Social Media: Weapons of Mass Distraction

While social media tools are seen as easy to use, their perceived usefulness varies. Moreover, they are considered to be time consuming and distractive. Other concerns, and indeed barriers to the adoption of social media, are linked with the blending of professional and private identity, the merging of working and personal life, and issues surrounding privacy and author’s confidentiality. — from Journal of Electronic Publishing Volume 15, 2012

This is one of the few examples of rigorous, academic research that I have read on the use of social media in the workplace. Here are some further interesting quotes…

The study identified interpersonal utility, information seeking, marketing, and self-promotion as the leading motivators for using social media.

Social media is blending the boundaries between the public and private life, work and leisure time, but the degree of fusion remains in the hands of the social media user. Theoretically, it is up to the individual how much disclosure happens online, what platforms are used, what privacy settings are chosen, who is followed and befriended, what types of posts are sent, what can be automated, and how much time is spent on these activities.

But the big drive by the providers of social media is to aggregate and daisy-chain the different platforms together — all the better to monetise you.

It is important to keep in mind that the definition of a “friend” is much wider in this sphere than in reality, and also that anything posted online is permanent and can become public through cross-posting and because social media sites often change their privacy policies. Moreover, users have little control over what other users can do with the information provided.

However if you have your own website, you can control your privacy and web presence without fear of being monetised or loss of control — a blatant plug for Kalmak Consultancy.

A one-stop spot for readers.

If your ebook has to do with pets, consider collecting all variety of resources for pet owners—website links, a publications list, articles including information on various aspects of your topic—pet ownership, for example. You might post articles or links to information on topics such as choosing pet food, behavior issues, dog training, a list of plants that are poisonous to cats, breeders, etc.

For fiction, resources for your audience might include short stories in the genre of your ebook, interesting facts about aspects of your genre and the themes in some of your books (Western, historical periods, military, the medical field, etc.). Post quizzes, lists of famous authors who wrote in this genre and so forth.

The more information you offer to interest, inform, educate and entertain your particular audience, the more visitors you will attract to your website and the more books and ebooks you will sell.

For more see BookBaby

Winning and losing at the Facebook promotion game

(from BookBaby Blog)

9 ways to turn off your fans on Facebook
There are thousands of authors who are using Facebook the right way, winning new readers with engaging posts and videos. But if your Facebook fan interaction is on the decline, you might be guilty of one or more of the following social media sins.
1. Creating multiple events for a single reading/workshop/LitFest
If you’re involved in a literary event that involves multiple authors, do NOT all create separate events. Put your heads together and create one great Facebook event listing. First, it’ll look better when everyone is RSVPing in one place. Second, you’ll ensure that the intended audience isn’t getting multiple invites from multiple authors about one event.
2. Constantly asking for people to review your book or vote for you
It’s important to encourage your readers to leave reviews (hopefully positive ones) on Amazon and community book review sites, but don’t make a weekly habit of it. You’ll look desperate. Also, if you’re involved in some kind of literary competition that involves online voting, do NOT pester people every single day asking for more votes. Art is not a popularity contest.
3. Leaving your facebook page half-completed
Did you get all excited about Facebook at some point and then abandon it? Is it hard to tell from your page if you actually exist in the real world? If so, either complete the missing info and post some new content, or de-activate your page. It looks unprofessional.
4. Posting your stream of consciousness updates every 20 minutes
If you’re posting more than a few times a day, it better be good stuff! Don’t use your Facebook page as your personal profile. The few folks who might care what you’re up to every day will stop caring quick.
5. Incessant negativity
Every once in a while it’s ok to be honest and vulnerable on Facebook. You can vent your frustrations from time to time. But keep those kinds of posts as the exception. Bitching, whining, sour grapes, jealousy, and putting other writers down– no one needs a daily dose of that.
OK. WE GET IT!!!!! You have something really important to tell us. May I suggest instead you choose from the following list of words: excited, thrilled, stoked, psyched, amped, beside-ourselves, overjoyed, blitzed, inspired, amazed, flushed, or atingle?
7. Posting crappy photos that you’re not even in
Oh, great. Another highly pixelated image of… what is that? A pint glass next to a taco wrapper? Next! take great pics. And be sure to relate them somehow to your writing life (or travels) with the description.
8. Advertising by posting on someone else’s wall
Remember MySpace? This is the kinda nonsense that would happen on MySpace all the time– and why people stopped using it. Do NOT put your marketing messages on other people’s Facebook walls. That is what YOUR wall is for.
9. Begging for “likes”
It’s OK once in a while to ask your personal friends on Facebook to “like” your author page. Don’t make a weekly habit of the practice, though. Your page won’t get “liked,” and you might find that even your personal Facebook profile is losing friends.

On free eBook readers

eBooks can be read on virtually any device, from Macs to PCs and iPads to smartphones. Best of all, it’s free. While you’ll still have to pay for each book (unless borrowed from a library) you don’t have to invest in a dedicated reader if you don’t want to. The most popular format is ePUB, which can be read on any mainstream eReader apart from Kindle (made by and arguably the most popular e-reader on the market). Kindle uses the MOBI format.

Windows and Mac
There are a couple of different options for reading eBooks if you’re using a computer. Kindle Reader, which can be downloaded free from, is one of the more popular and makes for easy reading. It lets you customise the book’s formatting and fonts to suit you. It does require setting up an account with Amazon, though this works in your favour, as the next time you purchase a book online it’ll automatically load in your Kindle Reader. The other alternative is to download a free Sony eReader which will require registration, etc but it will allow you to read DRM-free eBooks in the ePUB format.
Download Kindle Reader  — Download eReader

However, the Kindle Reader only reads MOBI format, and while there are other programmes to convert and change the different formats, they require downloading and installing new files which can be quite a hassle. So for everything else, there’s a programme called Calibre. Not only is Calibre an eReader for your computer, it can also be used to convert eBooks into any format of your choosing — providing the eBook is not DRM protected!
Download Calibre.

Reading eBooks on the iPad is also easy. The iPad comes with a dedicated application called iBooks, which can read most eBook formats, and Amazon’s Kindle Reader is also free to download, meaning you have all bases covered for the one-off cost of free. The same goes for all iPhones and iPod Touches.
If your smartphone is an Android, there are all the same apps available for you too, with Kindle, Kobo and Nook free to download.

And finally the launch!

Launching an online bookstore had been something I have always wanted to do — it was on my ‘bucket-list’  The change in the direction of Kalmak Consultancy provided the opportunity (excuse) to do it. One of the main justifications is that New Zealand is poorly served by eBook distributors with only Amazon reaching into the antipodes. There are still issues with DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection that the publishers jealously cling to despite the experience with the music industry and the open-source community.

I think it has been shown that if a product is reasonably priced that people will pay for it instead of stealing it. It will remain to be seen how well this principle applies to eBooks published here.