All I Did Was Take a Photo

Hey y’all (I said “y’all,” y’all!)!

I’m back from my second year at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Was is everything I hoped it to be? Yes and no.

Yes, because there was much to learn, more to affirm, and an abundance of camaraderie.

No, because in this midst of all that, there were some treasured folk that were deeply missed.

I’ll tell y’all about it later (I said “y’all” again!), but this post is about what I learned about social media. In particular, it’s about one post that taught me about social media.

You see, there’s this thing we call Lobby Time. In the early mornings (not really), between classes (sometimes) and after the evening group session (always), most of us gather in the lobby. It’s where we connect, hang out, let our hair down, play Magic or other games . . . You get the picture.

And speaking of picture (see what I did there?), I took one. There I am chatting it up with some friends-turned-family and I think, This would make a great photo. So in the midst of their discussion, I lifted my cell phone and click. I took a photo.

This photo.

Lobby Time at BRMCWC with Alton Gansky and Lori Roeleveld.

Lobby Time at BRMCWC with Alton Gansky and Lori Roeleveld.

Great photo, dontcha think? I sure do.

The man on the left is Al “Pops” Gansky. He’s Aaron’s dad and the co-host of our weekly Firsts in Fiction Podcast. It was a year ago at Blue Ridge that we met face to face for the first time. [Read: And They Say Getting There is Half the Fun.] He kind of adopted me.

The woman on the right of the photograph is Lori Roeleveld, a disturber of hobbits. She’s an excellent blogger, and a true friend. She calls me sister.

So why wouldn’t I want a photo of some of my favorite peeps?

And why wouldn’t I post it on Twitter and tag them in it?

And why wouldn’t they respond?

So apparently, it’s become a thing. Like, a thing-thing. Like, an internal, #BRMCWC, photo-gone-viral thing. This was taken Monday night. The conference went until Thursday afternoon.

Do you know how many people were talking about this photo by Thursday afternoon? Well, what’s This Girl to do when the conference director says, “Send that to me ASAP so I can share it.”

Of course I sent it to her.

Here’s the thing. It’s not the photo. It’s the reactions.

So many people love so much about this photo, but it all started with Lori’s Tweet-back:

“When did I start to resemble Al?”

And since she has her own Twitter followers, they saw her reply to the photo. And each time, we tagged Al in the retweets. So others saw it.

And kept the conversation going.

And directed others to it.

Two days later, I passed Lori in the hall. As she had broken her foot last week, I paused to ask how she was doing. She gave me a tired smile and said, “I’m alright except for starting to look like Al.”

It’s a good thing my peeps have a sense of humor.

I can honestly tell you upon pain of death that this is one of my most popular tweets ever. It’s certainly one of my favorites.

Sure it’s not a Kardashian. Or Justin Bieber with his pet monkey. Or a Kardashian with Bieber’s pet monkey.

But it is a pretty fantastic photo of some pretty fantastic people that received some pretty fantastic attention.

And all I did was take a photo.

{View the original twitter pic of Alton Gansky and Lori Roeleveld at BRMCWC, and join the fun, here.}

So what’s the moral of this story? Have fun with your photos. And now and then, warn a girl.

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!

Social Media Buzz: Bee The Ninja

Last month we discussed some things people do on social media that can sting. [Read: Social Media Buzz: Don’t Bee That Person.]

In this post you’ll find some subtle yet sweet behaviors that will keep your Swarm buzzing and building.

To Bee and Not To Bee

To Bee and Not To Bee

Being a ninja involves skill and knowledge, and the ability to fuse them cohesively. Sort of like bees in a hive, right?

I love being a Ninja Bee and helping others use their social media secrets to grow their online community.

MoJo - Social Media Ninja

MoJo – Social Media Ninja

Here’s a little honey to share, some tips on the fly that can help draw people into your hive and create some positive buzz for your and your books.

  1. Use your (key) words. Ask yourself: Who will my audience be? When you post online, direct some of the conversation to their attention. Writing a cookbook? Use #recipe. Quote a sentence or two from your manuscripts or reference a character trait. Your hive will fly to your side and bring friends with them.
  1. Connection is a two-way conduit. The Three R’s: Reach, Respond, Reply. Whether it’s a like, share, or comment, your swarm is more likely to help create a buzz if they know they’re appreciated. Keep the honey flowing.
  1. Forget you’re a writer who needs readers. You are also a person, pet owner, coffee drinker, snowboarder, checkers champion. Whatever other things that go into making you you, don’t forget that your readers are also multifaceted. An honest online relationship is more than just marketing. Share those bits and bites of your life, and the next time one of your bees posts about their day, simply support them. They’ll think of you sweetly.
  1. Share the sweet struggles. Writing isn’t always easy. Take your swarm on the journey with you. It’s okay to admit writer’s block or a belligerent character. Those behind-the-scenes moments are the extras readers like to experience with you. Just make sure you put your stinger away when venting.
  1. Share the sweetness. Writing is a beautiful adventure. Give your swarm a reason to spread the buzz and share the honey. Offer freebies and discounts on your books. Swarm Swag like bookmarks and free downloads are terrific gifts to say thanks to those hard worker bees who spread the word for you.

Remember, your hive is built with community.

Baseball on Pitcher's Mound. Frankly My Dear, If You Build It, They Will Come.

Field of Dreams

With some sweet tea and a big smile,
~ Happy writing and keep on Buzzing.
Molly Jo

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!