Social Media Minute—A List of Social Media Platforms and How They’re Used

I’ve shared a breakdown of social media platforms, along with how they’re used, on my blog in the past. But things change frequently in the digital world so it’s time for an update. 

When we know what the focus of particular network is, it’s easier to evaluate if it’s a valuable addition to our personal plan. 

So today I’m sharing a new list of social media platforms and how they’re used.

FACEBOOK: This platform prides itself on being a network that’s socially driven. It allows people to connect in an informal setting, using photos, videos, and text content to interact with friends, family, and lastly, businesses.

Median Age: 46-51

Engagement: driven by how many comments, shares and likes a specific update receives.

Edie’s Notes: One of the largest platforms and one of the most clunky. The differentiation between user, creator and advertiser is not well-defined, leading to a difficult medium to gain traction in any but a social-driven focus.

TWITTER: This is a text driven platform, although it is possible to share images and videos. Users are encouraged to interact in microbursts of information with a 140 character limit. There is more meaningful interaction than might first be imagined.

Median Age: 20-30

Engagement: driven by hashtags and retweets.

Edie’s Notes: A well-developed chain of connections dominates the value of this network. Utilize the lingo, including hashtags, and it’s simple to engage and grow a fan base.

PINTEREST: This platform is an image driven network that allows users to pin images from the web to virtual bulletin boards. Users are primarily women, and especially popular in the Midwest and southern areas.

Median Age: 28-35

Engagement: driven by repins and follows.

Edie’s Notes: Although there are a lot of uses for writers and businesses, this is still primarily a site driven by the female psyche. But do not underestimate this platform, it is, and has been for over a year, the fasted growing platform on the web.

INSTAGRAM: This is primarily an image driven platform. Users snap photos, apply special image filters, and even text overlays. They share these images with followers, as well as over other social media networks like Facebook and Pinterest.

Median Age: 18-25

Engagement: driven by image quality and likes, as well as hashtags.

Edie’s Notes: This network is a great way to connect with the younger crowd. The general user is open to finding new connections and eager to share images that resonate.

YOUTUBE: This video driven platform is a place where users can view, upload and share videos. Users can create their own channel and subscribe to others as a way of interaction and engagement.

Median Age: depends on content

Engagement: driven by subscriptions and shares.

Edie’s Notes: This is a network that understands how thing work. There are clear definitions of creator, user, and advertiser. I think this is an under utilized network for writers and bloggers.

GOOGLE +: This is what’s known as an integrated social network. It has multiple ways to connect and engage, including everything from video chats to streams of information. Users can connect with others through text, images, and video.

Median Age: 30-50

Engagement: driven by categorizing connections into ‘circles’ of influence.

Edie’s Notes: This network tends to attract a more techie crowd. But I still have high hopes that it will someday augment and/or replace the Facebook users.

LINKEDIN: This is a business platform. Users can strengthen and connect with others within their own sphere of influence. The tone on this platform is generally more formal and business focused than other networks.

Median Age: 30-50

Engagement: driven by established connections.

Edie’s Notes: This network is generally most valuable to freelance writers and speakers, rather than novelists.

These are the main networks that are useful for engagement. This is NOT an exhaustive list, and it contains my personal opinion of what works and what doesn’t with each one. Yesterday I did some research and discovered approximately 201 social media platforms. That number changes daily.

I’d love to know what network(s) are your favorites and why. Just share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Important Note: This post is only an informational post. I’m NOT changing my advice. I still think it’s only necessary for writers to have  Facebook and Twitter. Anything you want to add beyond that is fine, but that is the foundation to build from. Whatever you choose, be sure to restrict your major social media to no more than 30 minutes per day.

Social Media Minute—7 Tips to Get More Comments on Your Blog

Even today—with as many blogs on the Internet as there are—blogging is still a valuable part of building and maintaining an online community. But it’s rare for a blog to take hold and grow, if it’s not a place where comments proliferate. Almost no one likes to be lectured, and that’s what a blog can feel with it the conversation is only one-sided.

