What Happens When Social Media Works

Posted by on May 27, 2013 in VG Authors Collection | 8 comments

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by Christina Carson

While waiting on a printing project required by my day job, I sat down next to another woman also waiting. We both glanced at the magazines provided, but three-year-old news stories have never had much allure for me. Seems they didn’t for her either as she wasted no time in pulling her kindle out of her purse. I perked up. “What sort of books do you like to read?” I asked.

 

Remember the days when that was one of our normal forms of social media. We were in bookstores then with the aroma of coffee filling the air, a deep quiet about us, and the shop owner’s cat asleep in our favorite chair, while people swapped good reads like kids trading baseball cards. It was legitimate to turn to a total stranger and ask, “Have you read this?” For the next ten minutes, she and I re-enacted those days, and then remembering we were in the print shop, she said in wistful way, “This is my favorite way to find good books, someone giving me suggestions I can check out. Even though I have genres I favor; mostly, I look for good writers and people to lead me to them.”

 

I would have perhaps wallowed in nostalgia for the rest of the morning had I not begun opening blogs when I got home, ones I keep tally on for a new group of writers, the Venture Galleries Authors Collection, who have accepted the challenge to prove to themselves and others that the social media we’re stuck with now can work as well, if not better than that of the past in leading readers to writers.

 

So it was a great morning for me to open litigatrix, Maria Granovsky’s blog first, “I Want to Open a Bridal Salon,” which had me howling. It was a hilarious trip through a greener pastures fantasy that you’d be lying if you said you’d never experienced yourself. Then there was Gae-Lynn Woods’ “Chasing the Dragon – Or Why I Write,” who shared a great deal of herself, her life and her loves by cleverly revealing them in a blog about why she chases dragons. Next, Jim Ainsworth contended, “We Read to Know We Are Not Alone,”  offering a touching essay on loss and gain and how we recognize the former but sometimes almost miss the latter.

As I continued reading, I realized I had been looking for this group for a long time — people of substance, talent and enough guts to dangle their toes over the edge of this new frontier and take it on, creating a future that joins readers and writers in an increasingly meaningful way.

 

It’s an international group of writers to boot, people who have lived long enough to have some fine tales to tell and rightly enough to know who’s telling them tall or telling them true. It is a rare opportunity to meet stimulating people who want to meet you the reader as well, fine writers who’ll gift you with, as Gae-Lynn Woods says in her blog, “… the power of a story to enchant and transport. I believe the writing of such a story is a gift to the reader. Yes, I write to satisfy my selfish need for the dragon, but also to feed those whose hunger for escape is as great as my own.”

 

Until now, I doubted the power of today’s social media to connect us in any significant, long term way. I’m a mature woman, which means old, bored by the snippets of life 140 characters permit yet rebuffed by reams of blogs with no purpose or intent behind them. I don’t have that kind of time to waste. But who I began to get to know today, through their blogs, are my fellow writers in the Authors Collection, a group of people who I am honored to be with. Together we are going to define a new relationship between reader and writer, one that will shape contemporary social media’s ability to bring writers and readers together in a fuller sense of community than we have yet known. I mention it to you dear reader because I know how exciting and fulfilling it is to read well-written, informative material. That’s when social media works. That is what truly connects people, yet using the oldest means of them all – the gift of an honest exchange of something of recognizable worth.

 

We invite you to start poking around Venture Galleries. You might not be able to smell the coffee or pet the cat, but you’ll find people worth knowing and writing worth reading all in a context that welcomes readers. See you there.

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This blog is also available on my blog site at: My Blog>VG Authors Collection

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8 Comments

  1. I love the way you put it, all that’s missing is the smell of coffee! Maybe in the not too distant future, a techie Mark Zuckerberg will be able to provide us with that too…

    But you’ve put your finger on it: the real difficulty is to communicate with our readers…I would love nothing better than to discuss my books with them, give them suggestions as to where they can find other great reads but the standard digital set-ups – like Amazon’s book search system based on best-seller lists and unclear categories that often overlap (but other e-platforms are no better) – means that there is very little interaction with readers. Blogs are perhaps the best places to provide that, thanks to the comments section – I do hope readers will feel they want to comment but I notice a lot of people don’t…What a pity, if only they knew how much bloggers long to reach out and respond to comments!

    • Christina Carson

      Don’t despair, Claude. We have some ideas about how to start that happening and what a boon for both writers and readers. It is a dream of mine too. It’s never been about fame for me but the possibility of exchange with people of like interests and curiosities. And it WILL come.

  2. Wonderful piece, Christina. I’m one of those mature women who remembers watching black and white television and has been fortunate enough to have had many profound conversations with some of the most amazing people. I think as authors and writers we do long for those who wish to reach out to us via a comment. Engaging with each other is so important, but we all seem so time poor today. I hope there will come a time when the possibility of exchange becomes abundant again. After all, we are by nature organic creatures and with that naturally curious. 🙂

  3. Christina Carson

    Most appreciative of your stopping by, Vacentaylor, and sharing your interesting thoughts. It feels to me, due to the pervasive nature of media these days, social or otherwise, people have chosen to isolate themselves. But always, in the end, our need is connection, and there is nothing so grand as the satisfying experience of meaningful conversation. It’s just a tad more challenging to find such people, and yet here you are from across the sea.

  4. Thanks for mentioning me and for the reassuring words. I have always doubted (and still am not totally convinced) that social media might actually work except in outlier situations. However, I am honored to participate with this group. I was surprised to see Gae-Lynn quote the book Flow. I have used it repeatedly for almost two decades and inadvertently began using it as an underlying theme for my first novel, then repeated it for three more. We need to figure out a way to exchange books.

    • Christina Carson

      Always good to have you stop by, Jim. I would say it isn’t so much believing in social media as believing in ourselves and the direction our gut moves us. Twenty or so of us have moved into this group, and in my heart, for good reason. That we can’t see how it will work need never be a factor, only that we all have a common intent. There is huge power in that. Ask this old shepherd who had never touched a sheep in her life when the first 20 arrived our piece of raw land serving as our “farm.” All we wanted was to redeem this breed of sheep and become best in the world in that breed. A rather ludicrous dream by two woefully ignorant people. But 12 years later, we won the world grand championship in our breed. We are blessed to have an interpreting and talented group of people to share this trip. And you are right, we need to do whatever assists us in connecting more deeply and sharing our books and lives, for the ride is always more compelling than the arrival. And we have started to ride.

  5. I’ve been reading about the Author Collective. There are some good writers associated with it. Kudos to Caleb Pirtle and Stephen Woodfin for launching it, as well as Venture Galleries.

    • Christina Carson

      Thanks so much Mary Ann. I think more than many have allowed themselves to realize, we are all hungry – readers and writers – to regain connection in this new publishing scene, and connection can occur where there is substance and talent and imagination in the writing offered at a high enough skill level as to be satisfying to read. So I am delighted you have found us. I am delighted I too have found this group, and I will pass on your kind words to Stephen and Caleb.

Thoughtful comments are always welcome!

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