Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Social Networking - Splash and Splatter - by Morgan Mandel

We had another snowstorm over the weekend in the Chicago area. I was not happy about it, even though I should be used to it by now. After all, we seem to get one at least once a week this winter.

Yesterday morning, it got a bit warmer in Downtown Chicago. So, here I was dodging puddles and those scary slippery, mushy spots that happen after a snowstorm and a slight thaw, making my way, balancing my purse and tote bag on the left shoulder and my laptop computer on the right, scurrying as best I could to my day-job where I work as an administrative assistant in a law firm.

I wasn't doing too bad. Only a few blocks to go when suddenly out of nowhere on the street across from the sidewalk, a truck came roaring through, splashing everything surrounding it, including the nearby sidewalk. The spray came way too close. The vision of mudwater splattered all over my coat did not seem appealing. Thank goodness, I just managed to escape that fate.

Though I'd had a narrow escape and did not get splattered, the incident did get me thinking. Social networking is all about splashing and getting splattered. We make friends and join networks, listservs and sites, making large and small splashes, hoping to attract attention to ourselves and our books. How we do it depends on our personalities, as well as how well we learn from the experiences of others. We can be subtle or blatant, depending on rules set up on the various groups, sites and listservs and how much we pay attention to them.

While we're out and about splashing our way, we need to be prepared. We will inevitably get splattered by promotion from the other authors out there. We can side-step if we're not interested in what they offer, or we can happily get splashed and dive in, becoming a part of their lives, promotion and books.

I enjoy social networking and spend lots of time participating. Still, given my day-job responsibilities and the fact I do have a loving husband and a rascally dog named Rascal, I can't realistically spend as much time and effort bonding with the many authors as I'd like to, no matter how much I try. That said, what I do is pick the ones I really, really like or seem the most helpful to me, then respond and bond with them, willingly getting splattered by their joys and disappointments, immersing myself in their author lives, books and advice.

Everyone is different. It's for you to decide, as you wend your way social networking on the Web, do you want to splash, dodge, get splattered, or all three?

Remember, the more you put into it, the greater the return.
I'm on my way to getting splashed again!
Morgan Mandel

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