Tag Archives: Facebook

Eight Rules Readers and Writers Need to Know For Proper Net Etiquette

You may not have noticed, but there’s a war waging out in the interwebs. It’s between readers and writers. The battlefield? Review sites like Amazon and GoodReads.

There are hundreds of articles floating around in cyberspace where you can read the dirty (and sometimes horrifying) details of what’s going on between the two sides. I don’t want to add more flotsam to the stream, so I won’t go into specifics here. What I will do is ask that everyone, readers and writers alike, think about your actions on social media. Whether it’s reviewing books or updating your Facebook status. There are real people at the other end of the computer. They have feelings. They might not look like you, or talk like you, but they are flesh and blood like you with all the crazy cool shenanigans it takes to be human. Feelings, people.

I’d love it if everyone could pop over to Anne R. Allen’s blog today and read her insightful article:

The Laws of the (Amazon) Jungle—Eight Rules Authors Need to Know to Stay Safe

I know the title says these are rules authors need to know to stay safe, but there is some good information in there for readers, too. And the comments are intriguing in and of themselves. Respectful, too. Which gives me hope.

I fully believe there IS a way to leave a review without trashing an author. Yes, we’ve all read books that totally sucked. But does it behoove you to tell the world how an author is too stupid to live because she wrote a crappy book? No.

Feelings, people. We all have them. Let’s remember that going forward.

I’m curious, do you leave reviews? Do you review books on your blog or website? Have you been the victim of trolls?

Most importantly, I want to know what we can do so this behavior isn’t accepted anymore. What can we, as a reading and writing community, do to make the internet safe for both readers and writers?

Dragon Names! RWA Prep! Movies! It’s all here today…

Hey Everyone!

I’m wicked excited today. Why? Because the website is going to be up and running soon! That means all of you fabulous readers will have to re-subscribe to the blog (boo!), BUT you’re going to love the new place and I’ve got so many fun things to share with you once the site is fully operational. (Did any of you just hear that dude from Star Wars? Good to know I’m not alone in my geekery). :)

Laird has been working her sweet tail off to get the new website to look exactly how I want it. Think dragons and diamonds! Sparkles, castles, pink, yeah, it’s going to totally rock. I can’t wait for you all to see it.

Want a little teaser? This is the business card I had made up for Nationals…

2013 Tameri Etherton BIZ2

Awesome, amiright?

teacup-dragon[color]BUT FIRST! We need a name for our little teacup dragon. This will be the LAST week you can submit a name. Voting is going to start next Friday, so make sure you get your name in before then!

So far we have:

Blingaling         Annabelinda          Teodora           Mhegor             Twinkle            Isabela
Iremat              Jezebel                Tipsy            Earlie Grey       Darjeeling            Penelope
Blingling           Teavana               Pekoe
Larkspur          Zatima          Bob (short for Roberta)

What do you think she should be named? Add it to the list!

As most of you know, I’ll be in Atlanta next week for the RWA National Conference. Romance Writers of America puts on the best conference I’ve ever attended and I’m over the moon about going this year. Last year was my first time and, well, let’s just say I was woefully unprepared. This year? I’m on it.

If any of you feel overwhelmed like I did last year, here are some great links that will help ease your mind.

Angela Quarles has a bunch of posts about Nationals, and she has tips about the Marriott hotel, too. Check out this post for newbies and then make sure you read her other posts.

Are you pitching? Here are some great links for making the most of your pitch session. There are two from Angela, and another two from Laura Drake. Read them all. Trust me on this, it’ll ease your nerves!
Angela’s are here and here.
Laura’s posts are at Writers in the Storm here and here.

And lastly… packing. Ugh. That’s the bane of my travel existence. I always pack WAY too much. Well, Erin Knightley is here to save the day! And my back. You won’t believe how much she fits into one carryon, but since there’s a video to prove it, maybe you will. I’m in awe of Erin. Check out her blog here ~ make sure you watch the video. You too will be amazed!

