Tag Archives: Facebook

Channels of communication

Mary Ann Clarke Scott, photo credit J ScottPhil: Is it still, “Good to talk“?

Apparently not, or at least that’s how it appears to me.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t communicate.

In my job, I spend a lot of time chatting to people but that isn’t always in person. Where possible, I like a bit of face-to-face chat but nowadays we are all so reachable that it makes up a small portion of my needs. Thinking through the channels I use for work, I came up with:

  • Telephone
  • Texts
  • E-mail
  • Facebook
  • Facebook messenger
  • Skype
  • Twitter

Candice also does a lot through LinkedIn messenger – and of course we both have work and person e-mail addresses. That’s 9 options, 10 if you include my favourite, sitting down over cake.

I thought technology was supposed to make things easier!

Instead we all have to manage all of these, guess who will be using each one and try not to duplicate messages on different channels. And we rely on them working all the time, recently my e-mails from my personal address to work stopped working and it was a week before we realised this was why there were no replies and another week to fix it.

It’s all very confusing. Maybe we were all better back in the day when arranging lunch with Candice I’d have dispatched an urchin bearing a card that read, “Mr P Parker requests your attendance at the Flue and Flaggon at half past the midday hour on Tuesday” then awaited the delivered by another urchin.  Doubtless I would have had to tip him with a small coin but at least I’d be spared the ping of another message flying in to one of my many in-boxes.

Is there a simpler way?

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Now the hard part: Selling the book

BuyNowPhil: On Tuesday, Candice was wondering what to do next once we’d finally pitched the book out into the big, wide, world. I feel the same way. We’ve been talking about this for years and now it’s done.

Trouble is that writing novels is full of hardest jobs.

  • Stitching enough words together to tell a story – Check
  • Polishing those words so the readers can enjoy them – Check
  • Publishing the words so others can read them – Check
  • Persuading people to buy the book – THAT’S the next job

Writing a book is a very personal experience. You live with your characters and story for years. Eventually, you decide they are ready for other people to see. At this point the project is massively important to you.

To everyone else, it’s just another book vying for attention on the ever crowded shelves of your local electronic book store.

We’ve pushed this on Facebook and Twitter. People have said nice things but the challenge is to turn those nice thoughts into sales. For example, one of my Facebook posts showing the cover quickly picked up 20 “likes”, but if everyone who liked it had bought a copy then our sales would be greater than they are.

I understand the problem and can sympathise. Hitting the Like button is easy. Going through the purchase process is fiddlier and time-consuming even if you are minded to hand over a couple of quid to your friends to find out what they’ve been talking about all this time.

Advertising people talk about OTS – “opportunities to see”, a count of the number of times someone is exposed to an advert. 5 exposures are (apparently) required for reasonable impact on the average person. Another 2 and you have a chance of changing behaviour, in this case making a sale.

So all we need to do is keep beating people over the head with the book and it will sell?

Possibly, but as we are both pretty selective about our social media contacts, at least on Facebook, there is the dilemma that the more aggressive you become, the greater the chance of spending your life lonely and living with cats rather than people.

Basically, we need to market this so we keep all our friends but still sell some copies. Over to you Mrs Marketing…

Oh, and do go and buy the book from Amazon or Lulu.com

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How social media has changed the world

Candice: I went to a wedding reception this weekend.  I have known the bride for years as she and I met over manicures and then have become friends.

When I got married seven years ago, the bride was the one who did my pre-wedding prep: nails, massage etc etc. I can still see the room, remember the conversations and feel the slight shell shock that my wedding was the next day. So it was nice to join her on her big day all these years later.

However, it was also interesting to see how things have changed.  Just after I go married was when I joined Facebook as I wanted people who hadn’t been able to come to the day to see the pictures.  However, there were lots of people who weren’t even on Facebook so this just covered a few of our friends.  I waited a few weeks for the professional photos to arrive and then posted a select few.

