Menu Join now Search

Social Networking 101

In the past few years, I have become what I call a social networking glutton. But two years ago, I barely had a LinkedIn account. I thought social networking was for young twenty-somethings who had nothing better to do with their time other than update one another with 140 characters or less. But after some careful examination, boy was I wrong. Everyone from CNN to Oprah is using it. See what you need to know.

Recently I went to a Writers Conference and attended a workshop on Social Media. Having over fifteen years of technical experience, I realized that I was a rare commodity in this sea of writers. It was there that I realized that most writers are not that tech savvy. And why should they be? Well for one thing, to help them in promoting their book. But that also begged the question of who else besides writers are not that tech savvy and need to get on the social network bandwagon?

Everything can be accomplished in baby steps, including social networking. If you embraced email finally, you can definitely take these five baby steps to get you into 2010 with social media. Just like email, social networking is not going away, so embrace it. Think of it as a hug that hugs you back. The benefits will be ten-fold.

First and foremost, get a professional head shot. They cost about $25-$60 or you can get a friend to take one for free. (Just be sure that the background is solid and a different color than your shirt.) Why do you need one? Because you’ll need it for social networking. Advice is against avatars unless it’s your logo.

Second, buy your url name. Even if you do not have a website yet and don’t plan on it for a while, if you are serious about your work or cause, you should buy it. It only costs $10 a year to maintain. If your name is common, pick something that makes you stand out and is easy to remember, like You can purchase from any ISP provider such as GoDaddy, CoolHandle, HostGator, but my personal favorite is Moniker.

Third, get a LinkedIn account. Why is this important? Because LinkedIn is an interconnected network of people in your field, hobby, common interests that you can connect with and can help you with your craft or even help you get a babysitter. Be sure to fill out your bio and list what your interests are and list your url to your website, blog or any online published articles about you.

Fourth, start a blog on anything your heart desires. There are lots of popular blog sites to use such as WordPress, eBlogger, and Blogspot to name a few. You can blog on anything you are passionate about and want to write about from knitting to cooking to the environment. Your goal is to build a following, otherwise referred to in the writer world as “platform.”

Fifth, do not be afraid of social media. It will not suck up your time or invade your privacy. Walk through it one step at a time. Plus, follow my blog or check back here next week and learn how with just one click you can update multiple social mediums simultaneously.