#WritingTip 1:

Just a short one while I’m thinking of it. I was asked about my number one writing tip and I think it is that I seek honest feedback. I totally appreciate that it can be difficult to give sometimes, but I am most grateful for honesty. Truly.

I don’t ask beta readers, coaches or friends to make me feel good, I ask them how I can improve … and I love the answers. Sometimes they can be “wrong” but they are never unhelpful and usually they are right. 

Sometimes we differ on opinion or advice and sometimes it is different “grammar rules” but for the most part, they each lift my game a little (and sometimes a lot),  and it is a little like having a mirror placed in a blind spot, a light shone in a dark corner, or a lid being lifted on a whole new jar of tricks. I love that they want these things for me!

It sounds so obvious but it isn’t. And I have to say, I’d do the same for you. When I beta read for others I try to be as honest as I can, and I know it’s not easy. No one wants to hurt feelings. But do yourself a favour and #AskForHonesty.

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Where I hang out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Author Stage or Author Platform

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Many people who are new to writing are doing exactly what we are all advised to do: Build an online presence, an online platform, and get the word out there. We have to sell ourselves, and we have to sell our books. But the biggest question I get asked over and over again is how do I get people to come to me and listen to what I have to say. This is the hardest part in some ways, but in other ways, I think it is actually the easiest, but you do need a few key ingredients: Humility, Patience, and Community are just three of them but believe me, you can’t get far without ALL of them. Here is why:

The first mistake we make is to go out, buy the wood and build ourselves a little stage in our back yard. We stand on it and wait for the crowds to come. It is heart-wrenching when no one turns up! So we fork out the cash for advertising, we stick posters on the lamp posts, and we tell all our friends. Some of them come, but still, there is no crowd and few of our books sell. It feels so unfair.

The problem is that many of us build a stage before we build a platform. Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook are all great tools, but they are just that, they are tools. They are the loudspeakers and the flyers and the billboards. But the problem is that they are lost in millions upon millions of almost identical loudspeakers, flyers, and billboards. At one end we have a FABULOUS product (aren’t all of our books going to be the next best seller?), and at the other end we have the advertising, but there is nothing in between. There is nothing to connect us and make us stand out. Even our STUNNING front cover is lost among thousands of other stunning covers!

So in comes humility and patience. Humility to ask someone else if we can perhaps have a seat at their table, to get to know them, and to one day accept a teeny corner of their stage. Over and over people tell me that they don’t have the time to meet people, to get to know them before they ask for help, or even then, that they don’t want to stand on someone else’s stage! They want to stand on their own stage. I get that. We all want our own stage to shine, but we can’t force people to come or to buy.

Another option perhaps is to build your own stage by all means, but for the first season, don’t stand on it other than to introduce our guests. Invite others to come and speak on it instead. Bring in people who you know others would love to hear. It is still your stage. But if you spend a season being the host, welcoming people, giving others a voice and a place to stand, then after a while, when people love and trust you, they will turn to you and ask you ” do you also write? I love to hear your voice at the beginning of each show, I would love to hear what else you have to say”.

These things both take time, they both take humility, and they take a whole lot of “paying it forward”. I am not saying it is easy, but for me, it is actually a whole lot easier than embarrassingly standing on a soap box and shouting “PLEASE BUY MY BOOK!” at the top of my lungs all day, every day.

We need to build an online presence and an online platform, but we must be a little careful of confusing it with simply building a stage…

Over the next few posts, I will dig much deeper into these things and answer any questions you have. Please feel free to join the closed Facebook Group on the subject of building ethical launch teams if you would like to ask your questions in a more private space, by clicking HERE.

 

ScampinChips Blogs!

img_5280-1I couple of months ago I found ScampinChips. She is a great blogger on so many levels and her wisdom and kindness in sharing everything that she learns, so freely and so honestly, is an inspiration to me. I have to confess that when I read her blogs I feel embarrassed of mine. I won’t stop of course but I thought that instead of writing nothing on starting out on Social Media this week, I would share this post on her blog.

