True Gentlemen of Social Media

You know, I really think that Keith Burtis’ momma raised him right.  Time and time again this guy goes above and beyond the call of duty to help out people in need, using his God-given talent to help out those in his community.

Case in point, Dave Delaney. Now Dave is a social media strategist, working in Nashville. He has suddenly found himself without access to a laptop, which is a crummy position to be in when you are trying to woo and impress clients. So, one of the cool things he is doing is selling a one of a kind playing card that was created for his “8000th Tweet” video. You can check it out on eBay. Go, now. I’ll wait.

Welcome back.

Keith Burtis, being the stand up guy he is, wanted to help Dave. So, tonight only, Keith is going to do a live turing and auction of a special piece, all proceeds going to Dave. You can read about it here, and check out Keith on Blog TV here.

It’s amazingly cool to see people like Keith who are so about community, the first thing they think of when they read that a friend is is trouble is “how can I help.” That is what community is all about.

Social Media Sherpas?

I just read an interesting post over at Social Times. The author recommended becoming someone’s social media sherpa, that is, taking someone close to you and helping them navigate the possibly rough waters of the social web. It is well worth the read, and I think the concept is valuable.

Learning to use tools like Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon are not very difficult, but for a first time user, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Having someone to point you in the right direction, even if just for a short time, can be a great assist. I had my own Sherpa, the Duct Tape Guy Sean McGaughey. In turn, I am helping a friend do the same. I helped his set up his blog, RSS feeds, and introduced him to Twitter. He is producing content nearly every day, and is reaching out and discovering his audience. It is amazing to see him become such an active user, and embrace these new technologies.

I also found it a valuable exercise – I had forgotten some basics of setting up a blog. I am working on a soon to be announced project that will use several different blogs, and going over the setup refreshed some tricks and tips for my own use later on. There are possibly of different reasons why this would be a valuable service. So, stop an moment and think – who helped you?  And who can you help?

Won’t Get Fooled Again

In my exploration of social media over the past few years I have signed up to a variety of networks; Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku, Pownce, and MySpace to name just a few. I use them to market my writing, make connections, and catch up with friends. Essentially, I use them to do the thing they were designed to do: connect with people.One of my earliest forays into Social Networking was MySpace. I have been a member of MySapce for a few years now, but I never really did anything with it. Most of my friends are not particularly tech savvy, and while I added a few people to my network, I never really invested much time or energy into it.Facebook, on the other hand, I came to more recently. Although I have been using it for a shorter time, I found it to be more useful; more of my friends were there, communication was easier, I liked the layout, there were a hundred reasons why I liked Facebook more, and it became my de facto social networking site. That it was ballooning in popularity is an obvious statement, and the media made reference to the upstart Facebook knocking MySpace of off it’s perch. MySpace was old and tired, no one went there anymore. Facebook was the place to be. When it came to marketing, spreading the word about my work, I naturally focused on Facebook. It was newer, fresher, more exciting, more people, a wealth of reasons, all backed up by media hype extolling the virtues of this site. But what is interesting is that the hype is not backed up by the numbers.Yes, Facebook is growing at a fast rate, and yes, MySpace numbers have stalled. But, if you look at the stats, MySpace is still on top, and by a huge margin:

I can’t help but wonder why MySpace gets such a hard rap from the media. There has been much written about the demographic of MySpace Vs. Facebook, with MySpace attracting “Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm.” while Facebook attracts “(t)he goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other “good” kids.” MySpace is attracting negative press, and looked at as tired, finished, and no longer popular not because of the facts, but because of the bias.What’s most irksome to me is the fact that I relate much more to the demographic of the MySpace kids vs. the Facebook kids. Those kids are much more my people, and those are the kids that would probably be more interested in the sci-fi and fantasy writing I do. It would appear as though, lead by the media, I allowed myself to follow the herd at the expense of the actual crowds. It’s a mistake I hope I don’t repeat.What factors have informed your decisions in using social media? What attracts you to a site? 

Community has a new Address

I have written previously on this blog about the exciting fate of my first novel, White Trash Land. Although I was reasonably pleased with completing the story, I did little with it. I threw it up on the Internet, and left it alone and unpromoted to wither and die. I never even actually edited the thing properly, I finished the rough draft, went Phew! and continued on my way.

My brother-in-law, the Duct Tape Guy had other ideas. He thought it was a respectable, if imperfect piece, and felt it deserved a bigger audience. He took it upon himself to record the whole damn thing, and arranged to have it released at Podiobooks.com. While it didn’t exactly burn the house down in terms of listenership, it has attracted a wider audience there than it would have otherwise, and the reviews clock in at 4 out of 5 stars, which is gratifying.

I still did not do very much to promote it, but it put me into a community of authors, something I had never experienced before. Over the past few weeks, that community has really caught fire. Many authors use Twitter, the delightful micro-blogging service that not only allows you to answer the question “What are you doing right now?”, but it also gives you an audience for your fears, frustrations, triumphs, and a sounding board for questions. Evo Terra has created a Podiobooks Community over at Ning.com, and authors and listeners alike have been signing up and getting involved in discussions. Authors are helping to spread the word about new works, posting links on blogs, Digging news, and generally helping out in any way possible.

It’s exciting and humbling to take part in all of this. Watching all of these talented authors reaching out, creating a community of people from all over the world has been amazing. I can only imagine where we will be in five or ten years, when all of this social media stuff becomes standard in everyone’s life.