The following piece by Deborah Batterman was originally published in the February edition of the New York Bookwoman.
I was one of the lucky twelve to land a spot in WNBA-NYC’s Facebook Marketing for Writers, a workshop at the Pace University Graduate Center on January 16, taught by Melissa Rosati.
Within twenty-four hours I was busy updating my Facebook page, a more professional look now; the workshop was just the inspiration/push I needed.
Attendees were a mix of newbies curious to learn the Facebook ropes and those like me who reside somewhere between middle and high school on the social media spectrum. Taking us point-by-point via a slide show—forever available on Slideshare!—Rosati opened the doors to the whys and wherefores of that social network, which was initially designed for ‘relationships.’
It takes some strategizing, yes, to get into what Rosati delightfully terms the Facebook ‘brain’ (i.e., the algorithm that determines your ranking in the constant stream of newsfeeds). In a word, you’re only as interesting as what you post/share/comment on. Photos are what that ‘brain’ likes most, followed by interesting links, then comments and likes. My own experience bears that out—post a photo and more people pay attention. Likewise, the newsfeeds you become associated with, as either a ‘content creator’ or a ‘content curator’ are your branding.
So what’s a writer to do?
For those to whom Facebook is uncharted terrain, and even those swimming in the sea of newsfeeds, Rosati’s slide show is a treasure trove of tips and resources. Anyone determined to crack the code will find much that’s self-explanatory and a great deal to be gained from the invaluable links she provides, tutorials and all. If it feels dizzying, it’s called a learning curve.
In the end, though, Rosati herself says, at some point you may need professional help. All the more reason to be amused by what David Sedaris wrote on his Facebook page the other day: “I have never written anything on this page before, but it’s a new year, and one of my resolutions is to try more new things. ‘Engaging on Facebook’ was on my list between, ‘1. Visit Poland’ and ‘3. Experiment with turtlenecks.’
Yes, indeed, someone else manages his page.
Deborah Batterman is a fiction writer, essayist, and teaching artist. A story from her debut collection, Shoes Hair Nails, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in anthologies as well as various print and online journals, and a selection of her essays, Because my name is mother, is now available as an e-book.