Sunday, April 15, 2012

April Platform Challenge: Day 15

Some people have trouble with platform building, because they carry around the wrong ideas about what they're trying to do. For instance, some writers think they're just trying to push their information out to others. Still others think they're just trying to gather huge numbers of friends and followers. But how I view social media and networking (online and off) is an attempt to make real connections with others like-minded people. There may be moments when you're able to help others; there may be moments when others may be able to help you.


Years before connecting with Laurie Kolp in the real world,
we connected online through my various poetry challenges.

For today's task, make an attempt to connect with at least three new people on one of your social networks. Doesn't matter if it's Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+. The important thing is that you find three new people who appear to share your interests and that you try to friend, follow, or connect to them.

As a person who has limited wiggle room for approving new friends on Facebook, I'd like to share what approach tends to work the best with me for approving new friend requests. Basically, send your request and include a brief message introducing yourself and why you want to connect with me.

That's right. The best way to win me over is to basically introduce yourself. Something along the lines of, "Hello. My name is Robert Lee Brewer, and I write poetry. I read a poem of yours in XYZ Literary Journal that I totally loved and have sent you a friend request. I hope you'll accept it." Easy as that.

Notice that I did not mention anything about checking out my blog or reading my poems. How would you like it if someone introduced themselves and then told you to buy their stuff? It sounds a bit telemarketer-ish to me.

Anyway, the assignment today is pretty straightforward. Reach out and make a few new connections that are thoughtful and may lead somewhere new and exciting.

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Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Plus, sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.


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How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Writing and Yourself.

In the webinar How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Writing and Yourself, super freelance writer I.J. Schecter teaches writers how to avoid the most common social media pitfalls, how to respond to others strategically, how to get work for yourself by talking about others, and more.

Click to continue.

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Need to catch up or re-visit earlier challenge tasks? Here the most recent:

88 comments:

Terri Hall said...

I love this task. The social networking piece of this challenge has been, well, challenging. I get it. At least I think I get it. Then I don't. Today's task is just what I needed to focus; I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Thanks for the intro suggestion; social networking etiquette has the parent in me a bit confused. Clarity brings peace. Thanks!

Lauren Miller said...

I reached out to 3 new people on Twitter by searching for topics I've been blogging about recently. I hope that counts.

CERN Wife said...

Wow! I really got on a roll with LinkedIn and asked 6 people to connect. I wrote personal messages, of course, because LinkedIn's canned message is too impersonal.

Now I've finally caught up with the April Platform Challenge's challenges, but starting tomorrow I'll be traveling, and will, once more, have a lot of catching up to do starting next Monday (the 23rd).

Diane said...

I have been adding new connections daily on twitter and linkedin based on the people i am meeting from this challenge :)

Jennifer said...

Twitter has been awesome. I connected with two writers because they introduced themselves to me. It was cool to talk (tweet) to other writers. Got my third connection on Facebook. Amazing what can be done when you try. Thanks for the push.

Barbara Morrison said...

Done. Tried different networks (1 on Twitter, 1 on LinkedIn, 1 on G+). Character limits on Twitter & LinkedIn are probably good for me ;-)

bolton carley said...

Robert, I have to agree with you about being telemarketer-ish. I tend to stick to finding new people on twitter and the new places you've introduced us, too. I add people to facebook only after I know them better since all my personal stuff is there.

Anne Kimball said...

I gotcher connection right here:

On Fri, I found out a blogger I follow and really admire (Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy, who just had her first book published) was doing a book signing at a store about 45 mins from me. So I loaded the kids in the car and headed out there. Got to meet her, face to face! I got to speak to her for a few minutes and told her about this challenge for building up platform. Her advice to me was to concentrate on FB, and to get a fan page.

I have to say, I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed in the last few days trying to add and keep up with all these new social media sites. So Not-Bob, can you speak to the value of a FB fan page vs a friend page?

Thanks!

Mary Bauer said...

I worked on adding to my Google+ networks since I just signed up yesterday. I often use social media to connect with teacher/writers, so this was easy.