I’ll go one step further and add this comparison. Your blog is your Internet home. And because it’s your home, you are responsible for being a good host and making people feel welcome.

Facilitating conversation is just one of the duties of a good host, but it’s the one I want to concentrate on today as I share tips to get more comments on your blog.

1. Give your readers someone to relate to. This means making sure they know who wrote the blog post. Ideally your blog post should have a byline—like my name at the top of this post. But at the least, end with your name. (A byline also helps with your name recognition on search engines, but that’s a post for another time.) It’s very hard to join a conversation when you don’t know who you’re talking to.

2. Keep your post focused and don’t wander too far away from your topic. If you try to cover too much area, people won’t be comfortable commenting.

3. Make sure your post isn’t too long. If you take up too much of your audience’s time, they won’t be able to stay and chat.

4. Watch your blog formatting. Even with interesting posts, people will still do some skimming. If you have headers, bullet points and/or lists they can still join the conversation.

5. Always (yes, ALWAYS) end your post with an open ended question. People don’t always know what’s appropriate to share. By asking a question, you give them the direction they need to chime in. Remember, as a host, it’s your job not to just facilitate the conversation, but you’re responsible for starting it.

 

6. Don’t ignore your guests. If people are kind enough to comment, you need to return the favor and continue the conversation. There are exceptions, if you have more than 20 comments, or if they are very similar, it’s find to answer a couple of people at a time.

7. Remind your guests to leave a comment below. Don’t apologize by saying, “if you feel comfortable” or “if you want.” Just tell them what you’d like them to do. Sometimes that’s just what someone need to be able to work up the courage to join in.

These are the things I’ve found that encourage readers to take part in the discussion and make my blog feel like a community. What are some things that help you feel comfortable enough to take part in the conversation? Be sure to leave your thoughts below.

Extreme Book Makeover: 7 Key Ingredients to Creating Powerful Scene Tension

I watched the season finale of Once Upon a Time last night (*warning! Spoilers!*) and it was one of the best episodes in the series.  Why?  The tension!  The plot was simple – the heroine, who’d finally found her happy ending with her family, accidentally fell back into time, and thwarted the epic, historical meeting of her parents. She pulled a “Back to the Future” and erased her future.

What does she want?  To return home and live happily with her family.  Her goal – make sure her parents met, somehow.  Why? Because after a horrible childhood, she’s finally found a home.  What’s at stake?  Her life – and her son’s life.

And…standing in her way is the Evil Queen (as well as the lack of magic needed to open the time portal.)

Great set up for the episode – and even better, it makes for exactly the right ingredients to talk about how to create powerful tension in a story – and especially how to keep your Act 2 tension from saggy by creating tension in every scene.

Let’s start a definition of tension. Obstacles and Activity are not Tension. Tension is derived from a sympathetic character, who wants something, for a good reason, and who has something to lose, who then creates a specific, identifiable goal, only to run up against compelling, powerful obstacles, which then creates the realistic fear of failure.

In other words, the MBT Scene Tension Equation:

Sympathetic Character + Motivation + Want + Goals + Stakes + Obstacles + Fear of Failure.  The 7 Components of powerful scene tension.

If any of these are missing, you don’t have tension. (or you have weak tension!)

[Tweet “Learn how to write powerful Scene Tension for your novel with these 7 key ingredients #mybooktherapy #amwriting”]

How do you build that tension into a scene? Here’s are the components I use to build the Scene Tension Equation:

Sympathetic Character:  This is all about having a character that is not only likable, but relatable…and that means understanding what your character WANTS at this moment.  It’s all about looking at their greatest desires and creating a relatable motivation, something we could get behind.

Let’s go back to Once Upon a Time. Emma, the heroine, was abandoned as a baby, and grew up without a family.  She is offered a home in Storybrook, and a chance at a family… but she’s afraid of losing them.  (and the fear is realized when she falls back in time, and rewrites her future).  More, she feels like she is not a part of their fairytale world because she didn’t grow up in their world. Understanding Emma’s past is key to rooting for her.  (and the creators did this by showing us a flashback scene of Emma at the group home, watching another little girl find a family. We understand her deepest desire.)

Ask: What does POV want at this moment?

To make it Scene Specific, you next need to create a GOAL. Every deep want translates into Goal, and every scene contains a component of that Goal.

So, if we were writing Emma’s story, understanding her past, we’d say – Emma wants to be a part of her family’s story and belong to the Fairytale.  To make it scene specific, we’d narrow it and say, “Emma needs to make sure her parents meet by make sure her mother steals her father’s engagement ring.”  (how they met the first time)

You must have a specific, measurable goal in order to create scene tension (even if the POV character doesn’t know it – you as the Author must know it.). Only when you have a goal can you then create the obstacles that stand against it.

Now, to strengthen this goal, add in motivation:  WHY.  And to create it specifically for the scene, Ask:  Why do they need it right now?

In Emma’s case, the goal is immediate because her father, Prince Charming, is going to marry another woman.  She must get her parents to meet before he marries the wrong woman and erases the family line.

Which brings us to STAKES.  What will happen if they DON’T meet their goal? What fear hovers over the scene?  Clearly, Emma and more importantly, her son Henry’s entire existence is at stake.   If you don’t have stakes, then no one cares – this is probably the most important part of scene tension.

Now it’s time to build the Obstacles. What will stand in the way of your character achieving this goal? Obstacles can be People, Situations, (weather, or machines, or even government), or even a person’s own emotions/values.

In Emma’s case, it’s the Evil Queen.  She is after Snow White, Emma’s mother, and in helping her mother, Emma gets captured.  Snow White tries to save her and is also captured…and murdered.  (Good thing they live in a realm of magic…but that’s all I’m sayin’).

However, the moment when Snow White is executed makes for a powerful Fear of Failure moment. 

The Fear of Failure is the trick that will keep your readers at the edge of their seats. I first heard about this at a Donald Maas retreat, and implementing it has been key to my writing.

Here’s the trick.  Look ahead to the end of your scene and ask: Will your character reach his/her goal?

If NO, then hint at victory once, maybe twice in the scene, then disappoint them at the end.

If YES, then hint at defeat, only to surprise them at the end.

I won’t tell you how the episode ends, but the ending twist is worth waiting for.

Want to keep your tension high in Act 2?  Use the 7 components of Scene Tension for EVERY SCENE.  (yes, that’s shouting). Sympathetic Character + Motivation + Want + Goals + Stakes + Obstacles + Fear of Failure.

Go! Write Something Brilliant!

 

Featured Fiction Friday: Beth Vogt

Well the entries are in! The first round of judging is over, and we are ready to begin a new season of featured fiction. This week, we’re featuring Frasier Judge Beth Vogt’s new book Somebody Like You.

Can a young widow find love again with her husband’s reflection?

Haley’s three-year marriage to Sam, an army medic, ends tragically when he’s killed in Afghanistan. Her attempts to create a new life for herself are ambushed when she arrives home one evening—and finds her husband waiting for her. Did the military make an unimaginable mistake when they told her Sam was killed?

Too late to make things right with his estranged twin brother, Stephen discovers Sam never told Haley about him. As Haley and Stephen navigate their fragile relation­ship, they are inexorably drawn to each other. How can they honor the memory of a man whose death brought them together—and whose ghost could drive them apart?

Somebody Like You is a beautifully rendered, affecting novel, reminding us that while we can’t change the past, we have the choice to change the future and start anew.

Starred PW review:

“In Vogt’s quietly beautiful inspirational contemporary, two people learn to let go of the past and discover that God often works in mysterious ways. . . . a heartwarming tearjerker about learning what love is.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Find the Book Here!