True confessions. I’m a dinosaur as far as social media goes. I can break out into a cold sweat just thinking about doing a Facebook update or signing up for Twitter. But I just did. I signed up for Twitter to at least reserve my name for the future. Because two weeks ago, I played to my strong suit, as in learning through a presentation, rather than on my own at home. I attended an excellent SCBWI workshop called “Unleashing the Power of Social Media” given by Greg Pincus, a former screen writer, now middle grade novelist, who specializes in guiding children’s writers through the maze of new media choices.

For three hours, I made myself stay open-minded and listen to how to use social media options. And now I am not as stressed about it. I appreciated how Greg kept saying, “Did I mention these platforms do no good if you are not actually writing?” Yes.

Greg’s key points:

1. Plan a goal for what you want to accomplish by using social media
2. Take advantage of tools that filter your information intake and help manage time (Google Reader and Alerts, TweetDeck)
3. Connect. Comment, update your own status, add to others’ conversations.

I am not ready to deal with number two. I am still working on number one, but I know it is the key. Number three is the most doable, in the sense that I understand now that used efficiently, social media truly can be a wonderful to stay connected with other writers, learn about trends in publishing, even deepen one’s knowledge of craft. It is not real writing. It is easier than deep revision. But I believe that understanding it better has helped inform my choices.

Next semester when I am not posting regularly on this blog, I will try to use that time to follow and comment on three other blogs. I have already been asked to post for Women’s History month in March. This I can do.

I have figured out that one of my hesitancies on Facebook is that I am not supportive of others, as in clicking the like button or commenting on their good news. I hesitate to post my own good news because it feels self-serving when I don’t support others.

What are you strengths in social media? How has it helped your writing career? Or not?