Face Bookishness

Today I’m going to blog about something totally unrelated to writing, and that’s Facebook. I joined it last night. Here is what I know so far:

People are writing on my wall.
There are things called “stories”–this can only be a good thing, right? Though I don’t think they’re actually stories.
Something about vampires.
Scrabulous, whatever.
Facebookers actually use their own pictures for their icons (I’m using my dragon; is this bad?)
I have Facebook friends I’ve never met (is that creepy, or just part of the deal?)
The friends I do know and have met are all cackling and saying (on my wall) things like “welcome to the dark side.”

The reason I joined was because I’m in this novel writer cross-promotion group (the Class of 2K8 for new YA/MG novelists), and the others were saying Facebook is a good way to reach BLT’s (book buyers, librarians, teachers). Also my friends have been talking about this Scrabulous thing.

So tell me please, what does a new Face Booker needs to know about Facebook?

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  1. 1. Jim C. Hines

    If I knew, I’d tell you… I’ve been on Facebook for a month or two, and haven’t figured it out yet.

    I did find that you could import blog entries from LJ or elsewhere as RSS “notes,” which I’ve done. But for me, it hasn’t been as strong a networking site as others. If you have the secrets to reaching the BLTs, please e-mail me :-)

    Worst case scenario, I figure it can’t hurt to have the info out there. And I did find a few old High School friends, which was fun…

  2. 2. Deb

    Facebook etiquette is that one uses ones real name, but not necessarily ones real face (Billie is my icon on Facebook). As opposed to LiveJournal where one uses neither.

    I’m not yet convinced that anyone ‘gets’ Facebook who didn’t start using it as a college student. However, check out the groups and join those, that will get you more info on events or discussions or announcements.

    Also, Billie has a Dogbook page. You should friend her because she is lonely and has no friends :-(

  3. 3. S.C. Butler

    I haven’t even joined yet, so I’m really behind the curve on this one. There is an interesting article in the current issue of Atlantic about Facebook vs the other social networking sites. Or, if you really want to know what’s going on, talk to my two recent college grad daughters. Or anyone else you know that age.

  4. 4. Sarah Prineas

    Right, college students!!

    I didn’t realize how big it was with that particular group. I know a lot of college students, because of my job, and wow, a lot of them are on Facebook (which is great, because I love ‘em). It blurs friendship with more professional relationships, doesn’t it? Didn’t expect that.

  5. 5. Maura McHugh

    Dear Sarah, don’t feel afraid to ignore a friend request. If you don’t start doing that then you will have loads of “friends” that you’re not entirely comfortable having access to your personal profile. However, you can always restrict the access of any of your friends to see just your public profile.

    Personally, I think Facebook is one of the better social networking systems I’ve seen on offer (I’ve tried a lot of them). You can sign up for groups, as well as events (very handy for sf conventions). The ethos of the site is pretty friendly, and thus far has not been overwhelmed by nuisance notices.

    I haven’t bothered importing livejournal entries into Facebook yet, but I might do so eventually. I’ve plenty of friends who are into Scrabulous too, but I have yet to play a game (I’m usually too busy).

  6. 6. R.J. Anderson

    It’s for playing Scrabble, I tell you!

    Seriously, it’s pretty good for scheduling events and letting people know what you’re up to lately, without having to write a big long post about it. And it’s brought me back in touch with a lot of people I hadn’t heard from/about in years. But otherwise… I dunno. I probably haven’t figured out how to use it properly yet.

    *goes over to friend you*

  7. 7. Bran fan

    What I’m wondering is the difference between facebook and myspace. It seems that myspace skews older. Is that right? I haven’t joined either one and am intimidated.

  8. 8. Sarah Prineas

    Bran fan, I have NO idea. I tried Myspace once and was put off by the interface, ick. Facebook seems a little friendlier to use.

  9. 9. Matt

    There’s much less spam on Facebook compared to MySpace. It’s more standardized, and not as cluttered, although they are opening up customization options with third party “applications.”

    Originally, Facebook was just for college students, whereas MySpace has always been open. Then Facebook relaxed its criteria and people jumped on both. (I know there have been articles that report that certain demographics based on age, income, etc. prefer one to the other. I like Scalzi’s approach: Use as many routes as are open to you.)

