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Life in Internetland: An Update

I thought it might be interesting to catch you up on what is happening to me in Internetland. Those of you who read Café Talk on a somewhat regular basis might remember that I hooked up with a social media consultant last year. One of the things she stressed was that I needed to “build my Twitter platform”, her words not mine. The reason is simple. Twitter is about big numbers. Whenever you tweet something, approximately 1% of your followers are on line and maybe 1% of those actually read the tweet. If you want to engage people in your writing or business, you need a lot of followers. Simple.

As I write this I have 17K followers on Twitter. That’s a good start. I’ve tweeted 1,403 times. If a tweet receives, say, 1000 “Impressions”, it may only be retweeted 20 times, and the number of people who actually click on any link you included is even less. So obviously, the more followers you have, the more Impressions, retweets and hits.

I tend to seek followers among other writers, but not exclusively so. I have also focused on travelers, just because I have enjoyed travelling. The more followers you get, the more followers will come your way. I’ve noticed that I get “waves” of categories of followers. For a while I got pornographic followers for a while and then it stopped. I am presently getting Christian fundamentalist followers. Why? I have no idea. Of course, I get a lot of writers, like me. The majority are women who write romance novels, followed by men and women who write sci fi and fantasy. I suspect social media lends itself to entertainment rather hand literature.

Twitterland can be very impersonal. A lot of people have automatic responses. Some people always retweet my tweets and I assume that is a robot response. Also, you can send people Direct Messages on Twitter. I get a lot of robot DM’s. Most of them I immediately delete. I get a lot of requests to “Like” Facebook Pages. More than not I do and then ask the same of them. I’d say about 65% of people never return the favor. You  can’t take it personally, that’s for sure. But in an effort to personalize the experience, I’ve started contacting people asking if they would like to write for The Back Road Café. So far that’s working out, but more about this below.

I have 239 Friends on Facebook and 1,091 Likes on my Facebook Page. The Facebook Page is specifically for my writing, and I guess my Facebook Wall is for my ranting about how horrible politics is in the U.S. I’m not very good at posting on the Facebook Page and my social media consultant would not be very happy with me if she knew. More than not, the Page points people to my website, as do most of my Tweets.

The Back Road Café still remains fun and continues to thrive. My main contribution is my blog which I call Café Talk. I have a pretty loyal following, which is rather nice. Not huge, but loyal. Over recent months have been contacting followers on Twitter, asking if they write short stories and/or have a book that I might highlight on the site. So far three people have responded and I’ve really enjoyed the interaction I have with them (one from Kansas, one from Ohio and one from Orkney). In addition of publishing their stories and updating them on the stats associated with their story, I’ve had some pleasant email communication with them. I now have a fourth person considering publishing on the Café and a travel blogger who had agreed to begin a weekly blog, with photos of course. All this is good for the site – more variety of writing and more readers. All in all, a lot of fun, interesting people, and some good reading. It does personalize Twitterland, but in my experience, you have to make the effort.

I started all this – Facebook, Facebook Page, Twitter – to push, and maybe sell, my books: Notes from 39,000 Feet (nonfiction); Dis-Ease: Living with Prostate Cancer (nonfiction); Alien Love or Thank You Alpha Centauri (fiction); and The Woman in White Marble (fiction). Did it work? Well, I’m not rich and haven’t been invited by Oprah to be on her show. On the other hand, I’m confident that all this social media palaver hasn’t hurt. As soon as one of my books goes viral, I’ll let you know, and that’s a promise.

Copyright © 2015 Dale Rominger

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