Sarah Negovetich said...

I concentrated on Google+ since it's the only new account I have. I did a basic search for 'writers'. I found some interesting folks and as a bonus found two new blogs I'm going to start reading. I also found a writers group. This site is a lot easier to use than what I thought at first seeing it.

Kasie Whitener said...

Done, mostly on LinkedIn. Did "like" several authors' pages on Facebook.

Joy Weese Moll said...

I took some advice I read somewhere about Twitter: follow the followers of someone who does what I do. I ended up following 25 new people and set a goal to do that every day for the rest of the month.

I find a bunch of new book bloggers and I thought I was pretty tapped into that social network.

Erika D. said...

Well, making progress here. Sort of. In keeping with the spirit of keeping things manageable (a theme in some of my recent comments), I didn't so much look for completely "new" contacts as fill in some gaps.

For instance, I sent a LinkedIn invitation to someone I've worked with who showed up on my "people you may know" feed (but I *only* connect w/people I know/have worked with on LinkedIn anyway). I accepted a suggestion to "like" a Facebook page for a new book by an author I know. And I followed someone on Twitter who, similarly, was not entirely "new" to me (and who wrote a blog post last week that I found really interesting).

So, yes, "done." Sort of. I think.

Rachel Z Cornell, The ProNagger said...

I have a question: I clicked on “friend request” on someone I found interesting on FB. I thought a window would open with room for a comment before the request was sent. Instead the request just was sent. Do I send that person a separate massage now? I’m reluctant to do that because doesn’t it pop up as a chat on their computer?

Any help here would be welcome.

Romelle Broas said...

Done. Made 1 connection on Twitter and 2 on blogger. That is all the time I have for now.

Melanie Cole said...

done. Loved this one!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

I am finished! I connected with a person on twitter by following and complimenting their blog, I introduced myself to my groups on LinkedIn, as well as requested a new connection, and I promoted an acquaintance's blog hop. I hope those all count!

Michelle said...

Done - I used my new Google+ profile to start building my list and connecting with fellow MNINB members. This is sooooooo much fun!

Rebecca Barray said...

Done. ;)

Laura Diane said...

DAY 15 done.

Robert Lee Brewer you asked for suggestions for the challenge so last night I was thinking about how many posts I've seen reluctant to move into Google+ Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. I understand these sites may be relevant for some, but not all of us on the challenge. So, as part of the challenge instead of having us set up profiles on all of these sites how about you just ask us to spend time browsing the sites and seeing if it would fit into our platform.

Personally, I only have time for 2, maybe 3 social media sites. I'm interested to find the right ones, but not real keen on spreading my personal info all over the place when I won't be using the sites later.

Loving all that I'm learning from the challenge though.

Gerry said...

New contact on Google+ (the MNINB challenge group is great there!), two new writer "likes" on Facebook. Harder than I would have thought; so many writers have fan pages, not friend pages.

Another challenge done! Feels good.

Kirra said...

Done!

Lauri Meyers said...

Ooh, Robert you are pushing us to the uncomfortable soft underbelly of real friend making. Once I got over how squishy it was, I had a few great conversations.

Jen McPeek said...

I've been getting better at interacting with people lately, so this shouldn't be too hard for me :)

Jo Ann J. A. Jordan said...

This is easy on Twitter because most of the suggestions I get for following are writers. I follow many writers and publishing business people. So it is done.

Thank goodness you are not making this challenge too hard, what with the PAD Challenge as well.

Claudia Karabaic Sargent said...

I reached out to a literary agent, to Meghan O'Rourke ("The Long Goodbye"), and Joan Didion. As D. H. Lawrence said, I may as well be taken for a sheep as for a lamb.
So, done for today!

the whatnot shop said...

Okay, just got home ... 1 down, 2 to go ... :-)

Misky said...

Done. One on Google+ and 2 on Twitter.

Jane Ann McLachlan said...