The last bit of the blog today is about movies. Specifically, what’s your ‘Go To’ movie when you’re feeling down, or just want to escape for a bit?

Last weekend I went to see Much Ado About Nothing with my husband. I was psyched. Shakespeare, Joss Whedon, and my sweet Nathan? YES please!

But, well, I was underwhelmed.

So I went on Facebook and asked for recommendations of what I could watch that would erase the bad memories of the movie. As much as I wanted to love the movie, I didn’t, which put me into a funk. Hence, the question on FB.

The day before, I’d watched a super sweet movie called ‘The Magic of Belle Isle‘. My friend Kristy K James wrote a post about it and it intrigued me. Since it was available on Netflix streaming, I decided to give it a gander.

Well, I was smitten. More than smitten. I’m going to buy this movie to have on hand for those times I need a pick-me-up. Read Kristy’s blog here and let me know if you watch the movie if you love it as much as I did. Or, if you saw Much Ado, did you love it? Hate it? Were confused by it? I’d love to know either way.

I’ve given you loads to think about today! But don’t forget ~ I need dragon names and movie suggestions. I’ll be writing a future blog post about movies and need your help. Also, make sure you’re keeping up with the Summer Adventure story! Other than all that, I hope you have an amazing weekend. What will you be doing?

A Special Thanks and a Bit of a TEASE…

Last week was filled with all kinds of awesome!

For everyone who bought me a cup of water for my birthday ~ THANK YOU!

My campaign runs until June, but you can always do some good by contributing in whatever way you feel comfortable. Buy someone a cup of coffee, a cup of water, a book, or just sit and talk with them for a few minutes. Giving of yourself is a great way to brighten someone’s day.

Also, thank you to everyone who showed Ren some love by commenting on my blog last Friday. And for you lurkers who only read the blog, we know you’re there and appreciate you, too!

My birthday was fabulous. The Hubs and Kid took me out to my favorite fancy steak house and we were surprised by a super hot guest. I won’t give it away, but here’s a teaser…

Blog Photos Mystery

I’ll be spilling all the details on Friday’s blog. This guy is an animal! Seriously, you cannot believe what he got up to at our house over the weekend. I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same.

Two words: Steam. Shower.

Oh yeah, twice.

Seems he’s a bit of a dirty guy and well, someone had to clean him up. :)

Thanks again for the birthday love. I’m still glowing from all of your good wishes. My facebook wall was slammed with funny videos and well-wishes. Some of the birthday cards I received made me laugh out loud. Like the one from Debra Kristi with the talking unicorn!

It’s true that you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends and they in turn become your family. Some day I hope to be able to tell each and every one of you in person how much you mean to me. You’ve touched my heart in myriad of ways and I’m truly blessed for having you in my life.

I’m humbled and delighted that you choose to spend your time with me.

Thank you.

Now don’t forget to come back on Friday for some sauciness you won’t soon forget!

2013 Will Be Phenomenal! Dream Big, Plan Accordingly

Unlike my girl Sleeping Beauty, I won't drowse away 2013. It's time to wake up, kick butt, and make dreams into reality!

Unlike my girl Sleeping Beauty, I won’t drowse away 2013. It’s time to wake up, kick butt, and make dreams into reality!

Happy New Year my friends! It’s the beginning of a new year and for many of us, a time to reflect on the past year. What worked, what didn’t, where would we like to be this time next year, etc.

I love goals. Resolutions, if you will. Dreams made real.

Every wish, every step toward attaining a goal begins with a dream. A whispered desire to your soul. Writing down that wish then becomes a goal. Having a cute journal to keep your wishes in makes it fun.

Last year, I didn’t make any resolutions, instead I focused on being grateful each day, which was interesting and fun.

For 2013, I’m still going to keep that practice, even if I don’t post a picture everyday on Facebook. This year, I’m going to challenge myself. Professionally and personally. And I invite you to do the same.

Write down your intentions, set goals, work toward achieving those dreams.