Seven years on, within hours of the event, I could watch footage of the speeches, first dance and see photos from across the day – all through Facebook. And still they come.

It is the thing now to take pictures and record your life through social media.  I am only on FB and Twitter, forget Instagram or anything else, I really don’t have the time.  We came back from the wedding and had a few nice photos of us which have been posted.  What did we take them for ?  Record for ourselves of how we have changed and for posting on Facebook.  The picture is unlikely to get printed or put in an album.

To be honest I am not sure how I would feel about my private function getting a public airing. Some things are meant to be between you and your friends.  But as someone who didn’t go to the whole day at least I can join in the fun.

The same can be said about our book I suppose. I am nervous about the point where it is out there, as there is the opportunity to critique (something no one would do publicly with a wedding photo) but for people to read it it has to have its day in the light.  Roll on Christmas (or maybe not…)

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Real friends

FreindsPhil: Last week, Candice mentioned her love of social media. The joys of being able to contact an authors whose book you have enjoyed directly and tell them.

All this is fine but it does create problems. For a start, what about people who don’t like your book? How is it to be bombarded by criticism?

You can say, “Well I don’t take it personally” but that’s got to be almost impossible.

The problem is the intermingling of public and private persona’s. Nowhere is this more of an issue than Facebook.

In my own field, I am mildly famous. I blog, I write for magazines, I turn up at exhibitions where people come and talk to me. All this is part of the job and absolutely marvellous.

But, because of this, lots of people have requested that they be my friend on Facebook. Currently there are 18 awaiting acceptance, none of whom I have met as far as I know. Once this started happening, I made a rule that if I don’t actually know you, I don’t accept you as a friend.

Facebook is where I keep in touch with friends and as I’m not a 12 year old girl, I don’t gauge my life by having a stupidly large number on-line. I like to think that everyone on that list is someone I could go for a drink with. Someone I actually remember meeting more than once for a start.

Those who randomly get in touch are probably lovely people but I can’t be sure they aren’t axe murderers. As such, I don’t want to accept them. Discussions, jokes and anything else shared on-line is to be shared with like-minded people, not just random bods who got in touch.

In the future though, is this going to be an option? Once The Book is published, how do we deal with all the people who will then want to be in touch?

Do we have two groups of people – real friends and professional friends (fans?) and do we both need two sets of personality on all social media to divide the two?

Is it time for Nolan Parker to become a real (virtual) person and sign up for Faceybook and Twittier?

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When did Facebook become a card?

Candice: I celebrated a Birthday recently.  Not a momentous one, just an average, run of the mill birthday.  But hey, it happens at the same time every year and still people manage to forget it.

But I think these days its become so acceptable just to message people on Facebook they think its OK not to bother sending a card.

Now, the other half and I, we like sending cards.  It’s the picking and writing that makes the difference, as well as having a nice collection of them on the mantle piece to say – hey wasn’t that a funny one, or thats a cute cat, something else than just a ping on the web.

Sometimes it goes too far the other way and you  have social media and text going mad, and I never know whether the etiquette is to reply to each one or a blanket note will do?

However, the other joy of cards is often the messages inside.  Most of just write ‘Happy Birthday’ and sign.  But some go the extra mile and add a personal message that can make the difference.  It just as good to get an off the shelf card with a personal message inside as it is to get a quirky card.

I think, as we don’t write as much or post as many things we have lost the art of putting together a good card.  Some times Christmas and birthdays are the only times I communicate with people so it seems a lost opportunity not to add in a note.

So next time you think a Facebook message will do, think again, as that personal touch will often give someone a smile that a poke won’t.

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Life’s too short

PaulWalkerEdit-1.jpg
Candice: I’ve been struggling to think of something to write for this blog.  I haven’t read anything new – apart from Grazia magazine and the ScrewFix catalogue (an occasionally the Mothercare catalogue but that is too scary), so I can’t blog about that.  I’ve not read anything writing related in the news I can comment on.  I’ve been to see Doctor Who at the cinema, but that was over a week ago and I don’t want you to be put off by too much Doctor Whoing in this blog.

