Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is Facebooking Useful for Writers or Just a Waste of Time?

I usually log into Facebook when I wake up and don’t log out until I turn my computer off for the night. Right, just like an addict. Sometimes I leave my computer for a while when I have an appointment, but I stay logged in.

It isn’t all a waste of time, although of course, some of it is. It depends on how you use it.

Facebook, just like other forms of social media such as Linkedin,, etc., has its advantages to writers. Besides networking and getting to know authors who you might be able to meet otherwise or keep in touch with those writing friends who live far away, you can join or fan groups to keep up on the news about publications, submissions, readings, etc. Almost every literary magazine, literary organization, reading series or press out there is on Facebook. They’ll send notes about submissions, readings, etc.

Two of my favorites on FB:

Living in Ann Arbor, I “befriended” the University of Michigan MFA in Creative Writing Program so I could read about upcoming readings and lectures.

Fishouse Poems, which is an online audio collection of emerging authors, has a Facebook group that announces new work posted on its website.

You can justify the “waste of time” side of it as character research for your short story. Someone would really write about her fake boob job? Or that friend with opposing political beliefs joined what group with the nasty photos? Yes, it is addictive. Try to stay on point and use it the way you would a book fair or writing conference – meet people, talk about writing and learn about opportunities. Ok, and gossip just a little.

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