Shannon Stacey

The Facebook Dilemma (not about the TOS)

Interesting place, Facebook. But apparently authors are supposed to have a myspace or Facebook page and, since I’d rather never eat another Dorito in my life than deal with myspace again, I did the Facebook thing.

I’ve been using it a little while and, to be honest, I still don’t get it. Nothing I’ve seen makes me believe it has any value whatsoever to a writer. Unless, of course, you like to avoid your work by completing 9823 ridiculous quizzes every day. (I was going to do one of them, just for fun, and it asked for my cellphone number. Smoke crack much?)

The thing that’s really weird for me, though, is my friends and my family brushing up against each other there. All three of my sisters have now found and friended me, as well as my cousin who I’m horrible at keeping in touch with, which is why I haven’t deleted the whole shooting match.

One of the funniest things about being “friends” with my sisters on Facebook is the glimpse into the interactions with their friends. We’re a pretty diverse group of females. I’m a 36-year-old social hermit using Facebook because I’m supposed to. Sister #1 is a 30-year-old mother of four who lives in Maine and is enjoying finding old classmates because she’s a very social creature. Sister #2 just turned 21 and lists herself as a Christian Conservative Republican. Dude, how did that happen? It must be having different mothers. Anyway, her friends also seem to be mostly classmates. And Sister #3 is 13 and her status updates have recently included shopping, Eclipse and ice cream.

Anyway, one of my concerns is the…enthusiasm of some writers. You know the ones. She’ll find other authors and friend everybody on their list because having 12,983 friends means you rock and will sell many books! I’m sorry, but I don’t want some m/m/f/f/m/m/m/goat writer for Masquerading as Erotic Romance Publishing friending my 13-year-old sister through me.

Overall, though, I guess it’s just a little weird for Writer Shan and Regular Shan to be hanging out in the same place.

I’ve thought about having two separate Facebook pages, but that’s a pain in the butt I don’t want to deal with. I’ve thought about unfriending everybody but family, but that seems horribly rude and kind of defeats whatever purpose there is to an author having a Facebook page. And I’ve thought about deleting the entire thing because to me it seems like an overcomplicated Twitter and I love Twitter, but my sisters and cousin don’t, that I know of, so I’d lose them.

So I guess I have two questions today:

Have any of you had awkwardness stemming from Writer You’s friends and Regular You’s friends coming together?

Whether you’re a writer or a reader, how do you see that Facebook has value for an author?

23 comments to “The Facebook Dilemma (not about the TOS)”

  1. Charlene
      · February 20th, 2009 at 9:35 am · Link

    I don’t spend a lot of time on FB, I set up the page and periodically go through the requests I get, and respond to comments, and that’s about it. It is a good way to keep in touch with those who aren’t on Twitter. The people who interact with me on Facebook don’t seem to interact with each other. So the friends and relatives don’t really brush up against the publishing types. It’s kind of a handy way to keep in touch with both worlds.

    And you do you know you can look at a person’s profile and not friend them if they have m/m/f/f/goat stuff on their page, right? I do refuse to friend people if they appear to be a porn link.

  2. Shannon
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:02 am · Link

    That’s true, I guess. Probably falls under the “gotta see the product name ten times to stick” rule or whatever that is.

    Now, I have to friend you in order for you to see my friends? Is that right? So like, right now, Writer Shan doesn’t have any friends she wouldn’t take out for dinner with Regular Shan’s family. As long as I keep a tight rein on who I friend, I control who could approach my sisters through me. Is that right?

    That would make me feel a lot better, I think.

  3. Eliza Gayle
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:25 am · Link

    Until recently I had been doing a bang up job of totally ignoring my Facebook page. Then I too was convinced some marketing person that I must utilize Facebook to it’s potential.

    So I haven’t yet experienced the clash on Facebook but over on MySpace my conservative father in law friended my author page. EEK!

    Hope he doesn’t end up regretting that decision. LOL

  4. Jorrie Spencer
      · February 20th, 2009 at 9:41 am · Link

    Well, I have a Facebook page with my real-life name and I’m hard-pressed to see how it could be used as an effective marketing tool.

  5. Shannon
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:52 am · Link

    I’m a registered Independent, which means I can take Facebook advice from either party. :lol:

    I’ll have to look into the groups I’ve gotten invites to join. If Facebook is going places, I might as well try to keep up.

