Pinstagram

 

pinstagram-sig

 

When I asked whether writers should use Pinterest or Instagram, there was a clear winner: Pinterest.

However.

I keep stumbling across articles saying how Instagram is awesome for authors.

What I don’t understand, about either of these, is how they are “social” media.

I get that you’re more visible, building your platform and so forth, but the chattiness of, say, Twitter is not there. (Claims the girl who is on neither of these networks.)

As I see it:

Instagram: A cool place to showcase pictures of your vacation, your lunch, or your cat. Or show off your mad photography skills.

Pinterest: A cool place to create collections of pictures that you like, that you took, or that inspire you. Or all of the above.

How is this social? And why are the articles saying you must be social on these networks…or else? (And what is the “or else”, anyway? Are there social media monsters that will crawl out of my computer and gobble me up? Actually, that’s creepy.)

By the way, I haven’t ignored you, my lovely friends. Pinterest it is. Because you said so.

Here I am… pinterest.com/sarahbrentyn

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Are you on Pinterest? If so, let me know so I can find you and “friend” you or “follow” you or, um, “buddy” you or “chase” you or something. Also, are you social on there? How? I’ll try my damndest to be social with you.

If you’re on Instagram and really like it, I could be persuaded to join that, too. Let me know…


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Blog Comments — Why Do We Reply?

 

I haven’t replied to the comments on my last few posts. Egads! So I’m not allowed to post another one. I mean, it’s an unwritten rule, right? Wrong. It’s a written rule. You must reply. Also, there’s a written rule that says you don’t need to reply. There is disagreement in the blogosphere. And so it goes. I feel I’ve danced this dance before.

You simply must reply to comments on your blog because:

  1. It’s rude not to
  2. The whole point of a blog post is to generate conversation (i.e. comments) and you should keep that going
  3. If people take the time to comment, you should take the time to reply

These are all true. But so are these:

  1. Some people don’t care (or even notice) if you reply
  2. The whole point of a blog post is whatever the person who wrote it wants it to be – regardless of whether or not it generates conversation
  3. If people take the time to comment, it’s because they wanted to and you shouldn’t feel pressured to reply

I attempt to reply to every single comment on my blog. And not just a string of “thanks” but thought-out responses (with the occasional “thanks”). There are times, especially with my shorter posts or my flash fiction over at the Reef, it takes longer to reply than it takes me to write the piece. Also, as I’ve mentioned, I feel I can’t publish my next post until I’ve responded to each comment.

In this way, blog comments stress me out. But I love them. I love my readers and appreciate their comments. So much. I also love the conversation that can emerge from a simple Thought Bubble. I try to reply to all of them and 90% of the time, I do. Because. Love.

But sometimes it takes me a little while or I miss one. And I need to be okay with that. I suppose I’m writing this in part because I hope you’ll be okay with that. (And to ask you to continue commenting because, if you don’t, I will cry.)

When I publish a post, some readers return to “like” my reply. (“Hey! Saw that you wrote back. Cool.”) Others reply to my reply. (“I like what you said and have something to add.”) Others comment and move on their merry way, never returning to said post. (“I didn’t notice you replied.” Or “I’m up to my earlobes in work and writing and reading blogs and composing my own replies to comments and I don’t have time to come back.”)

It’s all good.

When I read another blogger’s post, some reply to my comment within minutes. Some reply days or weeks later. Some never do.

I’m not offended if they don’t reply or if it takes weeks. I’m not annoyed if they do reply and I’m alerted via email 30 seconds later. It’s. All. Good. See? Things are good. This is serious stuff, this blogging business. But, really, in the grand scheme of your local ice cream parlor, it’s just plain vanilla. Not a chocolate sundae with whipped cream, colored sprinkles, and hot fudge with a cherry on top, you know?

If you miss a post or two or a comment or two, forgive yourself. Your readers will. Hell, if they don’t, you don’t need them.

Anyway, I forgive you. So, there’s that. *hands you a cookie*

 

Sarah B Leave a Reply (2)

 

What say you, gentle readers? Do you reply to every comment? Do you just click “like”? Do you ignore and publish your next post?