Just finished challenge 14. Google+ is all worried that I don't have any friends - keeps telling me I must be lonely. But I don't really know what to do with Google+. So I wrote a little post and left myself all alone there. If anyone here is so inclined, I'm at janeannmclachlan@gmail.com. At least I think that's my Google+ address. Looks more like an email address to me. Am I missing something here?

Bob, I still can't get challenge 13. I try to put links at the end on my blog on wordpress (janeannmclachlan.wordpress.com)but all I can do is put them on my about page.
Have added 3 friends on Facebook.

Jane Ann McLachlan said...

Darn. NotBob, I Mean. 'Not' for short? Or Robert? RobertLee?
You never say what you ARE to be called.

Beth Stilborn said...

First of all, I agree wholeheartedly with what Laura Diane said.

Second, I asked to join a children's writer's group on LinkedIn, and followed several groups and individuals on Twitter, but failed on the connection thing.

I do connect with people on a fairly regular basis, but am trying to build connections in the arts/theatre world, so am going to have to come out of my shell a bit, I'm sure.

F.S. (Sharon) Vander Meer said...

This is an interesting and motivating exercise. I am connecting with people and surprisingly it is the Google+ connections that are working the best. Go figure. When I set it up and had no confidence AT ALL that it would work. So, Robert, thanks one more time for encouraging me to move into social networking and platform building in more creative ways.

Susan Craig said...

This took some time for me. I read blogs, posted comments and twittered. Then I sent a friend request--no way to send a message anymore, apparently. But the other efforts had identified me, I guess, because it was approved.
Dropped comments all over a blog I like, but could find no fb link or twitter link. Perhaps she will find me. And finally, tweeted more with someone I follow and would like to interact with more. So did a lot, but only one solid response so far. Anyway, done.

Khara House said...

Done. Made a few new connections on Twitter ... and in terms of really "reaching out," I finally sent my letter to Nikky Finney! Now scared to death ... but done. (PS--Eternally grateful to this challenge for giving me just one more reason to follow through with my promise to myself to write NF. I don't know that I ever would have built up enough courage on my own!)

Beth Stilborn said...

I have a LinkedIn question. Could you explain what the "2nd" and "3rd" beside people's names means?

I noticed that some people are "outside my network" or something. Does that mean I can't invite them? or that they won't associate with me? or what?

caryl said...

Um...not completely sure I'm getting this. Following 3 more people on twitter I could do in my sleep. ( ain't I awesome? Ha). Are we supposed to engage them in some way? Have a l'il give n' take? Start a convo? As you can see, I know all the terminology so I must be good at it.

OK, I'm starting to annoy even myself, so I'll go away now and follow 3 new awesome people on twitter.

Susan P said...

Done. I concentrated on LinkenIn and invited some people that I know. I searched out a couple of writers that I admire, hoping to figure out a way to contact them with a personal message (Not of the creepy variety!) but couldn't really get past their personal firewalls. That is OK by me - just thought I'd give it a try.

Lara Britt said...

I agree. I'm becoming a fan of G+ even as I was MOST resistant to trying it out. I made connections. I'm trying to leave comments on people's blogs. Meaningful ones, I hope. I figure they will like the traffic as well as the comments. Plus, I like seeing everyone's blogs. Weekends I have less time. I'm opposite everyone. So I catch up midweek. But I'm done with this challenge so I guess I'm not behind really.

Anonymous said...

Done...it was actually more difficult than I thought it would be, but I think the effort was worth it.

Veronica Roth said...

Done. This challenge was nice. It's wonderful to connect to new people. I'd love if more people would add me on Facebook, mainly because I prefer Facebook to Twitter or Google+ etc. Like Anne Kimball, I'm interested in what the benefits of a fan page are as opposed to a personal page on FB. I guess it’s less intimidating to have a fan page to “like” rather than to ask to be added to a personal page. (Which I have right now) Robert or anyone, if you find some useful info on that, please share.

Monique Liddle said...

I have made one new contact. She has facial nerve pain like me. I am hoping to hear from the other people I contacted on Google+, who also have facial nerve pain.