    And I’ll have to ask #3 if her profile is private. I sure as hell hope so, since the little chit has her full name and hometown up there, along with all the clues you need to figure out she’s a young teen.


    I’ll have to have a little chat with her, I think. Maybe intimidate her into giving me her password. :villain:

  6. Shannon
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:54 am · Link

    Oh, and I do have my Twitter fed to my Facebook, but I was thinking of taking it off. I might over Tweet for Facebook, and I could limit Facebook to a few less inane updates per day, kwim?

  7. netti
      · February 20th, 2009 at 9:55 am · Link

    The only thing I can figure is that it gets y’all more exposure. The chance for ppl to get to know you a little better and decide they want to try your book, just because they like who you are (which I’ve heard happens a lot… and have done myself). Gives you more of an opportunity to get your blog out there, again, more exposure/networking. *Shrug* Just my thoughts.


  8. tricia fields
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:04 am · Link

    I only have one Facebook page and it’s for the writing me. I don’t have one for the non-writing me, so I haven’t had a problem with the two bumping together. FWIW, I really don’t get the reason why I *have* to have a Facebook and a MySpace, but I have both. Twitter is much more fun!


  9. Heather Rae Scott
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:16 am · Link

    Make sure that your 13 yr old sister has her page set to private. That way if any of the non-friends you feel safe with try to friend her ( it’s happened to my daughter) they can only see a teeny tiny picture of her.

    I’m having fun reconnecting with old high school friends, but am thinking about starting to not accept every tom, dick and harry soon. Because the emails to do promo things with them, the invitations to play games and what not are starting to get on my nerves. Guess I’ll repeat KT on something I saw she wrote on Twitter. Why promo to other authors? Do they srsly think I have the time to read their books and go to all their promo chats and things? I. Don’t. Should be :rulez:

  10. Karen Templeton
      · February 20th, 2009 at 11:25 am · Link

    I’m loving FB as a means to catch up with old college chums (there are more than 100 of us now , dating back to early ’70’s), and chatting with fellow writers. How much it’s doing for my author self, I have no idea, although I do know I have a few “fans” on FB. But then I don’t think any internet presence is a huge promo tool, really, so there you are. :shrug:

    I don’t transfer my Tweets to FB, but update my FB status separately.

    The “fan page” thing totally eludes me, since you don’t have the capability of updating status, etc. that snags people’s attention without feeling like blatant promo. I’ve joined a few fan pages and then never looked at them again. Same goes for groups. So not really sure how effective they are on any level.

    I’m fairly open about accepting new friends, with the exception of the plethora of Egyptian college dudes who seem to think I should be their friend. Um, no. And the minute you post skanky pictures that show up on my home page, we’re so over. :eyebrow:

    Oh, I block any and all applications. Period. Well, except for Christmas tree and Snowman. I also don’t attend “events,” so, yeah, all that cross-author pollination stuff is lost on me.

    Anyway…I find FB a lot of fun. But as a promo tool, I’m not sure it’s all that.

  11. Jean
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:36 am · Link

    Here’s a few things to consider:

    – You can set up a Fan page (not sure how to do it, but Tamara Siler Jones’ friends set one up for her) and direct (not sure how to do that either) fans to that page.

    – I installed the Twitter app, and my Twitter updates simultaneously update at Facebook — you need to give Twitter permission to update without asking, and I bookmarked it — just so I could check on it I wanted to. If you ever want just a Facebook update without notifying the Twitter universe, too, you can type you update on the Facebook page, and it doesn’t go to Twitter.

    – As for usefulness, I’m starting to see some active discussion on the Suspense/Thriller Writers group. I’m also seeing other groups beginning to tap into the capabilities of Facebook. The potential is there for a much more adult and useful platform than all the stupid quizzes you see when you first join up. They are using the calendaring and inbox capabilities to host virtual events and to notify group members about what’s happening.

    – The Republican Party is trying to learn to tap into this and has made a How-To video for Facebook. I haven’t looked at it yet, but I wonder if it might help newcomers navigate around the kiddie stuff and get to the heart of Facebook’s usefulness? Maybe I should check out the video. Here’s their site where they’ve posted the info:

    At first, Facebook seemed like a slightly more mature MySpace, but as I hang around there, I’m seeing much more potential.