Please don’t just close this down and without reading it. It is a really easy read I promise and it is a fabulous list of the 9 things that she wished she knew before she started blogging. If you are so new that you are following me on this series then her post is a must read! Truly! Even if there are a couple of things that don’t make sense to you yet, most of it will, and you will be thankful for these tips I promise.

I myself am keeping it open as a checklist because there are a couple of things that I missed as well and so now is the time to change/fix them…

Social Media Etiquette:

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Sorry that this is a long one but I don’t want to repeat myself for each platform, as all of this applies to all of them. But here are some basic Social Media Etiquette “Rules”:

I am not one for “rules of society” other than respect respect and respect. I think that if each and every one of us is thoughtful, aware and respectful, then most things in social life will go smoothly. But that is not the reality that we live in and there are a bunch of extra rules which need to be taken into consideration when launching into social media. Of course the basics of respect apply, but here are also a bunch of other somewhat random basic rules that also apply and why.

1: Try and be discreet when “Tagging” people. We tag people to either get their attention or the attention of their friends and followers. Which is great if you already have an appropriate relationship with them, or at a pinch you have something that you are 100% sure they will actually appreciate. However, tagging them in our post to promote ourselves is not a cool thing to do and is a bit like taking advantage of someone or worse, invading their personal space. It is considered rude to simply tag someone as advertising and I have been bowled away by how many people do it even though it is written all over the place that one shouldn’t. The other day someone who I have never met tagged me in their post saying “look at my blog, you will love it”. That is not cool. It is taking advantage of my following to promote themselves. If you tag me because you are reading these blogs and setting up accounts because of it, then go for it, but go for it because I am specifically inviting you to as you learn, and I encourage it too as I have offered to help. But if you then keep tagging me every day from then on in order to promote your puppy pictures then that is a whole new board game. It is an easy rookie mistake but not worth making. Be thoughtful (and respectful) about who you tag and how often.

2: Direct Messaging or sending people or pages private messages. Again this is a great tool but people either intentionally or unintentionally use this in ways that are considered totally not cool by the general social media population. When I got my first DM after following someone I was super excited. To then learn that they send the same message to every follower, automatically at that, left me feeling a little negative (anything stronger than that is pushing it but it wasn’t a cool feeling for sure). It didn’t hugely bother me until I kept reading over and over how much the big guys detest it and how upset some people do get by it. That first DM for me at least appeared to be genuine the way that it was phrased, but since then I have received hundreds of them that are not even vaguely attempting to sound genuine. They ask for things, tell me how much I will be blown away by their product, blog or company, and often send long lists of everything that they are connected to. I just ignore them as I have decided to give them the benefit of the doubt that they don’t “know any better”, but I have read many articles where people will block anyone who sends them a DM. I think that that is a bit strong but I don’t want to be that person sending DMs all over the show either.

3: How often to post. This one is a really tough one but as a general rule of thumb:

  • If you don’t post very often then there isn’t a lot of point in trying to get a following outside of the community of people like family and friends that you already have.
  • If you post too often then even the most forgiving don’t like their entire feed to contain nothing but you, so you will lose followers.

So you need to find some balance and middle ground. Most people try and have some kind of post 2-3 times each day. Many post more than that which can be great if you actually have that much to say that people love.

4: Repeated posts on Twitter and Facebook are a good idea because they are such a “point in time” platform that anything you say has all but disappeared by tomorrow or the next day. But if you have nothing but the same repeat going on then your followers who do see you will get sick of the same thing over and over. Imagine that you post 3 times a day but it is all the same things, your profile will simply be a long long list of the exact same thing. Even rotating 2 or 3 different things is not much better. So have some variety. Share your blog posts as you write them but in between share other things too. This is where Instagram comes in handy for me, it allows me to quickly and easily add colour, pics and memes to my Facebook Page automatically and in doing so I am covering two social media platforms in one, plus adding diversity to my posts.

