This question came up yesterday during a social media presentation at work. It piqued my interest because it perfectly marries my interest in being a YA author with my day job as a social networker and SEO guru.
It made me stop and think for a minute. But the answer is actually a pretty simple no. Books are just plain media. The book is a one-way engagement with a reader. The discussion that follows after a reader (and/or author) engages with it, will hopefully become social media via Tweets, Facebook posts, school discussions, book clubs, and the conference scene. And authors put themselves in a better (and inexpensive) marketing position if they use that in some way. There is so much talk of social media these days, I’ve been avoiding blogging too much about it. But, as it is, I happen to have a paying job that encourages me to learn about social media and networking to my hearts content and beyond.
If there is one thing I ‘m learning as I go along my social networking way at work, it’s that much of what we do mimics what naturally happens in the online world. We just give that a big boost. And, what’s happening right now is that Google is measuring your online presence based on frequency of content and authority of content. My understanding is that some of that authority is based on how many people are “liking” and “tweeting” your content. Google is taking into consideration that it’s not just how many times you “tell” Google “I’m important” but rather it’s who is saying it and how often. And that my friends, means social networking is a dominating force. It’s no longer about simply having a website; it’s all about engaging. Just as writers are encouraged to meet and engage their readers in person, I’d say it’s just as important to meet and engage with Google. And I’m pretty sure Google is here to stay, at least for a huge portion of the years in which I’m building a career as an author. Because seriously, who still uses a phone book? Encyclopedias? Gets news from an actual paper?
So, while a book may not be social media, I think the author should definitely be engaged in social media. I think writers are sometimes resistant to this. And I get it. I told my dad in junior high that I didn’t need to learn to type. Where would I be now if I hadn’t have learned? It’s time for us all to accept that social media is around. I’m no expert, but I predict Facebook and Twitter are the typewriters of the social networking world. Who knows what the PC and MAC will turn out to be. But, they’re coming. Don’t be left behind. Oh, and P.S. I wouldn’t mind terribly if you clicked the tweet button at the bottom of this post.