by Michelle Gagnon
I've gotta admit, every time I get a message from MySpace now (and they're gracing my inbox more and more rarely), I feel a twinge of pity for them. Remember when MySpace was the hot new thing that revolutionized social networking? When everyone you knew was hanging out there? Now it seems like all that remains are a few bands and companies that post ads, spamming my comment page.
I can't stop picturing Tom, the MySpace creator and everyone's first friend on there, curled up in a room alone, wondering what went wrong.
Now I split my time fairly evenly between Facebook and Twitter, posting everything from music videos, links to things I stumbled across and found interesting, and general complaints/observations about my day and life in general. But occasionally I get shout outs from Gather and Google +, which make me feel pretty much the same way MySpace does; vaguely guilty for no longer participating. Seriously, though, who has the time? For awhile there I joined everything that came along, from Linked in to Friendster (remember that one?) But just keeping up with the two that I do use consumes a pretty serious chunk of my day.
A lot of my time on the social networks is for just that- socializing. I work from home, so aside from the occasional UPS delivery, I don't always get a lot of human contact. Facebook and Twitter have become good stand-ins for that. Scrolling through my home page I always come across at least one thing a day that gets me laughing out loud, or makes me think, or gives me a heads up that a friend is having a rough day. I love that aspect of it, that it enables me to stay in touch with people who I would probably lose contact with otherwise, since they live across the country or because we're all just so busy these days.
But to be honest, I'm also on there for the same reason as a lot of other writers- befriending strangers in the hopes that they'll consider buying my books.
Several years in and thousands of friends later, I've really got no idea whether or not the SNs work for that. I've personally bought a few books, thanks to reminders sent by writers whose work I'd already read and enjoyed; but I have to confess I haven't discovered a lot of new authors that way.
So today I have two questions: First, which social networks do you use, and why do you prefer it/them?
And second: have you ever bought a book just because you saw it recommended by a virtual friend?