The other day I ran into a friend at a coffee shop and, in an effort to schedule lunch, she had mentioned to catch her on Facebook. I mentioned to her my experiment, and we worked around it, but the interesting thing was that this led to a discussion about what social media meant to her.
Both of us are authors and both of us are tired of people who use social media to heavily promote themselves. She uses Facebook primarily for the community-related aspects. Facebook has allowed her to connect with similar-minded authors. Since she’s of the same mind I am (e.g. meet people rather than opportunities) she gets a lot out of Facebook because the people there motivate and support her.
When I got offline initially, I talked about how I was inundated with noise and updates. What I’ve missed, though, is the community-related aspects. It’s strange, though, because I don’t really feel I have been using the tools to interact with a community. I used to. Back in the day I was on message boards, forums, LiveJournal, etc. But now? I’ve been using them to interact with individuals I already know, within the gaming and publishing communities, and meet new people. Is that the same thing? Not sure. Add a new element–readers or personal friends–on top of that, and the community gets a bit stranger, doesn’t it? Now there’s multiple communities as opposed to just one.
I don’t miss the noise, but I miss the people. Not sure if that makes any sense to you or not. To me, it’s telling me that some people get online to foster a community around themselves or their own work. I’m not that kind of an author and right now, that doesn’t make any sense. I’d rather take my cue from my readers as opposed to acting like author deity. (Although, I would make a rather smashing literary goddess. Wouldn’t you say? Hah, hah!) When I do get back online, I’m wondering if I should take a look at new opportunities to connect with a community as opposed to looking for new ways to share my thoughts or simply promote.