I didn’t really want to end the week on a somber note, but I wanted to share about my communication style, because this is part of what I think about when I manage careers (both mine and John’s) online.
Social media is great and it definitely has its uses. More and more I’m finding that casual conversations with “experts” are invaluable to writing research, as I dive into the wonders of virtual reality and economic instability for a story. Connecting with friends and family, also great.
What’s not so awesome, is the fact that social media was never designed with a celebrity or a creative professional in mind. I have very deep concerns about lines like this:
“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.” — Facebook Terms of Service
That doesn’t mean I think Facebook or Twitter or any other site out there is “bad.” What this tells me, is that these sites weren’t constructed with creative professionals (who craft their own content) and celebrities (whose image is their office) in mind. Content is invaluable to these services, but it’s the foundation of my career and many others. I have to be careful about where I publish anything online because to some publishers, posting a story on a website may count as “first time publication rights.” I have to be careful about what I post on Facebook because long-term? As my career continues to evolve, I want to ensure that I maintain record of my e-mails and I have a preferred method of conducting business communication for management purposes. Facebook is not it.
Facebook’s messaging system is fantastic for event coordination and the initial reach out — provided you’re contacting someone ON Facebook. But, one can’t archive Facebook messages or automatically transfer them to GMail. There’s also a question as to what/how you can upload (your content) to share via e-mail and what happens after that message is out of your hands, how to categorize/label it for record-keeping purposes (e.g. you can’t) and what the legal ramifications are if you do use the platform’s e-mail to conduct a deal and that falls through. The system was initially designed for in platform use; if the conversion to a Facebook.com e-mail domain is any indication, the service realizes how valuable its usage is or could be. I found this gem of an article which puts e-mail in the context of marketing value; incidentally, this is the same reason why the platform continues to make changes to its pages. The article is a little sarcastic, yes, but as we all come to realize sooner or later — nothing is every truly “free.”
Like many people who are public-facing, I have some privacy concerns about mixing personal time and pleasure with business. I’m no celebrity, mind you, but I have enough visibility and long-term goals that I want to try things out and continue to mold the business. To some extent, I’ve given up on pouring efforts into Facebook because I’ve seen and experienced significant financial/traffic/usability drop-offs as Facebook moves toward a pay-to-play environment. My motto with Facebook now is: if it (going viral) happens? It happens. I still use it, yes, even moreso than Google+, but it’s not as valuable as spending time pouring that same effort into some other way of connecting with readers — like a newsletter, for example. It takes time to build an audience and I think that’s why social media is so alluring, because it promises to be instantaneous without actually being instantaneous. Not to mention, story must come first.
Twitter I use for quick contact, person-to-person communication, getting in touch with people I need e-mails from (funny, but true!) updates, writing research, event/meet-ups, and mini-snippets. I love Twitter, but I have to manage it, because in the past it’s replaced blogging and I’m very bad about following up on favorited links. BAD WRITER GIRL. I don’t make business decisions via Twitter nor do I commit to anything there, partially out of respect for other people, and partially? Because I have no memory. I have multiple e-mail addresses, yes, but everything is coordinated through one service and I have a system in place should I need to retrieve something important. (I’m also working toward getting caught up on my filing, but that’s another story.) We may get the initial interest portion worked out, or I may share what I’m working on, or whatever. . . You know, in many ways Twitter is like hanging out at the bar at a convention. You can have all the bar talk you want, but until it goes through e-mail? It’s not a real business deal.
To some extent, there’s also an “age” factor. I say this with the greatest amount of love and sincerity, by the way, because I don’t feel that this is an “age” factor because of how old people are; I feel this has everything to do with technology levels of experience and when certain elements the user first encountered. In my experience, people who use e-mail to conduct business, proper punctuation and grammar, and follow submission guidelines and basic forms of politeness are taken more seriously. I can err on the side of formality, yes, but I’d rather be polite than risk coming across like a beyootch to someone I’m hoping to do business with and/or get money from. Even so, communication styles also depend upon the relationships of the people involved. (I had a funny conversation with someone about that last week. He asked me: “Why so stiff?” And then blunt Monica came out. And then all was well. But I feel people don’t get to be “at” that friendly/sarcastic/banter level right away. Certainly, there’s something to be said for getting to know someone and ensuring that e-mail tone is appropriately geared. As I’ve learned: e-mail tone is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.)
Anyway, that’s why I don’t use social media for business. It may not be a perfect solution on your end, but it’s what works for me. It’d be *very* easy to spend all day every day managing communication and parsing out personal, business, opportunities, etc. but the more I put that sort of thing first? The less the words flow, and the more chance I have of never getting done what I need to. It’d be different if I had an assistant, sure, but I’m not there yet. Even then, I feel that some things are just too important to be managed by a platform known for baby pictures and Failbook.
- Mood: Oh, so serious. Need to find a cat to snorgle.
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: There was something in my coffee, which now requires me to drink more of it.
Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Stay on Target.
In My Ears: A Japanese title I can’t pronounce correctly
Game Last Played: Tetris
Movie Last Viewed: The Raven
Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press