5: What to post. Don’t just talk about yourself or your product. One of my personal favourite things about all the social media sites is the community and connectedness that I have found there. It is clearly obvious very quickly that the more you build up others the more they will build you up. If you post nothing but your own things and don’t contribute to discussions, share other’s posts, or encourage others, then why should they do all that for you? Stats vary but from all the articles that I have read, if you share, “like”, comment etc on other people’s pages at least two or three times for every time you promote yourself you can’t go wrong. More is even better. Some days I am tired and don’t feel that I have much to say, so I simply scroll through my feed and like share and comment on other people’s things. It brings diversity to my own profile, and people see that I promote and encourage other. I need followers and I often get more followers on those days. So don’t feel that you have to come up with all your own stuff.

6: Be genuine. Think about what you share, either of your own or of others. As you click away, share away and comment away, your personality will shine through. If you think you have that angry streak well hidden, it is likely to show in the general flow of what you do. And that is OK. If it is real then show it, and you will connect with like minded people. If you try to be false, too sweet, or too anything that you are not, it will show. For the most part people want to follow genuine people and aren’t interested in fake. Having said that, some of the biggest social media people are completely fake and yet they are followed anyway. Unless you have that gift of being “on” 24/7 and can push some crazy fake agenda, then don’t even try.

Ethical Launch Teams Part 2:

img_9270 Yesterday I started a Facebook Group for anyone who is interested in the whole concept of Launch Teams. With so many people doing their own publishing, it has become imperative to also do one’s own marketing as well, and if you are a writer like me then that is HARD! I am not a sales person, I don’t like sucking up to people, and I am absolutely useless at self-promotion, but worse than all of that is the fact that I am also an introvert. And I would also way prefer to be writing my book or my blogs than writing about me or my book or my blogs. And what would I say anyway?

So while I don’t think that anyone enjoys the whole marketing side of their books, things like Launch Teams have become a necessity. But this has also opened up a massive opportunity for readers who aren’t writers. A world has emerged where readers can spend very little money and read as many books as they would like or are able to. They can get in on the ground floor and be a part of the machine that puts great books and great writers out there. Joining a Launch Team for them is a great way to get cheap or even free books.

That sounds like a perfect match to me, and I keep hearing people who are new to the game say the same thing…. and then a few months later they burn their toes and wonder how it happened. You see in the rush to be seen and heard, many authors ask for reviews, publicity, and support and are kind and willing enough to return the favour. This is where it comes unstuck. Let us imagine for a moment that you and I are in the same literary group. There are twelve of us and we have been meeting at the library on Tuesday evenings for a decade and now it is time for us all to launch our much loved, hard earned, soul-bearing books. The timing isn’t exact, but within a year or so of each other we all proofread, edit, double, triple and quadruple check everything, and each of us launches our book. We have all supported each other in every way possible for a decade and we all feel the love of the others as we all sign up for Amazon, buy each other’s books, and give each other an honest review.

Our little group sends out weekly emails to each other and we are all friends on Facebook. We even meet for Cocktail Hour at the local pub once a month. This group is harmless in every sense of the word and the love for each other (well, most of each other) is deep.

The problem is that Amazon and Google and all the powers that be which we don’t like to think exist, know that we all know each other and they also know that other less noble citizens are prepared to swap (or worse; PAY for) reviews and reads …..and they can’t tell us apart. We all look dodgy to them. So they remove some of our reviews, they reject others outright, and the readers of our small local library who have so kindly offered to support us, get caught in the fallout too.

It sounds like a very bad and ridiculous movie. But it isn’t. I am now watching people choosing NOT to join or create a Launch Team because they are frightened of the mix up between genuine support and the swapping of reviews or appearing to be coerced into giving one. Amazon is ruthless.

But I have to tell you, that the concept of a Launch Team is still a very good one. We just all need to be prepared to work in a MUCH wider circle, to “pay it forward” and trust that someone else entirely will do the same for us.

Soooo…. with that in mind, if the first step to a Launch Team was to create The Facebook Group to host it, now it is time to recruit. And the first tempting thing that people feel they “ought” to do is to reciprocate. But my advice is to be honest, be transparent, say why, but don’t jump onto every other persons’ Launch Team and create a virtual small circle. There are other ways to pay back and I will give a bunch of examples next time but for now give all you can to the Launch Teams that you sign up for, but don’t become too incestuous. Gather the bulk of your Launch Team members from work or school colleagues, family and distant friends. You can even ask friends if they have friends who might like to join. Advertise for some help at your local library, church, book club or corner store.