 

Disappearing Into the Ethernet

 

It’s an unspoken rule that you don’t just disappear from social media. You don’t remove your blog or delete your Twitter and Facebook account without warning. You don’t keep those accounts and abandon them. ThoughtBubble

Why? Because we have made connections.

Maybe I made this rule up because, of course, many people do disappear. But a lot don’t. They announce they won’t be on Twitter or are taking a break from blogging. They often give a reason, too: computer problems, internet connection, poor health, family stuff, personal issues, going on vacation, “just need a break”…

The “social” in social media is strange. I’ll confess to checking on people (discreetly—in DMs or emails) if I notice they’ve gone AWOL, and it truly is out of concern. I’m not trying to pry and yet, I wonder, is this appropriate? I think it depends on your relationship with the person.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. When did we become so attached to our cyber friends? How do we define online friendships?

How much do we owe our readers and followers? Our facebook friends and tweeps? Why do we feel we must give an explanation for our sudden disappearance?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Oversharing on Social Media

 

When you haven’t blogged or been on Twitter, what do you do? I think some would answer with a resounding, “Nothing. Move on.” Others would say that a full-on explanation is warranted. I’m guessing that most people fall somewhere in the middle.

Personally, I feel I should write something.

When sharing information about my personal life in a very public way, where is the line? Do I keep it vague or go into details? How much is too much? And, more importantly, why am I thinking about this at all? Why, in the midst of a family crisis or health emergency or computer meltdown, am I worrying about what my online presence looks like to others?

I suppose you should let people know why you haven’t been online or won’t be online much. I suppose that’s the nice/right/proper thing to do. But… Is this common courtesy or TMI (too much information)?

 

So, when I should have been getting a huge reality slap about what’s important in life, I was thinking about all the blogs I haven’t commented on, the posts I hadn’t written, the updates I hadn’t made on my website, the tweets sitting in my drafts, the emails piling up in my inbox.

For anyone who is wondering, I’m about to overshare:

I went to the ER last week expecting a little help but was admitted to the hospital. I stayed a night. Then another. Then another… The world outside those four white walls faded away. I didn’t think about much besides my family. (And all the beeping machines, wires, IVs, tests, and blood pressure cuffs.) After a day or two, it hit me. The social media thing I’ve been yammering about. And here I am posting about my hospital stay and my ongoing treatment (a.k.a. wireless heart monitor I must wear 24 hrs. a day for a month). So I will post when I’m not passing out and will tweet when I’m not too dizzy. And there you go. Hope that is not too much information for you.

Cheers, gentle readers.

Oh, also, I have a strange habit of taking pictures at unseemly moments. I like to document everything—even the horrible things. So, for your viewing pleasure, this is my EEG. It’s one of the nicer photos. I look at bit like a modern techie Medusa but I’ve titled it “space mermaid”.

 

Sarah B Hospital - EEG

 

To Thank or Not to Thank – That Is the Question

 

I am polite. Too polite. Is there such a thing? I’m not sure but I do have a friend who jokes that I would write a thank you note to someone who wrote me a thank you note. I don’t know where she got that idea. (I’ve done it.)

I always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. I’ve taught my children to do so as well. ThoughtBubble

Moving on to social media. When I tweet someone’s post, it’s nice to receive a “thanks”. But it’s okay if I don’t. Some people retweet the shout-out. Or reply. Or favorite. Or tweet something of mine.

There’s no “right” way to handle this. I’ve read contradictory advice on what to do (I’m sure you’re shocked). Some recommend thanking. Others, reciprocation. Others suggest it’s not necessary to do anything.

I will say that if I scroll through someone’s timeline and see nothing, nothing, but “thanks, @schmoopypoo!” “thanks, @pumpkinhead!” “thanks, @ilovechocolate!” and on and on and on, I have no idea who this person is or what he or she is interested in.

I think you should thank but, on Twitter, there are several ways of doing this. How do you decide when and how to thank?

 

Thanks

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.