  12. netti
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:37 am · Link

    Shannon, no, I dont’ think ppl who aren’t your friend’s can see your friends, although I don’t know that I’d worry to much about them going after your sisters. From what I’ve seen that doesn’t really happy (and haven’t really heard of it happening)… course there are the stalker types around, but haven’t seen/heard of any *yet* on FB. Just keep in mind if you put your contact information in there (phone # etc) EVERY friend you have or will have will be able to see it… *shudder*

  13. Rhonda
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:41 am · Link

    It took me years to deal with blogs, but hell I like to keep up with people I like so I gave in and figured it out. I’ve actually had a facebook page for years (that is if it’s still active, must check) because my much younger brother – it was a means to keep up with him when he first moved to college, uh, he’s since graduated and married, lol.

    I’m not sure how much a facebook page could help as a writer, but I don’t see how it could hurt, though I’d have some inter-mingling people issues too. Only because I don’t openly discuss certain things with family (you know murder, sex, etc.) that I have no problem discussing with writer friends.

  14. Shannon
      · February 20th, 2009 at 11:45 am · Link

    Hmmm…maybe I’d enjoy Facebook more if there was anybody from school I ever wanted to talk to again.


  15. Jean
      · February 20th, 2009 at 10:48 am · Link

    FYI, I just looked at the Republican tutorial. It’s very basic, but they plan to add more detailed ones later. I did not include the link as a political statement — only because it’s the only tutorial I’m aware of. Since you’ve already set up an account, it wouldn’t do you much good. He didn’t touch on privacy settings in the video, which was one thing I was hoping for.

  16. Jill Sorenson
      · February 20th, 2009 at 12:57 pm · Link

    I don’t twitter and I’m confused about Facebook (virtual gardens? don’t get it) but I like MySpace. Sort of. I’d rather blog-hop than do the social network thing.

  17. Melani Blazer
      · February 20th, 2009 at 3:01 pm · Link

    Er, I think I have a facebook page. I should go… do something with it. I do have a myspace, which is also relatively ignored. I do try to befriend people and usually accept people as friends there, if only for the reason you mentioned, Shan, for the familiarity side of it. To be honest tho, I have a hard enough time keeping up my own site/blog to do much else. But I will go find you and befriend you this weekend. And I promise not to stalk your sister. :hug:

  18. Erin
      · February 20th, 2009 at 3:20 pm · Link

    One way to separate writer you from you you is to set up a Fan page, as Jean recommended. For example, I’m a fan of Hugh Jackman (because he is HOT! Then all your readers can become “fans” of you or your books.

    Or you can create a group. I’m a member of the “Reading is Sexy” group, and have the opportunity to discuss all kinds of things with other people that think reading is sexy. Also, I’m pretty sure that as a group facilitator you can send messages out to all the people that belong to your group. So you can announce excerpts, new book publications. etc/

    Just a couple ideas.

  19. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · February 20th, 2009 at 6:16 pm · Link

    I had a minor clash, when a friend friended a friend, and then one of Friend 1’s friend’s friended Friend 2, then messaged Friend 2 that they were weird. :wtf:

    I also read an article about a guy whose FB got hacked, and the hacker sent messages to his friends that he was stranded and needed help, and sent IMs to those friends, who IMd back thinking it was him, and someone actually did send money. Twice. I can’t imagine anyone I know being that dumb, but…I’d had the FB, deactivated it, reactivated it to see if someone I was looking for was on the FB page my Google Search found, and I’m thinking of deactivating it.

    And I can’t see any possible way I can make effective use of Twitter. :)

  20. Annmarie
      · February 20th, 2009 at 9:12 pm · Link

    I make my FB private. ONLY friends can see ANYTHING on my FB.

    I also LIE to my in-laws about having a FB page. It is so much better that way.

  21. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · February 23rd, 2009 at 9:28 pm · Link

    My FB got hacked this weekend. How’s that for irony? :gaah:

  22. Shannon
      · February 23rd, 2009 at 11:32 pm · Link

    I thought it must have when I got a bad link from you. :hug:

    That’s so frustrating. When my myspace page got hacked after I put a ton of work into it, I was really put off the entire social network thing.

  23. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · February 24th, 2009 at 10:59 am · Link

    :hug: back. It really is frustrating!

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