Sunday, 15 October 2017

Making a hash of the hashtag

Yesterday, I attended a social media course for writers.  It was an eye opener.  There was I, happily thinking, ‘Ah, lovely Facebook, the online place for chat and gossip with the occasional blip (like when I once discussed make-up, and mentioned wearing foundation in shade Milk Bottle White because of being so pale, and Mrs Bee-Up-Her-Backside called me a racist).  But I digress.  As I learnt yesterday, the world and his wife are on social media (and I hope nobody calls me sexist for not saying ‘her’ wife – you just never know!). We’re all updating a status, posting a picture, firing off a tweet.  The good, the bad, and the downright weird.
          A gentle reminder was given about how to behave on social media.  Don’t talk about religion.  Or politics.  Or anything that can, in the slightest way, be misconstrued. And don’t rant either.  I think we’ve all done the latter at some point.  Instead do nice things.  Like post a picture of a cake you’ve made.  Interact with people in a positive (and kind) way.  It goes without saying that all sorts of promotion takes place on Facebook – from clothing to, well, authors.  Apparently I should think about having an author page, independent to my ‘normal’ page.  Words like adverts and Sign Up Button were mentioned (amongst loads of others) and I could feel myself inwardly quaking.
          But if I was quaking over Facebook, when it came to Twitter I was positively vibrating with anxiety. Let’s look at the words tweet deck. A nice sunny decking area to sit and tweet from an iPad?  It was a shock to see a tweet deck in action with columns of frantic activity. When we were asked to make a list, it wasn’t for that week’s shopping.  I dived in, immediately feeling like a swimmer struggling to do breast-stroke while everybody else did a flashy front crawl.  Out of my depth – in every way.
          Instagram.  That’s where I post pictures of my dog and cat, and woodland walks with conkers.  Wrong!  It’s time to think outside the box.  Want to post a picture of a tree?  Fine.  But prop your book against the trunk and caption it accordingly.  ‘Look what I found! A copy of my book about evolution. This is a tree of knowledge!’ You get the gist.
          I’m trying to look at social media with fresh eyes … promotional eyes.  For this I need to take on board yesterday’s notes handed out by the super-knowledgeable and ultra-patient Anita Chapman.  I’m off to do some studying.  Which reminds me:
          Memory was something you lost with age.
          An application was for employment.
          A program was a TV show.
          A cursor used profanity.
          A keyboard was a piano.
          A web was a spider’s home.
          A virus was the flu.
          A mouse was a small furry creature.
          And if you had a 3-and-a-half-inch floppy, you hoped nobody found out!


  1. I'm so glad I wasn't the only one thinking that!

    1. We will triumph over Twitter! Meanwhile, I'm putting the kettle on :-)

  2. Thanks for the lovely mention, Debbie and it was great to meet you on Saturday. Although I must say this for anyone is reading, and thinking about attending one of my future courses: Rather than say not to mention religion or politics-I said to be aware of the different opinions you may encounter if you do, and to think carefully about that decision (although I don't because I'd rather not spend all day getting into spats on Facebook...). And, of course Instagram is for posting pictures of cats and dogs, but you can post a copy of your book in an interesting place too! Best wishes :)

  3. Anyone 'who' is reading! (correction) :)

  4. ps, also meant to say-sorry, I don't mention religion in my slides at all-just politics!

  5. Ah, Anita, I always ham things up. The religion is my own mention because it can lead to spats which can cause upset. I didn't copy you in because I didn't want you getting repeat notifications (see, I learnt something!). Still got to get to grips with that tweet deck! Have a lovely Monday xx

  6. I agree it's a good idea to post nice stuff - there's plenty of not nice stuff on social media already.