I’ve mentioned that I have mixed feelings about social media. But I’m discovering that my love/hate relationship  is changing because I’m learning how to use it more strategically.

I’ve become pickier in befriending on Facebook and following on Twitter. A few weeks ago at the library I was asked by one of the clerks about my Facebook presence because she hadn’t seen my pithy updates for quite some time. It was one of those awkward moments, and I admitted I was still on Facebook when she blurted out, “Oh my God, you unfriended me!” Indeed I did.

Why I removed her from the list is not important for this post, but I decided that I wanted to connect with people who share the same writing ambitions, authors whom I’ve read and admire, friends from high school, college, and previous jobs, as well as groups like dog rescues, fitness groups, and political organizations. In comparison to other people’s lists, mine is small, and could  be further pared down, but what I’ve discovered is that I can organize my  Facebook friends into categories: writers/authors, workout friends, friends from San Francisco, foodies, and lefties, and favorites (those I interact with the most).

A few months ago, I returned to Twitter, and I’ve come to realize there is still so much to learn. First lesson: content is king. Provide useful information, and you’ll get interaction. But I think Twitter is more powerful than Facebook when it comes to building strategic relationships and networking. Facebook is the virtual water cooler that allows you to have long conversations and pontificate. Whereas with Twitter you have to be succinct in 140 characters. There is a lot of noise on Twitter, but it has more app tools; a better topic search function with the use of hashtags, allowing you to interact with those influencers within your industry.

As I learn more about using Twitter effectively, I’ll report on my progress. In the meantime, here’s something I learned via a webinar that was hosted by Alexis Grant and that was further explained in a post on Steve Buttry’s blog, The Buttry diary:

Using the @mention:

Ninety percent of your tweets should include an @mention. That’s right – nearly 100 percent. Nearly all your tweets.

Why the @mention is so important?

Why should most of your tweets contain an @mention? Because it helps people notice you.

Whenever you include someone else’s @handle in your tweet, that tweet shows up in their @mentions feed. Which means they’ll read your tweet. Which means they might click on your @handle to find out more about you. Which means they might follow you back.

And guess what happens if they follow you back? That opens a line for private communication via direct message, which is pretty much GOLD for your networking efforts.

It’s simple advice, but pretty nifty. I put it to the test, and guess what? It works. Do you want followers who are hardselling books and services? No, but if you are a writer on the looking for representation this is a good way to build a relationship with your dream agent and publisher, or if you’re looking to network for a job (and social media does work in getting jobs, that’s how I found my HAND/EYE gig—via Facebook, and that was almost three and a half years ago!), learn a few skills and maybe you’ll find a new career, an agent, and a boyfriend! Alexis did so why can’t you!


  • Rebeca, you know how far behind I am in the whole Twitter thing. Thank you for explaining once again and in greater detail. I tried the period in front of reply, but I’ve no way of knowing if that did any good. I’ll see what I can do with the # bit today!

    I’m glad we share a tribe!
    (By the way, I love your signature on here. Nice touch.)

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