I try to vary the content of my blog to keep it interesting, but it’s sometimes difficult to know which type of post people prefer.
Should I keep it book related?
Should I post more short stories? (These always seem to be popular but are very time consuming when I should be working on my next novel.)
Should I post writing tips? Since I started writing seriously about ten years ago, I’ve picked up a lot of snippets of information which might be useful to other writers, but not necessarily to readers.
Or should I just waffle?
‘If you’re going to be an author you need to have an online presence. Are you on Facebook?’
‘Don’t be daft,’ I said to my niece, ‘that’s for teenagers, not middle-aged serious writers like me.’
Fast forward about ten years. Facebook is ‘so last year’ and the kids have moved on to the latest oogie-wotsit site, but friends stay on your list, and it’s easy to forget you’ve never met some of them. How weird we might know more about the important things in their lives than we do about actual acquaintances, and even sometimes discover unexpected relationships through their friends of friends.
In my previous business life, networking meant travelling to a meeting once a month to make small talk with representatives of other businesses, and exchange business cards. Now I find it amazing that a post on my blog or Facebook page can receive a ‘like’ from someone I’ve never met, but who comes back to say hello every week. In this long distance technological world, it’s like a neighbour knocking on your door to ask if you are okay, even if it does seem hit and miss who sees a particular post.
At the same time social media can be a goldmine for scammers and bullies. When I receive a friend’s request, I always check out their profile and their friends of friends. I have various interests and often recognise a name from one of my groups. There can be an overlap between local forums, writers’ groups, music interests, ‘mature cheeses of a certain age’ and even third cousin twice removed, or lived next door to your grandma’s best friend.
I’m a little more reticent with the appreciative people who want to pay me X number of millions of dollars either because a) I’m a good person or b) they need my help to administer the estate of someone who the overseas government (normally in Africa) is trying to corrupt, so they are happy to pay me a commission of Y millions of dollars to help them out.
People, people, people. When will you learn? If you are going to scam me, I want payment in good old pound notes! Please do your research. It’s actually intriguing when they throw in typical English names as if they were the chief honcho of well-known British companies. I had to laugh when I googled the very English name they had given as being the top financial director of a UK bank, as if that would validate the transaction. Out of interest I looked up the name of the person who actually held that position. In real life the name is almost unpronounceable and definitely not British.
I’m also on local community sites which can be a mixed bag. For various reasons most of my local knowledge updates are through online news, whether it’s a supermarket or bank closing, a new bakery opening, a charity fundraiser or an opportunity to promote my books. You get to recognise names of who to call if you find an injured wild animal, or need advice. Over time, so many positive posts for a particular company inspires confidence and they might become your first port of call if you need that particular trade. Most of them are genuine, but there have been instances where someone uses friends to post false positive reviews, or others who diss a particular company just because they are in the same line of business. Some of the commentators on social media seem to be only there to stir up trouble, before they retire to their troll habitat to laugh their socks off at the nastiness and havoc they have caused.
What happened to the idea of mutual respect and ‘I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ We are all individuals. We have our own lives, targets and preferences. Something in our history might have swayed us in favour or against a particular subject.
On the other hand, totally out of the blue, I’ve had some unexpectedly lovely feedback this week on various Facebook and other social media which has made me think it’s not a bad old world. Nonstop bad news can be depressing, but hearing things such as a group in Ukraine have started up a new book group in an ‘up yours’ gesture gladdens the heart.
A bit of daft in a crazy world is a great survival tactic. Thanks for being here.