Post your goals in the comments, or leave a link where we can all hop over and support you in your journey! I’m of the belief that writing goals down makes them more real, something concrete you can see. But if you keep them hidden in a drawer, they are yours and yours alone. If you don’t achieve them, the only person who knows is you.

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone this year and sharing with you the lofty goals I’ve set so I have accountability. I have all of you to share my triumphs at the end of the year. I’m sure there will be some failures as well, but that’s okay. Sometimes success is built on failure. A lot of time, actually. So even my failures will be successes for us to share.

On with the goals!

Writing Goals:

In 2013 I will…

  • Attend four conferences ~ Southern California Writers Conference in February, SoCal RWA Conference in March, Dallas Writers Conference in May, and RWA Nationals in July. **For each conference I must have a competed MS to pitch to agents.
  • Finish edits for Because of You and start submitting to agents and editors. Take BoY to all four conferences.
  • Write two books under a pen name. Book one to be completed by March for the SoCalRWA.
  • Submit The Temple of Ardyn to agents and editors. Take to SCWC, DFWCon, and RWA Nationals.
  • Write book two of the fantasy series with the first draft being complete by the end of December.
  • Continue blogging twice a week.
  • Learn to love Twitter
  • If I don’t have a contract by the end of 2013 for any of the four completed books I’ve written, self publish. It’s my dream to traditionally publish, but sometimes dreams need to be tweaked. :)

Personal Goals:

  • Live with intention every day.
  • Notice the little things and don’t stress what I can’t change.
  • Be more mindful of what I put into my body. It’s not getting any younger, you know!
  • Be more active. Writing is my passion ~ I could do it 24 hours a day, unfortunately, the size of my ass is telling me that’s not such a good thing.
  • Smaller ass by the end of 2013 (see above).
  • Laugh more, worry less.
  • Not everyone is going to like me. Accept this and love myself anyway.
  • Play more board games with my husband. It might not be my thing, but it’s his and he’s always supported my wild ideas and passions.
  • Have more sex! Yes, I’m putting this out there for the universe to see. Sex it great. I should never be too tired, too stressed, too anything not to enjoy this fabulous activity.
  • Stay connected with friends. Facebook makes it far too easy to skip calling or sending a short note in the mail. This year, I’m going to make sure I see more friends face-to-face.

Now it’s your turn. What are some dreams you’ve got cooking up in your brain? My friend Debra Kristi gave me a cool mousepad for Christmas with a picture of a mock-up book cover for my fantasy novel. All around the edge is the word, ‘Believe’.

Believe it and make it so. Go out there and kick some 2013 butt!

If you feel like being even more inspired to set some goals, check out these cool blogs.

Patricia Sands reminds us that it’s not just about setting goals, but remembering those who came before us and to celebrate the human spirit. It’s a lovely post, please do read it.

Ellie Ann Soderstrom keeps it light and fun with her goals. 1st prize for sand sculpting, huh? Yep, she’s a wackadoodle and that’s why we love her.

Sydney Aaliyah keeps it real with reading, writing, and arithmetic goals. Math? Sure, why not! Read it to see what she’s talking about.

Elena Aitken gives us five tips to setting goals. I especially like #3 and #4.

And of course, Tiffany A White has some great T.V. related stuff for 2013. It’s not goal making, I know, but by now we need some relief from all the champagne and resolutions!

Whatever you do in 2013, be amazing.

Pimp or Promote! It’s all about YOU today on the blog!

This is my gal pal Gayle on her horse Snoopy. They’re showing today at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and I’m playing hooky to go see them!

Hmmm, where are my cowboy boots and that pink cowboy hat with the tiara?

Since I’ll be gone today, why don’t you take this opportunity to Pimp or Promote either yourself or someone else!

That’s my homeboy Pimp Dawg.

Today is all about YOU!! In the comments, tell us what you’re working on ~ your book, your fabulous blog post for today or last week, your laundry, go ahead! Pimp yourself right here on my blog.

Want to share the love for someone else? That’s cool, too. Tell us about a friend’s blog, book, or laundry. It’s all good. Make sure we have links so we can all head on over to check out the fabulousness you’re promoting.

