What Happens When Social Media Works
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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