Throw the net wide, gather what you can, and if it isn’t big then that is OK too. Growing slowly is better than having dozens of people sign on but have nothing to give. Many of us have learned that the hard way. And above all, think of it as a loving, helpful, but business arrangement. They are going to get to be the first to read your book, have a say in the colours and font on the front cover, maybe even win something later on, but if they aren’t already your personal Facebook friend, then leave it that way. Keep them at a little bit of arm’s distance. You don’t have to pay them, pay them back, or give them stuff.

I have met some AMAZING people on this journey, two at least whom I hope will become real life, long term friends. But right now each of us needs to get our books out there and we need to keep our respect and help for each other at a bit of a distance. When we are both famous and have thousands of fans that the other can get lost in the middle of (as far as Amazon are concerned), then we can be Facebook friends as well. But for now, this is business guys!

Building an Ethical Launch Team!

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The ink is still wet on my first book and I am already planning the next one. Actually, the next few books were written long before the Lion and the Peacock was even an idea, but that is beside the point. It is and forever will be my first book and it is not by any means forgotten, but I learned so much from the process that I am keen on sharing my ups and downs with you and what I would have done differently. I am also keen on putting those learnings into practice to see if they have an effect or not.

So with that in mind, I am starting my Launch Team much earlier this time and will use it as a learning tool for myself and anyone who would like to come along for the journey.

The first step of any Launch Team is to create a Closed Facebook Group. The idea behind it is to rally people to support your upcoming book. The slight difference here is that I will also have people joining it simply to learn the process, but the first step would be the same for any Launch Team. You want the group to be closed and not public simply because it can be a safe place to talk about “behind the scenes” things that you don’t want the public to know (as yet anyway). It will later become a space where you can share your ideas for a front cover and people give feedback on the font, picture, layout etc. It is an interactive group.

But I want to point out that it should NOT be a space to create “read and review swaps”. Or a place that guarantees any kickbacks. It should be a place of community and support. Anyone who joins the launch team should expect nothing in return but because of the way the group should function, they would hopefully ultimately feel that they gained a lot by being there.

If you are an Author:

Join someone else’s Launch Team because:

  • You can learn so much from the process in order to do a great job (and hopefully even do a better job) yourself. It is almost silly to run your own launch before ever being on one and seeing it from the other side, or having launch teams to compare mistakes and successes etc. It is a totally free way to learn!
  • You want to “pay it forward”. In other words, when it is your turn to have a launch team you too will want people to sign on and help you. Of all the professions in this world, being an author is one of the greatest in terms of this. Whether you like it or not, all authors need the generosity of others, and if you have never given anything it is tough to ask others to give it to you.

Don’t join someone else’s Launch Team if:

  • You expect them to join yours. It could well backfire on both of you as the Amazon Bots are always on the look out for “review swaps”. The process of Launch Teams is a little like the analogy where it “all comes out equally in the wash”. If you belong to enough communites and are active in them, then there should be plenty to go around if you all join a handful of launch teams with no one reciprocating.
  • You aren’t prepared to give anything to them. If you think about it, they have started the group for themselves but you have been given the privilege of being a fly on the wall of this intimate and soul bearing exercise. The least you can do is any one of the little, free, 2 second ways that you can support them (“Like” their author facebook Page, share their posts, retweet a few of their tweets, tell your freinds about them … the list is endless). But think about giving them a review at the end. If you are not doing a review swap then this is the greatest way to bless them!
  • You don’t like their writing! I know that a lot of people dont agree with me here but it is really hard to read and review a genre or a book that you are completely uncomfortabel or unfamiliar with. Spend a little time reading soemthing that they have out there for free (free book on Amazon, or a blog that they write, or an artcile that they have written for a publication, or check them out on Goodreads).