I’m still looking for more great writing music. You all had amazing songs last week, have you thought of any others?

By the way, if you’ve never checked out Gayle’s blog, she’s pretty darn funny. She has a few different blogs, one all about her horse Snoopy. Go ahead, give her some love!

The Gift of Friendship and a Kickass Drink

 

As you all know by now, this week marks my seventeenth anniversary of my thirtieth birthday. To celebrate, I’m inviting all my friends to hang out and enjoy the party!

I love getting gifts. It’s true, I really do, but there’s something I love more than getting them and that’s giving them. This party, while on the surface is meant to celebrate my *cough* many years of life, is also my way of giving back. Get to know some of these great people who have touched my life in more ways than I can count. If you’ve never been to their blog, check them out and you won’t be disappointed.

Enough of the mush, it’s time to party!

First up, I want to introduce you to a new friend I made on Twitter ~ his name is Brian B. Baker and he’s super cool. He’ll be manning the bar for us this week and guess what? I asked him yesterday if he could make a drink just for my birthday celebration and he said yes! Just like that, this super fab guy came up with the White Chocolate Truffle. Ooooh, yum! Doesn’t that look delish? Here’s how you make it:

White Chocolate Truffle

  • 1 Oz. Jack Daniels (I’m liking this already)
  • 1 Oz. Frangelico
  • 2 Oz. White Creme de Cacao
  • 3 Oz. Cream

Shake and strain into a martini glass that’s been laced with chocolate syrup. Super easy, super yum! Thanks Brian for getting us all in the mood to party. Follow Brian on Twitter ~ @BB_Baker and then go check out his blog.

Come on in! Grab a drink, mingle, get some nibbles. We’ve got some of my favorite Sprinkles Cupcakes. Since they’re virtual, no calories! August McLaughlin and Kate MacNicol will like that.

Barbara McDowell is spinning the tunes, that is, when she’s not out on the dance floor!

I see Jenny Hansen and Natalie Hartford are having a debate about the best Mundies. I’m partial to the elephant ones, myself. How about you?

HOLD the phone! We have a party crasher in our midst! Looks like Natalie’s Hubby came to the party and he dressed for the occasion. Let’s just say we’ll all be calling him, Mr. Sparkles by the end of the night. ;)

Myndi Shafer is here and since she’s about twenty months pregnant, she’ll be the key keeper. Hand ‘em over folks. We’ll not have any drunken posting during our party!

I need to thank Jillian Dodd, Jennifer Tanner, and Marcia Richards for the amazing decorations. These ladies know how to throw together a party. Mwuah!

Oooh, look there’s Susie Lindau and Coleen Patrick. They’re talking with Elena Aitken about, of all things, Leprechauns and extreme sports. These women are wild and tons of fun!

We’ve got a special treat for you. Piper Bayard has agreed to do a little belly dancing for us. That is, if her partner Holmes will allow it. He’s super secret, that Holmes. Has anyone actually seen him? Yeah, me either. I bet Donna Newton has. Let’s ask her!

Over by the bar, I see Carrie Spencer, the crazy cat lady, chatting with Amy Shojai. What deviousness are they’re up to? Probably something having to do with animals taking over the world.

Oooh, looks like Amber West and Tiffany A. White are having a  throw down over the best TV Drama. Hey ladies, it’s Castle. Problem solved. :)

Debra Kristi is hanging out with Rebekah Loper, Angela Wallace, Marcy Kennedy, and Lissa Clouser. I wonder what they’re talking about. Probably immortals and fantastical elements. We’ll head over there in a minute. Oh, cool! Kate Wood is joining them. She can add her vast knowledge of the Celts to the discussion.

I hear laughter and that can mean only one thing ~ Gayle Carline is in the house!

This party is hopping, but there are still a few folks who haven’t arrived yet. Oh, wait! I see Patricia Sands came with Ali Dent and Angela Orlowski-Peart. Those ladies are always dressed impeccably and are full of grace in all they do. I hope Patricia brought some of the brie she got on her trip to France. Yum, bread and cheese. Really, besides cupcakes, what more do we need?

