MySpace Can Be YourSpace

August 8th, 2006 · 6 Comments
by Booksquare

Recently, a friend asked, “How do I get friends on MySpace?” Now, while the snarky answer was, “You have to be a friend first”, it wasn’t entirely untrue. Social media sites are often part of an elaborate numbers game — the most popular user of MySpace has over a million friends. Let’s all be honest here: she’s not sending that many Christmas cards every year.

Rachel Kramer Bussel’s article at MediaBistro about MySpace discusses how authors can use the social network to build audience. It’s a cautionary tale if we’ve ever read one. The key to remember is that MySpace is a huge mess o’stuff, and even as you’re building buzz — face facts and accept that building and maintaining a MySpace presence is, as far as marketing efforts go, highly cost effective; you put in a little time, you get a little reward — it’s easy to get lost in the noise. That’s what happens when about a gazillion users swarm a system. We’re not going to suggest that MySpace is for kids only, but the user base is overwhelming youthful.

Youth tend to flock, but youth also tend to multi-task and move quickly.

It might be helpful to realize that for all the buzz social media gets in the news, a recent Los Angeles Times poll suggested that less than half of United States teens use these services. The same poll reinforced the idea that word-of-mouth remains the best marketing tool ever.

Bussel discusses some basic ways that authors are using MySpace to connect with readers. At the core, it all gets back to the “be a friend” axiom. A possible helpful corollary might be “don’t make a fool of yourself.”

In other words, yes, have a MySpace page. Yes, reach out to your core audience — the technical concept to take away here is sincerity. Yes, use the site for creative promotion — we fear that everyone will read Bussel’s article and think, “I, too, will create a page for my super-cool character.”

No, no, no. Let us say it again: nein, non, nem. Creating a character page is a good idea; creating a lame character page reflects on your writing skills. Everyone else is going to do it (trust us, we can see into the future), and your character’s page is going to start looking a lot like everyone else’s character page. Since our second technical concept of the day is authenticity, blatant, clumsy marketing won’t work. You are tiptoeing through the tulips of a media-savvy generation. They can smell fakery and avoid it. Let’s just say that if your character’s best friend is you, oh author, lame. You can even try for six degrees of separation, but building authentic character pages requires Strategy and Execution.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that finessing social media is easy. Do not think clever and lazy are the same thing (sure, we prove they are every day, but we have professional training). Do not think you’ve created a page and your work is done. Do not be a false friend.

And do not think that MySpace is your only option…

[tags]my space, social networking, social media, writers, books[/tags]

File Under: Marketing For Introverts

6 responses so far ↓

  • Karen // Aug 8, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    Oh god. More technology I don’t understand. And I still haven’t put up the website. BS will be (even more) ashamed to say she knows me.

  • Booksquare // Aug 8, 2006 at 1:00 pm

    BS is suitably appalled. Beyond appalled. But more because of the former rather than the latter.

  • domynoe // Aug 8, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    I will never get the MySpace phenomena. It has to be the messiest community I’ve seen, in more ways than one — and ugly to boot. LJ provides a much better free (or low cost) community option — and you can actually customize the layout pretty easily so your space isn’t the same cookie-cutter mess as everyone else you friend.

  • Booksquare // Aug 8, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    LiveJournal (one never knows what other technological phenomena have passed Karen by) is great if you’re trying to reach a specific audience. Ditto for MySpace. I would (strongly) advocate smart targeting of your promotional efforts. Having a MySpace presence doesn’t hurt anyone in the long run, but, as my former poli sci teacher noted about getting an A in class, you gotta play the game. The rules are simple…following them requires a little effort.

  • what'sittoya // Aug 10, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    The problem with MySpace is that it used to be cool, before every author, musician, book company, conglomerate, what-have-you, started putting their profile on there. But it’s the same thing with blogs. The mainstream media co-opts it, and it loses any originality it once had.

  • Booksquare // Aug 10, 2006 at 7:37 pm

    I am proud to say that the mainstream media has not yet co-opted this blog. That I know of.

    The nice thing about MySpace is that there will always be another cool hangout. Either the community will remain commercialized beyond belief or the commercial interests will move on, leaving a true community behind. The latter would be interesting, but I have a bit of cynic inside.