If you are a Reader:

Join someone’s Launch Team because:

  • You can learn so much about what goes into a book and I believe that your reviews will be so much richer for understanding the heart and soul of some of the authors. It can be so easy to criticize something that appears small and simple but isn’t. I beleive that a great reader would enjoy getting to know some authors and their processes.
  • You want your favourite authors to succeed. Never before have readers had so much power in the success or failure of the authors of the world. So many people have asked me when my next book will be out and the answer is very simply: “when I get enough people to support it”. If no one is going to even know that it exists, then I will fail before I begin. If you want your favourite authors to write, then support them at the foundations and help the world to see them 🙂
  • It’s fun! OK, maybe fun isn’t always the right word, but when I read the books of some of my favourite authors I have a yearning for so much more. I want to know the things that I felt were hidden between the lines, if there are photos of the journey then I want to see them. Launch Teams and newsletters often let you into private spaces that no one else gets to see.

Don’t join someone else’s Launch Team if:

  • All you want is to be a fly on the wall and give nothing back. If an author allows you into their heart and soul process then please be gentle and helpful with that gift that they have given you. Too many people say yes please to the privilege of being on the team and then do nothing but take advantage of the days that the book is free and give nothing back.
  • You aren’t prepared to Like their author facebook Page, retweet a few of their tweets, tell your freinds about them … again, the list is endless. But most of all if you aren’t prepared to give them an honest review at the end then think carefully about pretending to support them when in fact your aren’t.

So to recap: First step is to set up the Closed Facebook group and the second is to find people to join. The reason I suggest people to start early is because it takes time to build a good team. So many people urgently create a group a couple of weeks before launch and don’t have the numbers that they want. Next post I will talk more about how to find the people that you need to make this group work! (but in the meantime, set up your group and ask a handful of Facebook friends and family to join you).

Here is my new Launch Team link if you would like to join, follow and learn from my journey: JOIN THE TEAM

Here is the link to be on my no spam email list to receive updates, specials, and exclusive updates, photos and personal details: SIGN UP

Success Stories!

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-5-41-32-pmEveryone loves a success story, but of course, success means different things to different people and at different times. As an author, the sheer number of books sold is one measure of success, but so are awards, accolades and “Best Seller” lists. I have hit number one on a couple of lists on the days that the book was free, and the numbers of books sold are climbing steadily.

But for me right now the greatest joy are the success stories! The feedback from complete strangers that tells me that my theory works, it makes sense, it is easy to read and put into action, and that at .99c it accessible to almost anyone. This is bringing me great joy on all kinds of levels and I would love to blog about some of these stories.

Sooooo… if you have read the book, I would love to hear from you personally… It is up to you whether you would like me to interview you on here, me to simply publish what you have to say, or whatever else works best for you. Thank you all for this feedback so far, for passing it on to others (for I don’t even know over 2,000 people so they must have got it from somewhere right?!) …

You can contact me in the comments below, or by signing on here (which will put you on the list for the non spam emails which will give details for the feedback and interviews and you can then answer me back at that address). I am so enjoying reading your stories!

Guest Writer, Tam May:

I am thrilled to share with you this guest post from author Tam May. I don’t know her personally, but I have followed her for a while and in my eyes, she is the perfect example of authors who collaborate, which as you know is a big deal for me. I love people who share their time, knowledge and expertise with each other and believe strongly that this is the only way to have meaningful success. So here is what she has to say and I wish her all the best with her book 🙂

Concessions

“Don’t you ever dare to make concessions. Then one walks down, down, down, down.” – Gertrude Stein

While Gertrude Stein was never one of my favorite writers (she believed intelligence and talent naturally belonged to men and not women), I read the above quote when I was doing undergraduate work in English. Stein gave this advice to many young writers (among them, Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald) and painters (like Pablo Picasso and Pavel Tchelitchew http://gaypariscea.blogspot.com/2008/09/gertrude-stein-writer-and-her-muse.html) she supported and mentored. As a writer still experimenting with my writing and with no real sense of creating a writing career, I didn’t understand at the time the idea of “concessions”. Only recently, I came to appreciate Stein’s words.

