Techie Writer Reviews - Why I use #SquareSpace to blog - #writetip #writerslife #blogging

I had ambitions to write up a post with lots of screen shots, but I got lazy and went with a video. Obviously, I like SquareSpace, and the fact that I'm using it to write this post is endorsement enough. Therefore, this is more of a simple overview than an actual critique. Yes, there are features I wish they offered. Yes, there are certain little things that drive me nuts. Nonetheless, I think it's the best solution for me at this time. 

What do you guys think about v-logging, as it were? Better? Worse? Does my voice sound weird? Let me know in the comments. 

Techie Writer Reviews - 5 Reasons This #Author Still Has a Facebook Page

Blog_Facebook.jpg

For the past six months, my Facebook feed has been rife with status updates along the lines of "F!@K U Facebook. It's over. I'm deleting my page!" To everyone who has made those two clicks: I know how you feel. As you can extrapolate from this screenshot, I was on the verge of doing the exact same thing.

So why do I still have an author page?

From an emotional standpoint, my sense of betrayal isn't quite as acute as that of many others. I jumped on the social media bandwagon a little late, so there has never been a time when my Page was viewed by anybody. The majority of clicks leading to my website were either direct, from search engines, or through Twitter. Heck, I've gotten more clicks from Google Plus.

 

My author page on Facebook has always felt like an abusive relationship. I never had a honeymoon period. I never saw benefits. When I didn't beg, plead, and cajole friends to share my posts, my reach never entered the double digits. The more Likes I got, the fewer people saw my status updates. The one time I tried to "Boost" something, Facebook rejected it on account of their "no more than 20% text" rule (p.s. book covers tend to skirt that line...). After they rejected my ad, they charged $5 to my credit card anyway.

In short, my reaction to the failed Facebook page experiment is ennui, not disappointment. I'm tired of the game, but I'm not angry. As long as it's free to have, the darn thing is here to stay. Here are 5 techie reasons why.

1. I hate dead links

For as long as I've been an author, I've included a link to my Facebook page on all promotional materials. There are close to a hundred guest blogs out there linking to my FB page (as well as my website, Twitter handle, and all that jazz). Add to it signatures on emails and forums posts, and I've got a lot of links. The moment I lose the page, those links die. As a user, I loathe clicking on something that leads to a dead end. For the sake of any readers I may inconvenience, I chose not to hit delete.

2. One link-back is better than none

Every time I write a blog post, Square Space automatically pushes it to my Facebook page and Twitter feed (and if anyone on the development team is reading this–Google Plus? Soon? Pretty please?). I'm not an SEO guru, but I figure one link-back is better than none. If this is not the case, please don't disillusion me. It'll destroy my belief in humanity.

3. Most Loopholes are temporary

I created my author page at around the same time Facebook started slashing organic reach. This means I got to watch the interesting development of small businesses using their profiles as pages (my gym, for example). It made sense. If one is announcing an unplanned closure or class cancellation, one would want all clients to receive the notice, not 1.25% of them (I divided my average 10 reach by 800 likes).

Trust me, after observing the complete uselessness of my page for close to a year, I was mighty tempted to jump on the profile bandwagon. However, it's a matter of time before FB cracks down on this practice. How else can they incentivize people to boost posts? Judging by the number of sudden name changes on my feed, the purge has already begun. I write under a pseudonym, so changing my profile to "Tara Quan" risks an account deletion. I don't agree with Facebook's policy on pen names, but it's their playground, and they make the rules.

4. Facebook's search feature

In Italy, most businesses can't be bothered to create websites. Many restaurants, stores, and clubs have a single online presence–their Facebook profile (yes, they're using the loophole). When I'm looking for something in Rome, my first stop is the search bar on Facebook, not Google. If I'm doing this, there is a possibility a few readers are too. The least I can do is have a page for them to land on. Who knows? One of them might eventually click on the link to my website, and renew my faith in social media.

5. Platforms evolve

Because paying to boost posts on a regular basis isn't in my budget, my Facebook page is close to useless. I update it less than I do all other venues. I no longer create content specifically geared to satisfy the company's warped algorithms. At this point in my writing journey, going out of my way to use my page is a waste of time.

That said, who knows what the future could bring? The powers-that-be at Facebook could realize it's alienating the majority of its content creators, and perhaps a useful feature will emerge to make the page worthwhile once more. On the flip side, I might make enough money off my writing to consider paid advertising one day. Given, for purely emotional reasons, Facebook isn't the most likely venue to benefit from this hypothetical windfall.

