Recently, I read an article that said email has had a good run, but its day is over. A good run? The spoken word had a good run – thousands of years. The postal service didn’t do too badly – more than a century. But now email is supposedly passé after a mere decade. How long before Twitter stops chirping usefully? And what will be next in this nonstop rush to allow each of us to communicate, literally, with everyone else on the planet?
Speaking of Twitter, those 140 characters mean there’s no point in crafting an elegant letter. Okay, I never did. But many famous writers have had their letters immortalized. Will your ‘Gone to the kitchen - Be back when I gain 5 pounds’ Twitter ever see the light of day again? No, and that’s not a bad thing. But will anyone put the effort into thoughtful communication when limited by time, the disinterest of a vast pool of anonymous readers, or by the fact that the communication mode itself physically limits how much you can say?
Facebook. Myspace. Fansites. Instant messaging. Texts. Blogs. Amazon Connect. Flickr accounts. And of course, websites.
How easily can all these methods of communication overwhelm us? And how do we determine which are useful? Both in providing content we can use, and in telling the world about our writing. In the midst of this constant flow of information, how do we choose which is important to us? Conversely, how to we become important to all the people sitting by the stream of information, watching it flow mindlessly by?
The ability to connect with others via all these modes of communication is amazing. I have found or been found from friends all the way back to my childhood. It’s great fun. I never would have expected to see pictures from that memorable sixth grade slumber party posted online. But there we were in all our glory – nightgowns and cowboy hats. How ineffably sweet to experience the fun and innocence of that moment again, even if for an instant.
And as writers, it can only benefit us to connect with as many readers as possible. I can publicize my work on Amazon, on Library Thing, on countless loops, and on all the sites listed above. Plus many more I haven’t mentioned.
So what is the problem? First, the time sink is significant. Second, you need to find a way to stand out, which is not easy when the entire world is clamoring for the same attention. Third, it seems that as soon as I master (if I may exaggerate) one application, another pops up to supersede it. Fourth, and perhaps most important from a business perspective, it’s very difficult to determine which of these many avenues of communication/promotion are actually effective in spreading your word.
So here’s my question to anyone reading this – what avenues of communication have you found to be effective in promoting your message?