Posted by: krpooler | March 26, 2011

Sweet Treats,Sweet Tweets and “Strategic Listening”

LIFE’S SHORT, EAT DESSERT FIRST.” A common American  excuse, Author Unknown   

     Yesterday,I had lunch with my friend Christina at The 99 Restaurant, our favorite. Christina and her husband are retired school teachers who travel all over the country and world so our lunch dates are filled with tales of their travel adventures to India, Spain,Australia or bus trips from New York to Texas. She will email me with a quick message: “Friday?” and I’ll answer,”11:30AM @ 99?”

       Christina and I met in 1989 in a small town where she had moved with her two children to work as a Spanish teacher and I had moved with my two children to work as a nurse in the local hospital. We were both single parents with similar stories of failed marriages, strong Christian faiths and hope in our futures. Soon after I moved from the small town in 1996 , I was diagnosed with Stage 4 NonHodgkin’s Lymphoma . Christina traveled to  pray over me as I lay on my couch. We attended daily Mass together when I could. One December morning between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, she accompanied me to the doctor’s office to get a thoracentesis (lung tap) when I couldn’t breathe. Standing by my side, she nearly fainted when the doctor stuck the trocar (thick needle) into my chest wall to drain the fluid. There’s something about having a friend stand by you during the worst of times that makes the best of times feel so special.

     Although we only see each other every few months, we treasure these momentous connections over lunch. And this time, my usually health-conscious  friend gave herself permission to indulge with abandon, justifying that ” I never do this.” She ordered dessert for lunch, a heaping decanter of vanilla bean ice cream smothered in warm chocolate fudge sauce and topped with whipped cream and crumbled Oreo cookies. I sat across from her with my baked Scrod and broccoli entrée watching her dig in – a sweet treat indeed ,seeing my friend delight in her sweet indulgence.     

      As I wade deeper into the waters of Social Media through Dan Blank’s Build Your Author Platform course, I become more aware  each week of what needs to happen  to reach the overall goal of establishing a solid platform from which to dive off and plunge in. I need to be able to swim with the rest of the fish. Eighteen months ago, in October of 2009,I sat in The Writer’s Digest Editor’s Intensive in Cincinnati  listening to  editors,Jane Friedman and Alice Pope  describe the importance of social media in getting published. As much as I hate to admit it, I raised my hand to ask how in the world having a blog or being on Facebook  or Twitter could possibly benefit me. Besides, I didn’t have time for that and I really didn’t care to hear about what someone else was having for dinner or watching on TV. They were very gracious in their responses, but something about the looks they gave me stayed with me. Within two months, in December of 2009, I launched this blog and a few months later, I joined Facebook. It felt like a giant leap of faith as I really had no idea what it was all about or where it would take me.  Wow, what a sweet treat both have been in making connections and finding my way through this evolving and uncertain  publishing world.

     Then in November of 2010 I joined Twitter, reluctant and leery again. I  had been standing on the shore dipping my toes in,still uncertain of how this could benefit me. That is, until I joined Dan’s course. Now I’m loving Twitter! I feel like a kid in a candy store or like Christina, with that heap of chocolate ecstasy in front of her waiting to be devoured. 

     Editor, Alan Rinzler posted this excellent article, “Strategic Tweeting for Authors” on his blog,The Book Deal. He challenged writers to think of Twitter as “the largest cocktail party in the world” where you can” mingle away “with fellow writers, editors, publishers and friends from all over the world. And it’s true. In the span of Dan’s course which started on March 2,2010, my eyes have been opened to all the treasures before me.

    Yes, the sweet tweets are sweet treats.  Once in a while it’s OK to eat dessert first. But just like eating too many chocolate sundaes would tip the scales in the wrong direction, tweeting without purpose will not help me reach my platform-building goals of developing a clear message and brand so my potential readers can find me. I need to listen strategically to the people and messages that resonate with my brand.

     And just as my relationship with Christina was forged through the sharing of common experiences and values and enriched over the years through consistent connections, I need to forge a relationship with my readers in a similar way.  Now,  I need to finish my assignment for this week, to develop a strategic plan for using social media to build my platform.

How is Social Media working for you?

How is your platform growing?

What sweet treats are you indulging yourself in?

What are you listening to and for?

I’m listening~


Responses

  1. Thanks for this post, Kathy, and for the link to Alan Rinzler’s post on strategic tweeting.
    Like you, I have come to really enjoy social netting, but unlike you, I have yet to catch fire with Twitter. When I go to my page, for example, a lot of the time I see retweets that don’t interest me (or put me off) by someone I’m following whom I otherwise like. It isn’t so much like joining a cocktail party as walking into a convention hall where everybody knows each other, except me! And I might walk around that hall making witty or helpful comments, but it evaporates into a huge vacuum-chamber. Lastly, it seems the less time I devote to Facebook or Twitter, the less I need it, and the reverse is also true, but I don’t really have the time to devote! So I feel frustrated, because I think it’s true that it’s a resource I’m not fully utilizing.
    But I bookmarked Alan’s post, and I will try again. Thanks for the kick in the pants.
    And BTW your description of those early days with single motherhood, the horror of your illness, your friendship with C? So rich, so not-overdone yet delicious. The world awaits your memoir, my friend.

