In my never-ending quest to catch up with the 21st Century, I attended a Writers League of Texas workshop this weekend, and it was great. “Social Media 101” was taught by author Shennandoah Diaz, who is smart, funny, and not condescending. She raised my technology comfort level in a way unequalled since Carl Sagan almost managed to explain relativity to me on “Cosmos.”

My career spanned years of breathtaking technological advances for the masses. I was amazed when copiers nudged out carbon paper. Then my IBM typewriter lost out to a personal computer and WordStar. Although fearful of change, I had to make a decision: would I get kicked to the curb of the Information Highway and left for dead, or would I pull up my old lady panties and try to keep up?

Fortunately for me, I took up with my husband at a time when most people thought computers were more voodoo than advance. He was a “systems analyst,” which I spent several years defining for friends and family. First he had to explain it to me, and I dutifully memorized his words and repeated them mechanically when necessary. It didn’t really matter that I didn’t understand what he did; very few people did.

Years passed and technology took over: computer terminals, pc’s, copiers, faxes, scanners, laptops, netbooks, smart phones, and above all, the Internet. As a technical secretary at a high tech research consortium, I encountered the Internet before my husband. At that time there was nothing much on it but researchers and academics sharing esoterica. It’s not like you could turn to it to find the location of the nearest chili dog stand or anything of real importance.  For about fifteen minutes, I was actually ahead of my computer-jock husband on matters technical. That wouldn’t last.

Fast forward to now. I’m a writer. It’s no longer enough to write words for the ages; you have to build a media platform. I heard the other day that some employers won’t consider an interview if you don’t have a Facebook page; Shennandoah said there are lots of publishers who look for your Facebook page before they read your manuscript. If you don’ t have a presence on social media, your work of genius gets tossed, because they want writers who have the wherewithal to sell their books, and nowadays that means Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else rises to the top of the media bog thirty minutes from now.

I feel like someone turned up the speed on my treadmill and left me to fend for myself. If you’re reading this, you know I have a website and a blog. I also have a Facebook page. All of these wonders are courtesy of my daughter, who set everything up for me. Well, after all, I taught her to cook and use the bathroom, not in that order. Turnabout is only fair.

The next step will be Twitter, just as soon as I can deal with the idea that I tweet. It may take a while.

One thought on “Twitter-pated

  1. Janet,

    First of all thanks so much for the kind words! You were a joy to have in the class and I hope o see you again in the future (on more than just Facebook ;-)).

    Second, I agree technology is accelerating at an alarming rate. Believe it or not I remember life before cell phones and the internet. Even though its my job to keep up with it, I must admit it can be quite overwhelming for even the most tech and marketing savvy person. Luckily the majority of people aren’t tech and marketing gurus. Even luckier is the fact that social media caters to authentic people looking to make connections, not to marketers. In fact, many marketers have mucked it up (no names!). So yes its silly to say “tweet” but it also awesome to make connections with someone half way across the world who is equally passionate about writing, or wine, or whatever tickles your fancy. Just focus on what feels comfortable, what you have time for, and on being yourself and the rest will come. You can always learn new tips and tricks to cut down on time and to reach more people, but for now its most important to just be consistent, present, honest, and active. Oh–and getting you’re hands dirty. Its the only way to learn!

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