My first post on social media discussed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and why social media is necessary for writers. This post I’ll discuss Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr.
Google+, a.k.a. Google Plus, is the social networking component of Google’s suite of applications that includes mail, calendar, Hangouts, and Drive, to name just a few. In Google+ you create circles – as many as you like – which can be private or public, and you can add or invite anyone to join a circle. You write posts, which can include images and videos, and share with any or all circles. Google+ also allows for the creation of communities, which is useful when you are building an author platform or want to become part of a larger writers network. Google+ also integrates with all of Google’s applications you can have video chats with your circles, share your calendar with them, or even share documents with them.
My critique group uses Google Hangouts to meet virtually on the weeks that we don’t meet in person. While there are still a few wrinkles about how it works that we are ironing out, it is a wonderful way to stay connected. Advantages of the platform include being able to form and join communities, not having to pay for those in your circle to see your content, and – possibly the most important – posts on Google+ have higher visibility in Google search rankings.
Google+ is one of the few social networking platforms that has a predominantly male user base (70%). The marketing share of this platform is also increasing, and is currently at just over 38%.
While there are a large number of writers and writing communities on Google, I was unable to track down specifics on which writers are using it best. This may indicate that it is a good place to start if you want to avoid the crowds over at Facebook.
Tip: Start with Google+ how you plan to continue – have circles for friends, family, peers, readers, fans, etc. – however you slice and dice your community will work.
Pinterest – the online pin board for interests – is a social media platform that consists of images either uploaded from your own content, or bookmarked from all over the Internet. It is a very visual medium, and you can have multiple pin boards that can be public or private. You can follow boards, be followed, ‘like’ boards, or repin images from other boards onto your boards. Pinterest has a market share of 15%, and attracts mostly women (84%).
There are a number of ways that writers use Pinterest including visual story planning, topic story boards, quotes and inspiration, visual writing prompts, images from or of their books, and to support other writers by sharing their work. In fact, if you search for ‘authors using Pinterest’ on Pinterest, you’ll find a whole slew of boards showing how authors are using Pinterest to build their communities.
Writers using Pinterest to great effect include Julie Hyzy, Allison Brennan, and Bill Cameron.
Tip: While Pinterest is a very visual board it does help to include meaningful descriptions with your pins.
Tumblr is a social micro-blogging platform that allows you to create multiple blogs, and post a variety of content to your blog, including text, audio, video, photographs, and links. You can like and reblog posts, follow blogs, be followed, send and receive messages, comment to other blogs, respond to comments on your blogs, and customize your blogs. Tumblr tends to have less original content, is more geared towards sharing existing content, with over 40% of posts being photographs or graphics.
Tumblr has approximately 6% share of the market, is more popular with those under 35 (45%), mainly in the 18-29 age groups, and almost evenly split between genders (53% female, 47% male). Tumblr users also hold in person meetups, and form communities which are identified by a shared hashtag, an example of which is #superwholock – a community of fans of the TV shows Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, and Supernatural. There are also fan communities for other types of art including writing.
A couple of writers who use Tumblr to its full potential include Jami Attenberg, Bennett Madison, and Roxane Gay.
Tip: Tumbr lets you queue your posts, so you can keep an active online presence even when you take an extended vacation.
This concludes my review of social networking platforms. As I discussed in my original post, social networking is great for building a community. The first step is to determine what kind of community you want, and then go from there.