Apparently a lot more. Bridgette Booth and Diana Murdock are loading the tables with tons of food. Kalochies, anyone? Thanks ladies! Hey, make sure you ask Diana about the awesome tattoo she got. If only I was that cool when I was younger…She’s totally my favorite badass chick.

What’s with all the guys hanging out in the corner? I see you, Gene Lempp, MJ Monaghan, David Walker, and Fabio Bueno! Get out there and chat with the ladies. They don’t bite. I think.

Nancy J. Nicholson just sailed in on her way back from the Caribbean and look, she stopped by Australia to pick up Naomi Bulger. It’s an international crowd here, today!

I just overheard Leanne Shirtliffe telling Steena Holmes and Ginger Calem the naughtiest joke. I think I’m blushing! I’ll tell you later, when all the guests have gone home and there aren’t any little ones around…

Uh, oh. Looks like Callene Rapp roped Marion Spicher into watching Full Metal Jousting with her. I wonder who Marion wants to win? My money’s on Rope. Yes, that really is his name. Looks like Louise Behiel is getting on the action. Who knew she was a jousting fan!

Out on the dance floor, Virginia Ripple is busting a move to Barbara’s awesome tunes. I see Sara from Stories and Sweet Potatoes has joined her. Those ladies can rock! Wait, is that, yes, I think it is! Nicole Basaraba and Ingrid Schaffenburg managed to get Emma Meade out there, too!

Kristy K. James and Traci Bell prefer to hang out on the comfy couch enjoying their drinks, but did you see those score cards? They’re rating the dancers. Awesome idea, ladies! I think they only have the number 10, because that’s what everyone’s gotten so far.

Lena Corazon showed up with her favorite Hugh Jackman movie. I mean, movies. HJ Marathon!!

What an amazing party! I hope you got a chance to make some new friends today. Check out their blogs, follow them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook, whatever it takes to keep this party going.

Much love, my friends.

tameri…

Is Social Media All Song and Dance?

 

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143

A few years ago my family took a vacation to Park City, Utah for the Christmas Holiday. If you know anything about me, it’s that I love Christmas almost as much as Buddy does in the movie Elf. On this particular trip, it was bloody cold. We’re talking 7 degrees. For us Southern California people, that was just stupid cold. Not only was it freezing, but there I was, in a tiny condo with my family and two dogs without a single Christmas decoration ~ not even a tree. It was hard to find the Christmas spirit that year, but I did my best.

I posted updates on our adventures: the kids sledding down an impromptu hill near the library, all of us snowmobiling, Alexzandra breaking speed barriers at the Olympic Training Center. On facebook, it looked like we were having the best vacation of all time. And we were. Except for the cold and lack of Christmas Spirit, but who wants to post cranky things like that for the world to read? Not me.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when my sister told me our vacation seemed more romantic on facebook. I was. I took what she said personally as if she thought I was lying about how fabulous the trip was.

Then one day I was reading a blog or an article online that said all of social media is a performance. Whether we choose to post positive or negative comments, we are making an active decision to portray ourselves to the world in a certain way. We are, in effect, all actors upon the world’s stage.

Hmmm…

I fought the logic for a long time. I wasn’t just acting, was I? My posts were a valid representation of my life, weren’t they?

Yes and yes.

If Shakespeare was correct when he wrote those lines for Jacques to utter in As You Like It, then we are all actors and it just depends on the performance we’re giving at any given time whether or not it’s a comedy, drama, or tragedy.

For me, I prefer to keep my facebook and blog posts light and full of positivity. On Twitter I’ll pop in to update my tweeps about my writing or if there’s something special going on that day. I like to think of my social media experience as a gathering of my good friends around one big table and we’re all just hanging out having tea and cake. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes whine to my friends about my frustrations with revising the beast or the cost of gas (don’t even get me started on this one!), but mostly I like to hear what they’ve been up to and share only the good parts of my day.

I mean, really do you want to know what I had for breakfast or that I’m running around the house in my jammies. Okay, I do tweet that a lot, sorry.

The point is, whether we rant on facebook about an ex-girlfriend or a terrible publisher (you wouldn’t believe how many of these comments fly past my feed), or we only post pictures of cats saying funny things, we’re all acting. We’re saying, ‘Look at me! This is who I am today!’. So, yeah, my facebook updates only showcased the highlights of that trip. No one needed to know how depressed I was that it was Christmas and while I was surrounded by snow, I couldn’t ski down those gorgeous mountains because of my stupid surgery. And they definitely didn’t need to know that each time we got in the car to drive somewhere I was terrified that I’d lose control and kill my entire family.

If leaving out all the scary/negative things makes my facebook updates sound romantic, I’ll take it. So I guess in a way, my sister was paying me a huge compliment. Thanks, Sis!

What do you think? Are we all just acting on social media? Do you think even people who present themselves as ‘raw’ or ‘real’ are simply hiding behind their rants and quirks? I’d love to hear what you think about this topic!

Do You Name Names? Finding the Right Etiquette for Social Media.

An interesting question was passed by me last week and it’s got me thinking. When it comes to Social Media, do you name names?

I’m not talking about being a name dropper, like “Hey, I saw Nathan Fillion at Comic-Con!”

Although, he is pretty darn cute and I actually DID see him at Comic-Con.

Celebrity name dropping aside, what I mean is when you update Facebook or Twitter, heck even on your blogs, do you maintain a sense of privacy for your family and friends, or do you use their real names?

We’re told that, as authors, we need to use our name. Our real name, not a pseudonym or pen name. We need to be authentic and genuine.

In the next breath, we’re told to only put personal information on our personal account on Facebook and to never, ever, ever say the names of our children, dogs, hamsters, or chickens in our posts. This is followed up with the advice to have a fan page just for readers and fellow writers and a personal page just for family and friends.

Apparently, the two don’t mix. Your family and friends can’t possibly be fans or readers and heaven forbid if any of your readers find out anything personal about you!

This idea just seems to scream multiple personality disorder to me. I mean, how can I be authentic if I’m not sharing my genuine self on Social Media and interacting with all my peeps – fans, readers, writers, family, and friends? And then to do this without naming names? Madness I tell you, utter madness!

I started to pay a little more attention to how everyone I know approaches this subject. Some of my friends use cute monikers for their kids and spouses – Thing 01 and Thing 02 seem to be very popular. DH (darling husband), DD (darling daughter), DS (darling son) work for the family. Others put their kids’ names and pictures up all over Facebook – young, old, doesn’t matter. It seemed to be evenly split between the namers and non-namers.

Well, that didn’t help at all. Next, I took a look at writer friends specifically. How do they handle personal vs. professional posts?

Some writer friends will only post personal information on their ‘Friend’ wall on Facebook, keeping all writing stuff to their fan page. They tend to double dip, meaning they post the same writer stuff on both accounts, but only family/personal stuff on their ‘Friend’ wall. The double dipping only bothers me when they spam my wall with pleas to buy their book three times a day. For those of you counting, that means six times. Yikes.

Other writer friends have only a ‘Friend’ account on Facebook and post everything there – writing stuff and personal stuff. Either they’re like me, unpublished (so far!) and so they don’t need a fan page yet, or they are published, but like the intimacy the ‘Friend’ wall provides.

Why all the fuss? To keep our identities safe from those creepy people who troll the internet looking for their next victim.

I still didn’t know the answer. Should I name names?

Way back in the day when our daughter started using the internet, we’d tell her, be very careful online with what information you share. You might think you’re making friends with a sweet kid your age, but really it could be some naked dude calling himself ‘Teenhottie.’

Unfortunately, there are bad people in the world and yes, we have to be vigilant and keep our children safe, but at the same time we have to inform them and empower them to make good decisions and use good judgements. David and I monitor our son’s computer use as well as his cell phone. If there is something hinky going on, we immediately address the issue and explain to him why we’ve taken the action we did.

