusetts, but I value the personal connection that has grown out of frequent emails with each of them along with editing exchanges. Massachusetts and I met in person during a summer vacation to New England.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS
An example of a social media treat becoming more than just a snack treat, all because I accepted a LinkedIn request from Mary Havens, a writer in Alaska. We checked in periodically. We tried to meet when she was in Tucson in the summer. It didn’t work. Mary’s book was published; she persevered in keeping in touch and planned to come to Tucson for a few months leading up to the Festival of Books in March. Could we meet? Stick with me here. I invited her to our weekly Eastside Writing Room hosted at fellow writer Bee Bloeser’s home. Small world–Mary and Bee had met at a Writers Meet Up in Tucson.
As a result, we met, in person, which felt like a huge treat for me. This one was fueled by connection, persistence, and for me, a sense of accomplishment. Hey, we did it.
Next up for me–how to connect more than email and online with those guys in Oregon and Massachusetts.
If you’re not posting or liking regularly (at least every other day – better every day), set aside a half hour daily to see who’s out there. I’m at my laptop either first thing while I’m still in my pj’s or later at night. The challenge is to stay on task–read, post. Do not leave the writer’s trail even if one of those “Share if you remember this” posts catches your eye. If you don’t have time to post, an alternative is to speed read and “like,” or post a quick comment.
Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships.