Tag Archives: social networking

Social Media ist das Opium des Volkes

iStock_000009250299XSmallby Mike O’Mary

Okay, so maybe Karl Marx was talking about religion instead of social media when he tagged an institution as “the opiate of the people.” But if Karl were alive today, I don’t think he’d argue with calling social media an opiate. Speaking for myself, I swore off television years ago only to end up spending those newfound hours in front of the computer every day. Sucked in again!

How much time do you spend on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Classmates, YouTube, Flickr, Google Buzz, Bebo, Flixster, MyLife, etc., etc.? And I’m not even talking about the time you spend checking your e-mail accounts, blogs, bank/brokerage accounts, shopping, travel, and all that other “essential” stuff. Talk about a huge time suck.

To be clear, social media is pretty amazing. You have hundreds — sometimes thousands — of personal and business connections at your fingertips. This simply was not possible ten years ago. Old college friends were just that…old college friends. Maybe you saw them at your 10th or 20th or 50th reunion. Now you can see them every day. Perhaps all you learn is that they spend oodles of time fertilizing eggplant in FarmVille. But hey, you’ll have something to talk about at the next reunion, right? (“Hey, Greg…how’d that degree in library science turn out? Oh. Sorry. Nice eggplant farm though.”)

I started to say that social media is pretty amazing. And that it has its place. It’s helped me spread the word about my new book publishing business faster and cheaper and to a broader audience than I could have done with traditional PR or marketing. And I’ve made some new friends along the way. It’s been great. But I really did get sucked in. Here’s what happened: I was spending LOTS of time each day trying to keep up with all of my social media accounts, and then staying up very late at night doing all the other things that are traditionally associated with book publishing. That had to stop. My job is editing and publishing. My job is not social media gadfly — no matter how entertaining, compelling or (dare I say it) ADDICTING social media might be.

Here is a longer version of the famous Karl Marx quote. Again, I have substituted “social media” for “religion”:
[Social media] is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

It’s your life. Don’t live it all virtually.

Mike O’Mary is founding dreamer of Dream of Things, an independent book publisher currently accepting creative nonfiction stories for anthologies on 15 topics.

Dream Catchers and Goodreads

Moon Sun Night - Copyby Mike O’Mary
Two news items this week, one for writers, one for readers:
1. Dream of Things launched a “Dream Catchers” section of its website to highlight authors whose work has been selected for future publication in a Dream of Things anthology. We get lots of great stories at Dream of Things, and our editors are constantly reviewing new submissions. The best creative nonfiction will be published in our anthologies. But putting an anthology together takes months.

Meantime, we’re sitting on all these great stories. Not anymore! Each week, we plan to feature a new story on the Dream Catchers section of dreamofthings.com. This week’s story is “Forever Sharp” by Terri Elders of Colville, Washington, and it will be published in an anthology about great teachers later this year.

2. Goodreads.com: I’m not sure the world needs another online social networking site, but if we have to make room for one more, goodreads.com looks like a pretty good one. It’s basically a place to rate books that you’ve read, share that info with others, and learn about new books you might want to read. Billed as “the largest social network for readers in the world” with 2.9 million members, Goodreads says, “Somehow, reading books seems to have gotten a bad rap. People are working too hard and not making time to read. But every once in a while you run into a friend who tells you about this ‘great new book I’m reading.’ And suddenly you’re excited to read it. It’s that kind of excitement that Goodreads is all about.”

Goodreads also looks like a good place for an author to set up shop. Take a look at the Goodreads Author Profile of yours truly for an example of what an author can do on their site.

Mike O’Mary is founding dreamer of Dream of Things, a book publisher currently accepting creative nonfiction stories for anthologies on 15 topics.

Linked Up With LinkedIn


 by Catherine L. Tully

Did you know that you can link your WordPress blog up with LinkedIn? You can–and it is really easy. As a matter-of-fact, there are a number of cool things you can do with the applications on this social networking site. Be sure to check them out and see if there is something there that can help you save time or be more organized. LinkedIn is a great resource–I strongly advise setting a page up if you don’t have one already.

Online Security Tips

lockby Catherine L. Tully

We all know that computer security can be an issue, but do you really know how to protect yourself? Check out these cyber security tips given here by the Department of Homeland Security.

Learn how to reduce spam, deal with cyberbullies, safeguard your data and how to stay safe on social networking sites. This website really is an amazing resource.

Writers: Time Is Money

timeby Catherine L. Tully

After reading Yo’s post today on how to manage money, I realized something. Many of the things that we talk about on blogs are things we see writers doing wrong. Sometimes they are mistakes we have made ourselves, but more often than not, posts relate directly to actions we see writers taking (or not taking) that can hurt their career. The one I see most often is… Continue reading Writers: Time Is Money

5 Freelance Mistakes


by Catherine L. Tully

There is so much to know when you are freelancing, and while it is important to learn about the things you should be doing, it is just as vital to understand those things you should not be doing. Here’s 5 of them to keep in mind:

  1. Manic follow-up. If the writer’s guidelines say 4 weeks, give them at least 5, preferably 6. If they tell you they haven’t had the chance to look at your query yet, wait a while before checking back. Don’t pester the editor–it can get your query deleted. Seriously.
  2. Social networking. Ok, let me explain. Yes, you should be doing this. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are your friends. But not at the expense of your work. Remember that these social networking sites don’t do a thing for you if you aren’t actually working at writing. While you can get work there, you have to get that work done as well. Schedule time for it–then stick to your schedule.
  3. Copying. Just because your friend got a query accepted by sending in a paragraph on a subject written in a snippy tone doesn’t mean you should do it. Find your own voice. It will get you more writing work than anything else. It takes time to cultivate this, so start now and let other people do their own thing.
  4. Emphasizing quantity. Are you trying to get 20 queries out every week? Perhaps you are biting off more than you should. Instead, make sure that each one is meticulously researched and polished. Call to make sure you are sending it to the right person. Take the time to do it right and you will get much better results than if you send out a bunch hoping for a hit.
  5. Sending in a first draft. Don’t do it. Just don’t. First drafts are never the best writing you can do. Make sure you take the time to hone a piece before sending it off. If you do this every time, your writing will improve.