    It’s probably handiest for people in school. You can find people with the same classes as you, the same major, etc. Notes act as a kind of blog and, as Jim said, you can import a feed right in. Groups to find like-minded individuals. Unlimited photo storage. And other features I’m either forgetting or don’t use much. But it’s another face to display to the Internet. I don’t know how helpful it is for public figures like BNAs, but it’s at the least another way of reaching fans and fellow writers. That’s kind of a good thing, right?

    Pat Samphire asked about this a few months ago. Maybe I should post something on LJ about Facebook 101. ^_^

  10. 10. Mari Adkins

    I’ve been on Facebook for some time now – and recently got my 16 year old on there (he’s already found a bunch of his friends there) (now to get his brother! LOL). About all I ever do there is look for friends from high school – although I’ve come to the realization that very few people I went to school with have anything to do with computers (how dare they?!). Most of the folks on my friends list are writerly folks I know from various places around cyberspace and IRL. I’m on various groups at Facebook for various things, but which of course I can’t tell you what they are off the top of my head. >.

  11. 11. Simon Haynes

    What I find really annoying about Facebook are the applications … superwalls, movie quizzes, tests and so on, which are most often thinly-disguised spam. If you click on the notification the first thing half these apps do is ask you to sign up all your friends (spam-like behaviour) and then they fill up your notes & inbox with inane messages (More spam-like behaviour.)

    So, I’ll accept friend requests but everything else gets the boot. Call me a party pooper if you want, but to me the apps are 50% entertainment and 50% virus vector, and that’s 49% too much for me.

  12. 12. Simon Haynes

    (I do use Myspace and Facebook, and find Myspace to be more about having actual conversations with people than spreading memes & cutesy crap.)

  13. 13. Anna O

    Honestly, I tend to ignore Facebook unless it emails me. It seems a lot like an online biography–a site that lets you put up as much information about yourself as you want, and is geared toward sharing that information. So, it’s like a social networking site.

    There’s a lot of customization you can do–little games to play (you may get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf), addons (like the gender-terminology one) that cater to specific interests or politics, etc. It’s also a social organizer; people can coordinate activities and gatherings.

    It’s a bit too extrovertish for me, but there are occasional things it’s useful for.

  14. 14. PamM

    I joined Facebook because of an invitation from my son. So, I filled out the information, etc, etc, etc. Then, when I was there, I thought, omg, my son doesn’t want his mom on this college-aged networking spot, so I went away without adding him. A while after that I began to get friendship offers. I like the bookshelf app.

    I joined myspace to keep an eye on the profiles of all of my kids. Because my husband had gotten paranoid about my daughter’s profile there. And who she might be meeting. I found myspace had a blog layout. And, I got a record of the readers of it. Sort of.

    There is a fairly large group of horror writers there. And, YA authors. I sometimes love to go look at the profiles of the adults. Fascinating to read the profiles and blogs of mothers. And, heartbreaking too.

  15. 15. Mari Adkins

    Pam – My boys’ friends think it’s “cool” that I’m on their friends lists at MySpace and Bebo. In fact, a lot of them have added me to their lists! :D

  16. 16. Crystal

    I just joined it a month or so ago and already I have found old college friends that I was very sad to have lost touch with 15 years ago. That alone has made it worth it to me.

    I turn down ALL friend requests from people I don’t directly know. It’s too weird for people to have such personal information from me. I am in groups for my work and college though.

    I would suggest doing searches of the groups to find other librarians and book lovers. Use the groups much like you would a bulletin board–that’s going to be the best way to get publicity in a place like that, I would think.

    But my vampire would own your vampire chump. Yessirree!

  17. 17. SarahP

    Anna, I like that idea that it’s an online biography. And Simon, I hear you about the applications. Some of them are cute (hey, cute’s not SO bad!!), but they can add clutter, which I don’t like.

    The next trick will be checking out Myspace. Argh.

Author Information

Sarah Prineas

Sarah lives in Iowa City, Iowa with her mad scientist husband and two kids. Author of the Magic Thief series; the first book is coming in summer 2008 from HarperCollins and a bunch of other publishers around the world. Visit site.

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