    • Lynne,

      I know exactly how you feel about walking into a huge convention center and feeling like everyone knows each other,except you. Twitter can be overwhelming and time consuming but one the things we are working on in the course is developing a plan for “strategic tweeting”-engaging with those who resonate with your brand, setting time limits and a schedule for reviewing tweets and tweeting, unfollowing those who don’t interest you,etc,i.e, hand select who you will follow based on your needs. I never thought I would like it or even want to get involved but I must admit,it has become a whole new dimension of contacts and pertinent information.

      And I certainly appreciate the time element in our already crammed schedules. Here’s a great link to an article about this very topic that I RT @Galleycat: http://mbist.ro/dWKirx

      Thanks also for your words of encouragement about my story 🙂

      Hopefully I’ll see you more on Twitter!

  2. Ditto to what Lynne said! I, too, have been reluctant to immerse myself in Twitter or Facebook. Running my own business, writing two blogs, working on my novels, tending to family responsibilities, and taking care of me keeps me far too busy to add anything else to my plate. Now if somebody could only find a way to add another few hours to our 24-hour days…

    • I hear you Debbie. But I I still have to tell you,it is worth a try and that’s coming from the person who raised her hand in Cincinnati to scoff at the very thought of it all! Like we say in NY r/t NYS Lottery~ “hey, ya’ never know”…

      Come visit me on Twitter:@kathypooler 🙂

  3. Dear Kathy, I was a bit startled to see me in your blog this week. And I feel that I must add a very important detail to your description of my lunch: it all started with a thick layer of (my mouth is watering now) delicious chocolate cake below the generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
    We have journeyed far together. I am so in awe of all that you have done, do, and will do. Our paths are very different now. I am just extremely grateful for the blessing of their regular convergence. Christina

  4. Yes, Christina, you were the featured star this week and the prompt for my post! I love the “blessing of the regular convergence of our paths” too. How could I have forgotten about the chocolate cake? I think I was so taken by the vision of the whipped cream and crumbled Oreos that I didn’t look any any further.:-)

  5. Kathy, I am so enjoying your posts. Not only are they thought-provoking and informative; they are filled with entertaining vignettes about your personal life and written so masterfully. You have come SO far, and I am in awe of all that you are doing. You are such an inspiration both personally and professionally!

    Libbye

    • Hi Libbye,

      So nice to hear from you. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement and support. In case you forgot, you were instrumental in directing me in my writerly path, so thank you. I am thrilled to walk this path with you!

      Kathy

  6. I remember you asking that question at the Intensive! The fact you were brave/courageous enough to pose the question was, in my mind, an excellent sign. So happy to see you discussing the issues online and also taking Dan’s phenomenal class! Huge congratulations—you’re on a great journey. 😉

    • Hi Jane,
      That’s amazing you would remember my question from the Intensives! The weekend was a real eye-opener for me and really did kickstart my writing journey. I agree, Dan’s course is phenomenal. Now I’m totally hooked on Twitter. 🙂 I’m loving the journey.
      Thanks so much for stopping by. I really appreciate your encouragement.
      Kathy

  7. This is a beautiful tribute to the power of friendship! I am struggling to figure out how to use Twitter, but your words inspired me to keep trying. I always look forward to reading your posts. They are right on target for what I am trying to create. Your “random thoughts” help make this biz seem a little less daunting. Write On!

    • I appreciate your comments and concerns,Pat. I think it’s always a bit intimidating to step into new territory like Twitter at first. I started out by tweeting my blog posts and only recently have stepped out of that comfort zone to RT and add comments (through Dan’s course). I’m still finding my way and it’s getting easier. There is so much good info out there and Twitter is an easy way to access it. My biggest challenge is the time management aspect~how to fit it all into an already busy schedule?? WIP! Hope you’ll jump in and join in the conversation. It’s fun! Thanks for stopping by. Kathy

  8. I’ve been edging into Facebook for years and beginning to think there may be a little bit of point to it. Thanks for the link to Twitter. I’m doing a little more there too, and thank you for the link.

    • Hi Sharon,
      Yes, I am finding it is definitely a process to incorporate all these social media tools into my daily life. Facebook seems to have a more personal focus where twitter seems geared to professional activities. I have my fb and twitter accounts linked so my tweets go right to fb. Right now twitter seems like a new toy to play with. Dan Blank tells us it is no longer optional for writers. YIKES. It will take some time to learn how to deal with it in a balanced way-it is addictive!
      Hope to see you on there. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. P.S. Here’s an idea: put a link in your sidebar to follow you on Twitter.

  10. Yes, good idea.I still need to figure out how to get the twitter and fb icon on my sidebar. I did add the latest twitter posts. WIP! 🙂


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