I really enjoy G+ and look forward to when it becomes a more prominent social media network. Robert, you used to use your G+ site, but now you don't even have a link to it from you blog and you have not posted on G+ since August. What are your reasons for not using G+? Just curious-that's all.

Elissa Field said...

This is a good challenge. I agree with your suggestion to add a personal note. It's worth underscoring that point, since it seems like the media formats have gone to insta-buttons that click through without *suggesting* you add a message, now (fb, at least, seems to have streamlined past the message option, compared to its older format). It's worth searching out the option to add the message, if it is not immediately apparent.

My day's contacts included sharing a suggestion about yoga with one person, requesting & receiving advice about google+ in the #mninb on twitter, connecting with 2 writers I'd come across, and sharing connections with a new contact.

I've been glad to hear from so many of our participants, here - it turns out lots of us have things in common.

Nicole said...

Hey Nicole here. Done.
Until tomorrow

Pat Walsh said...

This was a great assignment! There were several people whose work I've encountered in recent months who I never had time to contact, and today's task gave me the exact encouragement I needed to sit down and carefully, thoughtfully construct a note to each individual that explains why I'm making contact and why I'd like to add them to my Facebook friends list.

My three new friends include an author whose work fascinates me; an indie filmmaker who is working on a project whose progress I've followed for some time; and a poet who spoke at my local Writers' Center back in December whose work inspired me to follow up with a brief note of admiration. All very worthwhile people to know, and to whom I can hopefully be a worthwhile friend — offline as well as on!

SaraV said...

Robert, this platform building has been very enlightening. Not just in the mental sense, as in doing new things--stretching, it's brought me in touch with people I didn't know (even before this Day 15 challenge) and opening my eyes to the fact there are people out there who actually enjoy my poems. I never wrote a blog because I figured why foist this on everyone...nice to see I was wrong :-)

hcfbutton said...

I tried a few people, fingers crossed that they respond. I reached out to a few people in the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, a topic I covered in my thesis. So, we'll see!

Kyle Robinson said...

I got connections on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, BUT on Linked In I'm kinda short because I still don't know exactly what to do with linked in so I'm a bit on the learning curve there.

De said...

Done.
Plus also, I got to meet Daniel Ari and his wife IN PERSON last night, right here in Vegas! I should get bonus points, right? ;)

Love the photo of you and Laurie. What fun to actually meet face-to-face after reading each other's work for 3 years. Daniel and I wrote three ping-pong tanka last night (passing back and forth between lines). Great fun.

DIana said...

Before I even read this blog today, I ended up accidentally doing what you suggest, Robert. I connected with three people I randomly met! I will also try to friend some more people on FB or Twitter, or LinkedIn, but it is something I generally do day-to-day. I must be doing something right after all! Thanks, Robert!

Stephanie Puckett said...

Done!

PSC said...

Done... on facebook -- my "comfort zone". :-]

Michael Grove said...

3 new of facebook and 6 new on Twitter!

Gail Kushner said...

Done. I connected with several people on LinkedIn. I still have to go back and create a Google+ account. I was waiting to see what the Google+ comments were before I set up an account. I have the impression that whichever network I am on, I'm talking to the same people.

Lynn said...

Done.

Claudette Young said...

For this one, I was a day ahead of you, Robert. I do this on a regular basis, both for Google+ and LinkedIn, and a few times a month on BranchOut and Facebook.

It was a good thing, too. Today will be a madhouse around here.

Thanks for all you're doing to prepare us for success.

E. B. Pike said...

Done. Thanks, Robert! I totally agree with your approach.

I'm always annoyed when someone follows up their follow or friend request with a message for me to like their facebook page or buy their book on Amazon.

Khara House said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooke Ryter said...

Done! Actually, I do this every day. =)

Brandi Amara Skyy said...

yea! done! great advice. i decided to do 2 facebook and one twitter. now just waiting for acceptance!!

Julia Tomiak said...

Done! Last week someone sent me a tweet that they had liked my blog and followed it. I really appreciated that and will try to use that approach more often with people I start following.

