Monday, 14 January 2008

Facebook and Me

In the very first blog I posted on this site, I complained that I had no idea, when my first novel was accepted by Macmillan New Writing, that it would involve me in enaging with the internet. But, now, I have a blog which is 76 posts old, a website and as of Friday – thanks to Simon Key over at the Open a Bookshop…blog - I am on Facebook. Oh yes. Forty five years old and I’m on a social networking site for teenagers. The Ultimate Frisbee Freak (17) is on but The Bassist (16) despises it and says it’s for wannabees and people without enough friends in the real world.

He may have a point…though he doesn’t exactly eschew MSN.

I have to tell you, I would not have joined if not encouraged to do so by this from Simon:

We'll also be using the site to advertise offers, discuss books, ask peoples opinions on bookshop stuff (I cant work out where the apostrophe should go in peoples, so I've left it out), and also have exclusive facebook book offers which are only available to the facebook members. It can also be an advertising post for people who want to let the world know about a favourite book or their own book!

What publicity-hungry author could resist that? After all, that’s why I’m here in the blogosphere, isn’t it? I’m not so self-obsessed that I think people would want to read about me unless I’d done something interesting. Let’s face, it, most of the cyber-world isn’t interested despite my doing something fairly interesing, ie writing a published novel.

A lot of the people I know who are under 30 – maybe 35 – are on My Space, Bebo or Facebook; possibly all three. People over that age (and contrarians like the Bassist) don’t sign up for social networking, they concentrate their internet attention on email, websites and blogs. There seems to be a digital divide between those of us who think that bite-sized is best and those of us who think that more words are necessarily better. People who have Facebook pages seem (on my minimal acquaintance) to let the photographs, music and video clips which they post speak for them, along with what they and others write on their ‘wall’, instead of overwhelming visitors with screeds of words. Whereas bloggers… well, we are clearly convinced that more equals better. Is it related, I wonder, to the way we were all taught and – more specifically – examined? Most of the exams I remember were essay-based. Make your case in not less than 500words. Persuade me with your loquaciousness. Nowadays, exams are more various and examinees are as likely to be asked to condense what they know into a pithy sentence as to expound it over several pages.

So what am I going to do with my Facebook page? That question presupposes that I'm up to speed with what I could do which, until the UFF and the B return from their Dad's later today, is far from being the case. But i suspect the answer, anyway, will be 'not a lot. The UFF and friends of both the boys of whom I’m fond have started to pop up in my inbox asking if they can be my friends on the site, which I am delighted by, and the UFF threatens to commit occasional cyber-terrorism on my Facebook ‘wall’ but more than that, I’m not sure about, as yet.

I really only joined so that I could be part of the A Decent Bookshop In Wood Green (revisited) group, support Simon and Tim in their very laudable venture and get access to all those people to tell them about Testament!

And I really can't be doing with something else to occupy all my writing time...


Faye L. said...

I confess, I love Facebook, although I don't use mine for book promotion so much as it's more a personal space for me to interact with people I know to some degree. I do enough promoting on MySpace and Blogger, so I need a place to be neurotic and unprofessional!

Alis said...

I know what you mean about being neurotic and unprofessional - sadly that's how I behave in real, non-cyber life!