A dictionary definition of the word concession defined it as giving in. The idea of making concessions in writing is different for different writers. It can mean writing articles when you really want to be writing fiction, writing in a genre that doesn’t stir your passion but pays the bills, or not writing at all because fear gets in the way. Of course, most writers have to make concessions just as much as most people in order to live and prepare for the future. But each writer judges where their personal limit stands so that, as Stein implies, he or she doesn’t walk down, down, down, down, if not financially, then psychologically.

For me, the limit came with my style and voice. I’ve battled with who I am as a writer, knowing that my natural writing voice and style are a little unusual and quirky. I was drawn to poetic prose and to psychological fiction that scrutinized character motivation, behavior, and make-up so they didn’t always come out complete and attractive. But I was also very much aware that such fiction wasn’t going to bring me many accolades or success as the trends define it.

So I experimented with genre fiction. In 2013, I wrote the first book of a historical mystery series for National Novel Writing Month and then outlined scene-by-scene the second and third books for the series. The book was fun to write and I loved doing all the historical research. But ultimately, I went back to psychological fiction because I felt the series was burying my real passion for character exploration and lyrical prose. For me, writing the series was where I drew the line for my concessions.

I’ve recently been asked what advice I have for new writers. My best advice is to find your natural writing voice and style and pursue it, even if it isn’t part of the trends or it doesn’t take you to the bestseller list. Don’t make concessions.

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Gnarled Bones and Other Stories explores five tales of loss, fear, and guilt where strange and spooky events impact people’s lives in ways that are profound and unchangeable.

In “Mother of Mischief”, a newly divorced woman goes back to school to begin a new chapter of her life only to find herself circling back to where she started. In “Bracelets”, childhood nostalgia mingles with brutal fear during a circus outing for a mailroom secretary and her friends. In “A First Saturday Outing”, a lonely woman ventures out of her isolated apartment one quiet Saturday afternoon to an art exhibit that leaves an eerie impression on her psyche*. In “Broken Bows”, a middle-aged violinist reveals the mystery behind his declining artistic powers to a lonely woman on a train. And the title story, “Gnarled Bones”, paints a portrait of the complex bond between an orphaned sister and brother through journal entries and first-person narrative. For these characters, the past leaves its shadow on the present and future.

Gnarled Bones and Other Stories is available now in paperback and ebook on Amazon https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01MS7P9EM/

* This story was featured on Whimsy Gardener’s Storytime With Whimsey and can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW9mgw4qhuA.

 

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About The Author

Tam May was born in Israel but grew up in America. She earned her college degree in English before returning to the States. She also has a Master’s degree in English and worked as an English college instructor and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher before she became a full-time writer. She started writing when she was 14 and writing became her voice. She writes psychological fiction that explores emotional realities informed by past experiences, dreams, feelings, fantasies, nightmares, imagination, and self-analysis.

She is currently working on a novella series called the Waxwood Series, set in a Northern California resort town. The series explores the crumbling relationships among the wealthy San Francisco Alderdice family. In Book 1, The Order of Actaeon, the Alderdice son and heir falls into the hands of a charismatic older man obsessed with power and leadership during a summer vacation in the resort town of Waxwood. The second book, The Claustrophobic Heart, brings in Gena Flax, a young woman who must cope with the mental deterioration of her aunt during their summer stay at Waxwood. In the last book of the series, Dandelion Children, Daisy, the daughter of the Alderdice family is drawn into the disturbed life of the man who ruined her brother during one rainy summer in Waxwood.

She is also working on another book titled House of Masks about a woman who, mourning the death of her father, breaks free of isolation and loneliness when she is drawn into the lives of her two neighbors, one eccentric and one embittered. For more information, feel free to check out her website at www.tammayauthor.com.

She currently lives in Texas but calls San Francisco and the Bay Area home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading classic literature and watching classic films.

