Have you ever been the wallflower at your spouse’s office holiday party? Everybody knows everybody else, except for the wives and husbands who stand there like a third arm, hoping somebody will strike up a conversation about religion or politics so at least there would be a fighting chance.
Or have you been invited to one of those direct sales parties where everybody knows each other, but since your kid is in the same class/troop/heavy metal band with the hostess’ kid and she needed 24 people to qualify for the Chocolate Lava Fountain at a huge discount so you, Ms.Nicety-Nice (who is dying to see what her house looks like on the inside since she has great empty boxes on the curb on garbage day) accept her invitation….
only to be stuck in the kitchen drawing designs in the pepper sauce covered cream cheese brick with the edge of a cracker while everybody else laughs over the hostess’ latest Real Life / Real Housewives’ adventure with her ex and his new just legal tatto’ed armcandy?
Yeah… been there, done that… and in my opinion Vern Yip could use her house as a lesson in what NOT to do in decorating.
If either of these scenarios rings a bell, you may have been the victim of DBC – Drive By Community. Ever hear of it? It’s where you’re the newbie stuck at the fringes of an event where it appears everyone knows everyone else, so if you can get away with it, you follow the #DWTS (Dancing With The Stars) stream on your Twitter app to see who’s going home – or to the ER.
But never fear my friends, because DBC can be cured through the judicious use and application of Social Networking.
Whether your network of choice is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Goodreads, Ning, Bebo, Tumblerr, Pinterest or LinkedIn… or any of the many others out there in the Online Wilds, there’s no better way to become acquainted with people of like interests before the event than via networking. And love it or hate it, 1 billion+ people say it’s here to stay.
At Moonlight & Magnolias I had the pleasure to meet long distance friends whose names pop up on my Yahoo loops and Twitter stream and Facebook posts, including my Facebook 5 a.m. Writer’s Group (we’re more like a “it’s 5a.m. somewhere” group – anytime day or night find writing companions, answers to publishing questions, support, cheering, or commiseration). I finally got to meet face to face publishers and authors from Florida to Canada, and that awkward “So, how’s the weather in Nashville?” stage was skipped over. We picked right up where we’d left off during our online communiques.
Maybe a better term to use in lieu of that dreaded “social networking” (which holds a bad connotation for me since the movie) would be
We’ve lost some of that in our personal lives, but we’ve regained communities in another form. I watched Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg have this conversation on The View not long ago, and when Baba ventured with (paraphrased here) …so who needs to know what you’re doing all the time…? Whoopi answered with I do! I’m trying to quit smoking, and yesterday I was so tempted, but I turned to Twitter and got all kinds of support…
That’s pretty powerful Social Networking Community.
Volunteering as the conference promotions chair, I got to know my postlady and my two UPS deliverymen – all of whom are happy to not be delivering thirty-two pound boxes of books any longer. I singlehandedly (sorta) saved my local post office’s employment status since the deliveries happened during their audit, and now I know UPS Chuck’s wife loves “those bosom busters books” (!).
But now, the conference is over – no more deliveries, no more small talk. Do you talk to your deliveryman or postman very often?
Perhaps that’s why we writers – who stare at our screens and transcribe what our characters whisper in our ears – act like house arrest prisoners with malfunctioning ankle bracelets when we bust out of the office for events. We’re non-stop talkers! Anybody who thinks we writers are introverted wallflowers hasn’t been to a conference lately. We’re with the people who get us – our Community. The people we see in our online classes and loops, in our circles and newstreams, tweeting about their latest writing victories or losses – we’re finally face to face.
I hope to be able to meet even more of you at Southern Magic’s Romance Readers’ Luncheon (http://www.southernmagic.org/luncheon.html) in Birmingham AL on November 3, featuring Dianna Love, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Barbara Vey. I’ll be there supporting the fine Romance Magicians writers as well as our own Georgia Romance Writers: Sandra Elzie, M.V. Freeman, Debby giusti, Suzanne Johnson, Debbie Kaufman, Ciara Knight, Hildie McQueen and Lindi Peterson.
And I’m proud to announce that WriterMason Productions – Promoting Romance Authors with Events, Branding, and Products – is sponsoring their beautiful red, black and white conference bags!
If you are a romance writer or reader I hope you’ll become part of our Community. And then we can skip that awkward newbie talk when we meet face to face.
What online communities are you a member of? Let’s find and follow each other!
I’m listed on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+, and WANAtribe.com under my name Pamela V. Mason. And you are…?
Pamela Mason is the owner of WriterMason Productions that works with romance authors to establish their platform, identify their brands, and promote more effectively their books and appearances to their targeted reading audience. When she’s not working with clients, she’s the Jane Jetson of the Digital Age of Publishing, studying trends and the business news of this crazy, upside down business. When she’s not doing THAT, she’s writing a contemporary fantasy called Glitz & Blitz – Careful What You Wish For. And reading. And making coffee. Find her at WriterMason.com, all the online communities listed above, and at writer/reader conferences – make sure to say hello!