When I started writing novels five years ago, I had no idea how much time I’d spend using social media and other digital means of communication in order to promote my books. I’m still not exactly sure what Twitter is all about, but as I mentioned in my last post, I try to learn from my favorite authors and my writer friends, and attempt to do the things that they do. So please don’t tell anyone. Let’s just let everybody think I’ve got it all figured out.
Texting makes complete sense to me, but with Twitter, there’s this whole other system of abbreviations, hash tags, and other elements that I can’t quite wrap my head around. Am I tweeting to the world at large? If so, that puts significantly more pressure on which 140 characters I choose. I did learn how to tweet a photo from my iPhone while at a book signing event with two other authors. They also taught me how to use the Square with my iPhone to accept credit card payments for book sales, when I don’t have a book seller handy to take care of that for me. So I’m learning.
I always thought of myself as technologically savvy, having worked for three different software companies, early in my career, but it’s a whole new world out there now. When I walk up to my car, it automatically unlocks for me. I get in and push the starter button, and the seat moves forward to the exact position it knows I like. Then I push one button on my steering wheel and tell my car to “call Patrick.” It responds with, “Patrick, mobile, dialing.” When he answers, I just start talking. I never even have to take my phone out of my purse. But the best part is the GPS. The nice lady in the GPS tells me to “prepare to turn left,” and then “in 300 yards, turn left,” and when I reach the intersection she tells me, “turn left,” just in case I hadn’t understood her the first two times.
Being a control freak by nature, it’s difficult for me to blindly follow what my GPS tells me to do. So when going somewhere completely new, I usually look up the address on Google Maps, and drag the little yellow man down to the street view so I can take a look around and become familiar with the area. And if that’s not enough, which it isn’t, I usually print out both the directions and the map. I hate being late, so while these measures may seem extreme, I have a pretty decent track record for being on time. Sometimes, the printed instructions and the GPS disagree. When that happens, I usually go with the printed directions. But that clearly irritates the GPS, because the moment I make a turn she hasn’t directed me to make, she says, “route recalculation,” and I’m sure I detect a note of petulance in her voice.
I am constantly amazed by the tools at my disposal now days, but keep in mind that the first IBM computer I used was the size and shape of an upright piano, complete with a bench, that spit out long streams of ticker tape with holes punched in it. The tape was automatically wound around two spindles, and when I removed it from the posts, I had to put a rubber band around it to prevent it from unrolling. it was then manually dated and tossed in a box with all the other paper bow ties. Mind you, I was VERY young at the time.
I do not fear technology, but rather strive to bend it to my will. Sometimes it just takes a few tries. Now I’m going to publish this blog post, link it to a Facebook post, share it on my Facebook author page, and like it, maybe in both places. I might event tweet it, who knows. Anything is possible these days.