Author Links

Website: www.tammayauthor.com

Blog: https://thedreambook.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammayauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tammayauthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tammayauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16111197.Tam_May

Glossary of Twitter Terms:

Here we go on the Twitter terms…

There are so many kinds of words in Twitter, but let me first break them down into three kinds of words. The first group are words that REFER to things. For example we refer to the platform as Twitter and what people “do” on Twitter is they Tweet. They are simply words that you need to know. The second group of words are actually SHORTENINGS for something, for example DM is short for Direct Messaging (sending someone else on Twitter a private message). The third group of words actually DO something. When you use these words within a Tweet, they create links to other things. Sound confusing? Sorry, bear with me here:

1. Words that simply REFER to things:

  • Tweet: Is Twitter’s name for “posting a comment”, or “making a post”. A Tweet has a maximum of 140 characters and that includes each letter, space, number, everything that you put on there.
  • Twitter Handle: When you sign up for Twitter, you have 2 names. The idea behind this is that there are a gazillion John Smiths in the world but to make each one unique, they each need to have a name that is different to every other person on Twitter. But they have had to become so diverse that no one knows that many of them are their John Smith. So the first name that they have can still be John Smith. There are no doubt thousands of John Smiths on Twitter. But the second name, which has an @ at the beginning, needs to be unique. I tried to fit Jennifer Peacock-Smith as my name but it is too long, so I went with JPeaSmith. Then when it was time to make my handle there was no @JPeaSmith taken already so my name and my handle are both the same (although my handle has an @ at the beginning). If another Jennifer Peacock-Smith joins Twitter she can also have her name on there or call herself whatever she likes, but she can’t have the handle @JPeaSmith. So while you can have multiple people with the same name, your Twitter Handle is your identity
  • This is a super plain jane tweet: The top row is standard for each person, and is not counted in the 140 characters. At the top left is my profile picture, next to it is my name, (which includes a writing icon) and then next to that is my Twitter Handle, followed lastly by the date that I Tweeted it. This is followed by exactly 140 characters of in a Tweet.screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-04-39-pm At the bottom of the Tweet there are 4 grey icons. From left to right they are:
  • Reply (the arrow to the left). If I was not JPeaSmith and I saw this tweet and I wanted to respond to it, I would press that arrow and it would open up a Tweet box and I would then write a normal tweet that will answer JPeaSmith’s question about whether or not she is a bad person for going round the bend listening to the neighbour’s waling song.
  • Retweet (the double arrows). If I simply like what someone says, in other words I want to repeat or endorse what they are saying, I would click this second icon. When I click on it I am given 2 options. The fast option is to click a retweet and that is all it does (retweet it as is, giving the original person credit), or to add my own 140 characters to it. Here I have retweeted Pamela Sutherland’s tweet. She still gets full credit but I appear above her. You can see that I was one of 8 people who retweeted this tweet.screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-14-19-pm
  • Like (the heart shaped grey icon) is a simple “like” click of affirmation. You can see that 14 people liked her tweet.
  • More (the three dots). If you click on this a drop down appears giving you all kinds of options to do with the person who tweeted: Block them if you find their tweet offensive, mute them so that you still “follow” them but don’t see their tweets appear in your feed etc.

2. Words  that are SHORTENINGS for something:

  • DM: As I said before, this is short for Direct Message and is simply how you write to someone privately.
  • RT is short for Retweet.

3. Words that actually DO something

  • Tag (&Tagging or “copying”). The @ sign is used to copy, tag, alert or mention (all meaning the same thing really) someone’s Twitter account, linking it to their profile by their  as well as yours. By using the @ and someone’s username you create a link to their account. Here I have Tweeted my blog post where I mentioned Rachel Thompson and Alexander Fuller who are both brilliant authors and who’s books inspired my blog. I wanted them to know that I appreciated their books and loved reading them, so I used their usernames. Both of them liked my tweet and retweeted it as did two others.Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 7.22.05 PM.png
  • Hashtag (#) is a different kind of tagging but instead of tagging a twitter account, we use this to tag a key word or phrase. By using the # symbol, you create a link in your tweet to all the places that that word (or grouped word) appears. So if I want to see who else is #amwriting or writing a #memoir all I have to do is click on or look up that hashtag and see what others are using the same tag. They could potentially really interest me.screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-29-01-pm

