Everyone in the journalism industry knows how important social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are these days. It’s so well-known that I don’t even read most of the articles written on this topic anymore because hello, not exactly news anymore.
I like Twitter, but I admit to not using it nearly as often as I could. But I’ve always loved Facebook. I really do. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now, and I loved it from the beginning. There’s no mystery; it’s just fun. I love to catch up with people and see what’s going on with my farflung friends and family. I love seeing links to news articles that I might have otherwise missed. I love seeing which one of my former classmates went bald early and which ugly duckling teenager turned into a swan as an adult. I like seeing the photos of this person’s baby and that person’s wedding. I keep up with college classmates on the page that I created for our class, and I trade witticisms with other exhausted parents of active young children on another.
But I also love Facebook for professional reasons. It’s proved its usefulness for my job as a freelance writer time and again. For example…as some of you may know, one of my regular gigs is writing regular blog posts for the CoolMomsCare website (www.CoolMomsCare.org). For a long time, I just used whatever ideas came to mind. I kept a folder where I stashed info and ideas that I could draw from, and when I needed a new topic, I just pulled one out of the folder. Well, July was a crazy month, and I got behind on collecting these little gems, so I began to fret. “What on earth am I going to write about?” I muttered to myself like an old crazy woman. “No clue, no clue, no clue.” Brainstorming for ideas has always been one of my strengths, and it was a little disconcerting to feel so empty. (Can I blame the heat?)
So I typed a plea for ideas into my status update on Facebook. And voila! At least a half-dozen friends wrote in with excellent suggestions. I frantically took notes and made up a new list of ideas. Not only was it easy (and hey, who doesn’t love easy?), but it gave me some ideas that I probably wouldn’t have thought of by myself. In other words, I appreciated the diversity of ideas. In the past, I’ve sent out pleas to an email distribution list, but this way, I reached a much larger group of people. This is not the first time I’ve done this on Facebook, but it has definitely been one of the more successful ones. With this success, I’ll be doing that sort of thing again.
So, to those of you who submitted ideas to me, thank you so, so much. And to everyone else, don’t worry. Your time will come…