Rhonda Parrish said...

Done.

Kendra Merritt said...

Done, though my least favorite part of social media is the social aspect of it. I'd be a hermit if I could.

Skipperhammond@gmail.com said...

Send friend requests to four or five, working from friends of friends, checking out their profiles/Timelines to see if we shared interests. Slow. There must be some interest group function on Facebook. It took so long I didn't get to other networks but---
Quoting Gail Kushner: I have the impression that whichever network I am on, I'm talking to the same people.

imunuri said...

Done and continuing to did. Also delighted and thrilled last weekend to meet De Jackson in person, an online-only friend for three years. So great when an in person meeting materializes. We already knew we had so many interests and sensibilities in common.

Pamela Toler said...

Done, for today. This is an on-going process for me.

Mary said...

Done--at last. "Friended" a Platform participant whose comments mirror my thoughts. Found another soul sister blog through #1 contact (LinkedIn to her). Which led to a new blogger and new Twitter contact. Total = three!

The PLUS: the 3rd contact has a beautiful poem that I'm requesting to use in a speech I am giving this weekend. Life is good this morning.

Now, if I can just get a blog out of the frozen writing side of my brain. . . .

Meg Miller said...

Done. I was away for the weekend, getting caught up. Tweeted, retweeted and hooked up with someone on Facebook. This is fun!

Evelyn said...

I did this yesterday, and it was fun.

Paul Ellis said...

Done! Twitter is by far the easiest way to connect with people. I sure that says something about my attention span and 140 characters.

Muddy said...

Done!

Janann Giles said...

Done!

Ivy said...

This is a GREAT task, and this challenge makes it easier because of all of the great people involved!

LOVE "meeting" you all!

GoingVeggie said...

Done! 'Forgot to post about it right away. Again, I work in batches. :) Lots o' great folk here.

Cameron said...

Done. And done. and done. Now, if only I could keep up all of these things on an ongoing basis, I might actually have a huge platform! Seriously, though, I have to find a way to do everything in about 15 minutes a day. That seems to be my limit.

Blyth McManus said...

Done! Thanks.

Kirjk said...

Done.

Sheila Good said...

New friends and connections made! @Friday Fictioneers & twitter.

ceeess said...

Sent out about 10 friend requests on FB, will see what happens.

Charley said...

When I started using my LinkedIn account more (see challenge #8), I decided to start a new group, eWriter's Platform Builders, (http://goo.gl/Qd8dg) based on MNINB. So far there are 34 members. That's how I completed this challenge.

Kerry said...

I get in a rut so easily. I was just connecting with others from my blog or facebook. Then realized I have all these other options. So went to LinkedIn and Twitter and went kind of wild. But it's all good.

Denise Stanley said...

Done. I sent an invitation to two children's writers and one agent on LinkedIn.

Claudine Jaboro said...

Done! I'm trying to get caught up and it just naturally happened in the process. I guess that's what happens when you are among good people and a great group!:)

Rena J. Traxel said...

Done. I did my connecting on Twitter (8). Challenges are such a great way to connect with others. I was looking for group of children writers to connect with so I joined Julie Hedlund's 12x12in2012 challenge and now have a huge group of writers to turn to.

Shirley is not my name said...

I have been making new connections since I started the challenge; through FB, LinkedIn (which I hadn't used in 2 years) and Twitter.

Cerece Rennie Murphy said...

Done. This was a hard one, but I finally got around to it today.

Fred Shrum, III said...

Guess who is my new Facebook friend? True-crime author Ann Rule. How cool is that?

Monica Miller said...

Done! Scary and exciting.

Pennie De Witt said...

Did it! FB is different now. They charge you $1 to send messages to people you don't know. Otherwise the messages go to their "Other" box. I sent one to the first person. After that I realized it was probably fruitless and that they were not very likely to look in their "Other" boxes. So, I just started randomly firing off friend requests to people who were suggested by FB, based on the numbers of mutual friends we had. I've had one accept so far. I don't know how many I sent. I think it was at least six.