However, I woke up on sunday morning and read something shocking on Facebook (the source of all information these days).  The star of a film franchise I enjoyed, had been killed in a car crash.  I’m sure you all know who I mean – Paul Walker from the Fast and  Furious series.

For those of you out there who are big fans, don’t rip my head off, but he wasnt the worlds greatest actor, and these weren’t Oscar winning films.  But, and I say this about the last one in particular, they were good fun!  I really enjoyed Six as it had its tongue firmly in its cheek and had a story, some puns and some fun (though not enough topless men in my book).  So I was surprised to read that he had died in a car crash, somewhat ironic considering how he had made his money.

This isn’t an obituary, I didn’t really know anything about the guy apart from the fact he was a reason to go to see a film as eye candy, and I usually enjoyed films he was in.  Reading Wikipedia he had his hand in other things including a charity.  Good on him. In fact it makes me laugh the people who posted comments after he died that made it sound like there were best mates but could only know him as I did.

However, the guy was only 40.  1 year younger than me.  And now he’s not around any more.  Phil and I know we have both been crap recently with writing.  He’s got a fancy new job and I have been drowning in house and baby stuff.  But its times like this that you think,  I might not be around tomorrow.  So come Jan 2nd when I have a potential three weeks of free time I’m on a mission.  In between painting sessions I’ll be pushing my writing mate to get those submissions out to Agents and seriously looking at self publish.  Else it will be this time next year and we still wont have done it!

And that’s a promise.  And I might just consider slowing down in my car too…

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Information overload!

Candice: Does anyone find the multiple forms of communication out there a little over whelming? I’ve found recently that I am struggling to deal with the number of ways people can contact me.  Currently I have:Stressed : stressed woman with telephones in her hands. isolated on white

  1. a Linkedin account
  2. Two business email accounts – for my company
  3. One work email account – for where I am currently working
  4. a Twitter account
  5. a Facebook account
  6. Text
  7. Mobile
  8. Home Phone

Writing it all out like that makes you realise just how many ways there are to be contacted or get in touch.  Help, I’m drowning in over communication.

Obviously I have a Blackberry to keep an eye on my personal stuff but have taken to emailing friends and family from work as I seem to be constantly keeping up with things – ‘have you answered that text/email?’  I get home from work and that last thing I want to do is answer the phone or log on.  And then, of course, there are the blog posts to maintain.  It’s hard because I am still maintaining my business while working this contract, as well as trying to keep my Twitter and Facebook life active (as marketing experiment as much as anything else) and keeping an eye on extra’s working coming through, ’cause if you dont jump on it quick you don’t get the job!

The other half even said to me earlier – I have to get BBM as my friend in Dubai only uses that else I cant keep in touch with him.  WHAT!

Phil and I have recently had some feedback on our short story submission (more details to follow soon) and I read that straight away, thus putting a damper on an afternoon when they didn’t tell me we were the next JK Rowling.  If I hadnt jumped to that email there and there I might not have ruined my afternoon!

So I’ve decided to take a bit of a sabbatical from the bleeping red light on my phone.  They used to be called ‘crackberries’ and I can see why. I also read somewhere that we are now struggling with a syndrome where we actually feel ill if we can’t look at an incoming message or text.  I know the feeling, I got one during dinner last night and you are itching to read it while eating your dinner.  How sad is that.

So I’ve decided when it comes to my personal emails that I am going to be checking them less often, lunch breaks and convenient times not all the time.  Twitter, well that’s more addictive than Facebook so I am dialling that down for a while too, else I seem to spend most of my evenings retweeting things.  The pull comes when someone answers your question – I find that little blue bird more addictive than the bleep or a text.

It’s all about self control I think, teaching yourself not to reach for the phone every time it makes a noise or the light flashes.  Otherwise, one will go slightly insane!

As the American’s say ‘Timeout’

How do you find it in the modern age?

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