Yes, I worry about the pedophile who might pretend to be a gamer online to get access to my son, but the threat I truly fear is fear itself. We are supposed to build an online community, but if we put up all these parameters and walls to keep out the unworthy, aren’t we then prohibiting others from entering our village?

Our kids have grown up with computers in a way that I never did. They understand the lingo and can traverse the vast expanse of cyber space with the ease of brushing their teeth. It’s second nature to them. We trust them online because we communicate with them about the risks and dangers that exist on the internet.

Much the same as we talk to them about the dangers of bad guys in the real world. The online threat is real, I know that, but so is the face-to-face abductor who might approach Michael and tell him he has a hurt puppy in his car. I know my kids, they love animals and would want to help, but we’ve told them so many times that the hurt puppy isn’t worth their life. If there really is an injured animal, the person won’t mind you calling the police for help, right?

When the question of naming names came up, I asked David, ‘Is this something we need to be worried about? I mean, are we putting our children at risk by printing their names online?’ We talked that night and came to the conclusion that there is no right or wrong answer. If our kids were younger, I’d probably refer to them by a cute nickname, but they are old enough to understand our concerns about the internet. And smart enough to keep personal information off their accounts.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re comfortable posting.

As for Facebook, I choose to include family and strangers in my ‘Friend’s’ list. I’ve made some amazing, real friends on Social Media, women and men who enrich my life and make me a better writer and person. Conversely, if there is someone who makes my gut clench, I unfriend them. I’ve only had to do that twice, but each time I knew it was the right decision. I don’t friend just anyone, or follow blindly on Twitter, but at the same time I don’t make people jump through hoops to find me.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you keep your private life private, or do you share your life online? Do you have cute nicknames for your children and husband or name names?

Are we meant to be loners or part of a (virtual) tribe?

Recently it was suggested to me that we don’t need to live with others to be happy.

Really?

We live in a world full of communities and relationships. Even cave people lived in groups because they knew if they stayed together there was a greater chance they wouldn’t be mammoth chow. They didn’t give a crap about happiness, they just wanted to survive another day.

I’ve totally been there. Not hunting mammoths, but just hoping I’d survive the day. Unlike those cave dudes, we modern folks have ways of dealing with stress and usually it involves others.

Without people in our lives, we’d be all alone on the swing set with no one to push us and make us go higher. Like this lady. I don’t know if she likes being alone, or if she’s just protecting her swing, but she doesn’t look happy to me. She looks sad, as if she wants someone to come and give her a great big push. To feel the air rushing through her hair and see her feet high above her head, to believe if only for a moment that she can fly. Yeah, I think she’d like that.

Is being alone better?

Deep down, I think we all want a great big push so that we can feel like we can fly. We need to take turns pushing and swinging, to laugh out loud when we fall off the swing and then get right back on. Whether that’s in the ‘real world’ or online, it doesn’t matter.

Kristen Lamb wrote a book for writers called, We Are Not Alone. It’s an excellent guide to navigating social media and even if you aren’t a writer, I recommend it just for the easy to understand advice she gives. She talks a lot about helping each other, being a team. In her weekly blog tips she breaks down Social Media in ways that make sense – here’s a link, http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know until I found Kristen. She’s given me a ginormous push on the Social Media swing!

Which brings us back to happiness via others. I have friends on Facebook that are as dear to me as my friends who live down the street. I laugh at the silly videos they post and send cyber hugs when their news isn’t so sunny. Sure, Social Media is about networking and making connections, but it’s also about relationships. We have a need to reach out to people. You know the best part? We can do it at 2 A.M., in our jammies! Shhhh, no one needs to know.

They are in my tribe.

Happiness online.

What about you? Are you a loner or do you feel compelled to be a part of a community? Do you like Social Media and all of it’s quirks, or would you rather throw your computer out the window and say, ‘To hell with technology!’ (I’ve been there, I understand!)

Who’s in your tribe? I’d love to know!