Maybe I should call this INTERNET CONNECTIONS instead. But everyone is always saying "social networking," aren't they?
The basics, for me, are the conversation loops I belong to, almost all of them as Yahoo groups, and my webpage, KayeGeorge.com. Those can't be called social networks, but they certainly figure in and are ways for me to network.
Of the ones I use, I've been on Facebook the longest, since my son informed me all the grandkids' pictures would henceforth be there. He thought better of that after posting one batch, but by then I had been found by a co-worker from 12 years ago and my massage therapist who is remarried and moved out of town. I'd also discovered my cousin's wife, whom I have only met twice, is a hoot.
Soon, I decided I wanted a Facebook account for my family and another one for my writing life. This was easy for me, since I don't write under my real name. Now I use the writing account a lot and have met some interesting people there, too.
I made a New Year's resolution to start a blog in 2010 and, instead joined one and started two. So I'm firmly both feet into that world. I now follow a bunch of blogs and have made new friends that way.
Twitter? I resisted Twitter as long as I could. I use it less than the others, so far. Maybe I'm just too wordy to fit easily into Twitter. It's not for the verbose! Although, again, I made a valuable connection with some people interested in archeology and Neanderthals (I've written a Neanderthal mystery, still unsold).
I signed up for Goodreads and I thought I was on Shelfari, but I don't seem to have a presence there. I barely have one on Goodreads. LinkedIn is another one I recently joined and have no idea what to do with.
Why do any of these? As a writer, the idea is to get yourself known, and to sell books. For this, the connections should be with readers. Most writers I know are interacting mostly with other writers.
But making the connections with fellow writers is a good enough reason for an internet presence, IMNSHO, as they say. Writing is a lonely process and the friends and family of a writer aren't the ones who understand what goes on inside our heads. I'd hate to be without all my writer pals!
I'd love to hear what sites you use and how. Which are your favorites and why?