For a truly comprehensive list of Twitter Lingo you can check out this post on Mashable, but quite honestly, there is soooo much on there and most of it you won’t need to know for a long while, so by all means check them out but if you don’t want to become overwhelmed then I suggest sticking with these few for now🙂

Till next time…

Glossary of Facebook Terms:

(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

Here are the “Glossary of terms” for your Facebook Page.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-12-24-50-pm

Now that I am unpacking and explaining Facebook, I am actually getting a little annoyed with them as I feel that there is way too much duplication of terms and words. Last time we struggled with the issue between our own private Facebook account which the general public refers to as “my Facebook Page” and yet when you create a Facebook Page for a cause or a product or your community, that is what Facebook call a Facebook Page.

Now as I look at the screen shot above from my own FbPAGE, the third word down on the left is HOME which is the exact word that Facebook uses for our Newsfeed, which is a different thing entirely! So I hope that I can get around this and not confuse you in the process…

Facebook Words:

  • HOME (personal account): Ugh, When you are on your personal account OR on your open FbPAGE and you click the Home button that is on the blue bar across the top of your page, near the right, you will always go to your personal Newsfeed. Why they don’t just call it a Newsfeed is beyond me, although this is where you can find all kinds of things down the left which aren’t visible when you are on your Timeline. I am pointing this out because when you are working on your FbPAGE, the blue bar across the top remains the same, it does not change to your PAGE, it remains as your profile. o don’t confuse this Home with the one mentioned above on your PAGE.screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-12-33-16-pm
  • HOME (FbPAGE): I am now referring again to the first picture that I put up at the very top of this post, when you click on this Home, it takes you to the Timeline of your FbPAGE (not personal account).
  • Personal Timeline or User Profile: This is for your personal page only. AT any time when you click on your own name on the blue bar (I would click on Jennifer there, next to the word Home), it takes me to my own personal Timeline. This is the page that is “me”, what I or others that I allow, post there.
  • Page Name: Under my profile picture at the very top you can see my Page Name “Jennifer Peacock-Smith”. It is my writing name, my author name, but if this page was a business or a band, the Page Name would be the name of your choosing. Mine is my personal name because I am an author but yours might be your stage name, business name, WordPress blog name …whatever you choose.
  • Username: Private Accounts & Profiles are in general simply your own name. There are thousands of John Smiths in the world and all of them can have Facebook Page called John Smith (have fun finding YOUR John Smith) but in many ways it means that you can have a level of secrecy by being one of thousands if you don’t want everyone under the sun to find you. But if you have a FbPAGE, you are able to have a unique Username as well. My FbPAGE has me as my full name (Jennifer Peacock-Smith), and technically I could be one of many, but my username is @JPeaSmith, which is unique. If you want to find my page and know my username, I am easy to find.
  • Tag (& Tagging). This has been a part of Facebook for a long time, and it is a way to alert someone that you are posting about them, or bringing their attention to something that you are including them in. All you used to have to do is use the @ followed by someone’s Facebook name and a link would automatically connect and alert both them and their friends. It has gone under some changes in the last few years and they are important to note if you want to use them: The first is that you no longer use the @ to tag someone, you simply start typing their name and the option of tagging them appears which you can click on or ignore. The second change however is only relevant to Usernames which are only used on pages. If you want to tag me personally to your post, then you just do what I said in number 1, however if you want to tag my FbPAGE, then using my NAME (even the name of my page) won’t work, but using my Username (which has a @ in it already) works.
  • Followers: As explained last week, a private Facebook account has friends only. This means that all connections go both ways. But FbPAGEs only have followers. These are the people who “like” your page, and when they do so, they become a follower of your page. Your page will appear on their newsfeed and they will feel that they are part of the community that is interested in you. If you want to get your name, your business, your blog out there, you need people to follow you. If you link your FbPAGE to your blog to automatically post each time you blog, then you are now tapping into the Facebook community who might otherwise not know about your blog…