There you have it–the 5 reasons I didn't hit the "Remove Page" button today.

(P.S. If, by some miracle, you stumbled upon this blog post via my Facebook page, can you leave a comment letting me know?) 

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Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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Techie Writer Reviews - 3 Reasons I Use Flipboard (Free Twitter Tools #1)

When Tower in the Woods came out last year, I was a social media newbie who didn't have a website, had never blogged, and thought Twitter was this newfangled thing only celebrities used.

Being an author has forced me to eschew my electronically anti-social ways, and I've come to embrace the Twitter-verse. I wouldn't have been able to keep up with its craziness without a few crucial apps and software, so it makes sense to do a series of Techie Writer Reviews on Free Twitter Tools. Who knows? Perhaps a brilliant programmer out there will one day create a single ecosystem to fulfill all my needs. (Note: For learning purposes, I've set my iPhone's language to Italian, which is why the screenshots might look a little off.) 

Flipboard

 1. Cover Stories

1. Cover Stories

 2. Link Previews

2. Link Previews

 3. Editing Retweets

3. Editing Retweets

(Flipboard for iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire & NOOK - https://flipboard.com/)

Flipboard is an app I use every single day, more or less for the sole purpose of going through my Twitter feed. Judging from their website, the software is designed for an entirely different purpose. It's nonetheless the most useful Twitter app I've found to date.

I might be in the minority, but I use Twitter predominantly as an industry news aggregator—a way for me to stumble upon blog posts and articles I might want to read and/or retweet (which is probably why I have very few followers). Flipboard has three functions that keeps me coming back. 

1. Cover Stories

 Cover Stories: Twitter

Cover Stories: Twitter

When I was a Twitter toddler and followed less than 50 users, my feed was manageable. I could scroll through the entire collection of links in a few seconds and select the tweets I wanted to rebroadcast. This is no longer the case. Although I'm now only following around 400 users (a comparatively small list, especially among authors), my feed has turned into a sea of oftentimes useless information.

The Cover Stories section of Flipboard aggregates the most popular recent tweets (based, I believe, on retweets and favorites). It's not a perfect system by any means (and I use other desktop software to fill the gaps), but it helps me catch some posts while I'm on the go. Combined with my Facebook and other news feeds, this section makes a nice little electronic magazine I can quickly browse on my downtime


2. Link Previews

 Link Previews

Link Previews

I do browse my actual Twitter feed when time permits, usually in the morning while I'm waiting for caffeine to kick in. I also have a few hashtag-based feeds set up on Flipboard to supplement my Cover Stories.

The advent of shortened urls combined with Twitter's character limit makes it really hard to tell the nature of links before I click on them. Is this a blog post, an article from the NY Times, or a buy link? Clicking on links in the native Twitter app opens a new browser window, which I then need to close in order to get back to my feed. Checking out these blog posts became a huge chore.

Flipboard creates a preview of the links in question using an image from the article and the first few lines of the text (if the blog supports it). This is, by the way, why it pays for blog posts to have pictures. If the image doesn't catch my eye, I swipe my thumb up and flip to the next set of tweets. If it looks interesting, I tap on the preview to pull up the original article, which opens within Flipboard and not in a separate browser (80% of the time). This brings me to the third reason I love the app. 


3. Editing Retweets

Oftentimes, I like to add my own comment to a retweet or do a modified tweet (MT). For reasons I do not understand, the two options I get in the iPhone's Twitter app is "Retweet" and "Quote Tweet." What I want is the "Edit and Retweet" option I get on TweetDeck.

Flipboard's "Retweet with Comment" fulfills this function with seamless ease, and it has a url shortener built in for the few links that show up in the native format. I can also use it to shorten urls and tweet out articles in my RSS feed outside of Twitter, making it my favorite all-in-one app.


And thus concludes my attempt to blog for this week. I will now return to the wonderful world of fiction. Do you have a favorite Twitter tool? Let me know in the comments!

[Blatent Plug - If you use Twitter and have a moment to spare, I'd love it if you could give me a shout out: " Check out #romance #author @LaylaTarar's post about one of her favorite #Twitter tools - #Flipboard - http://ow.ly/w2fKv  "]

4 Comments

Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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