How naive can you get?
I had no idea writing also meant marketing. And the Internet? In the early 1990s, everyday Internet use was still confined to geeks, computer-crazed cave dwellers who preferrred the company of machines to that of humans. E-mail submissions? Perish the thought. Some Christian publishers regarded the Internet as an abomination before the Lord. I associated it mostly with headaches. The Internet opened a whole new frontier of games to my kids, who loved to zap evil cyber-villains at 1000-decibel levels.
For me, high tech was--and still is--closing a Zip-loc bag. But I let my children teach me how to e-mail because, as they said, you don't want to become a dinosaur, Mom. I admitted they were right. Dinosaurs have a habit of disappearing.
I had mastered e-mail at a reasonable level when social networking hit the scene. At first, I ranked it right up there with tight pants and top-40 songs without tunes--definitely for the under-30 crowd. Why would I want to join My Face or Spacebook? However, not only did I discover social networks enabled me to spy on my twenty-something kids and their friends, but they presented writing and career possibilities I had never imagined. I could connect with the masters and learn from them. I could lean on writer friends and offer cyber hugs and a shoulder to cry on when their protagonists turned nasty. I joined Facebook (note that I now pronounce it correctly), and I'm trying to design a Rachael M. Phillips, Author page. When I figure out how to find it without 37 clicks, maybe other people will, too.
Unfortunately, I also have shared my goofs with hundreds of viewers, a reality which makes me scrutinize every syllable I write. Twitter, especially, demonstrates the importance of editing and re-editing. One hundred forty characters do not leave much room for error--or explanations. Not only does this social network connect my Web site and Facebook pages with potential readers, it helps this card-carrying member of the Wordy Club to focus, trim and refine her thoughts.
Social networks also offer me the chance to share my faith. I continue throwing out one-liners on Twitter that I hope will give readers a grin and earn me the right to slip in an occasional truth nugget like "I wonder what Jesus did the day after His resurrection." Those less-than-140-characters resulted in surprise responses from a couple of Facebook friends who need to know Jesus is their true Friend.
And that's the best kind of social networking there is.