I have a Facebook confession: I haven’t checked my news feed of friends’ status posts in months.

After an initial flurry of keeping up, I have settled on using Facebook as a place to report occasional things of interest in my own status reports, and to treat other people’s profiles as aggregate, rather than immediate, sources of info. When I want to catch up on someone in particular (and I often do), a quick visit to their profile will catch me up on their recent life. This is much more useful to me than trying to keep up with the daily deluge.

I decided I needed a professional profile as well as my personal one. It wasn’t just a matter of keeping baby photos private; it’s the content of status updates too. The things my personal friends will find entertaining are different from what are relevant for me as a writer to report. So I have two profiles: a personal one under my married name, which is full of child pix and personal status info, and my professional account, http://www.facebook.com/emilywinslow.author

My purposes in having an author Facebook profile are:

  • To keep in contact with other writers. I’ve friended many of the authors I “know” from various online writing communities.
  • To give readers the opportunity to friend me. When I weighed maintaining a fan page v. maintaining an author profile, I chose profile because I, personally, like friending somebody better than fanning them. It feels more personal, even if it isn’t really. (I don’t have plans to do a separate fan page.)
  • To have a place for book-related announcements

I double-friended my personal friends, so they see both my personal and professional profiles.

And, yes, I do mix them up sometimes. My two Facebook selves are friends with each other, so can see each other’s full profiles. When I visit either profile, the face of that profile is at the top, and the “status update” box and “write on the wall” box are identical. I sometimes assume I am that person, when actually I’m logged in as the other, and “comment” as a visitor to the profile when I think I’m “status updating” my own profile. It’s a minor annoyance, and I’m getting in the habit of confirming who I am before I write anything. I think maybe unfriending myselves will help–that way, whichever profile I had access to would be the profile I was logged in as. Hmmm…

Tips: If you want your newsfeed to be at all readable, “hide” annoying quizzes and apps. You have do this for each kind of quiz and app as it comes up, but, once you do, you’ll never see that type again. You can even hide people, and so reduce the number of status reports in your news feed to just the people most personally relevant to you.

I have tweeted a bit, in my role as a blogger at The Debutante Ball. Twitter is too chaotic for me. Maybe one day I’ll wrap my head around it, but for now I simply don’t grok it enough to do it well, I don’t think. Besides, my book name and author name are taken!

Speaking of blogs: The Debutante Ball has been amazing. It’s a group blog started four years ago by a group of five female debut authors, and every year it is passed on to another five. I’m honored and delighted to be a 2010 Deb. I blog every Monday, for my debut year (August 2009–August 2010). The sharing of the workload + it being already established with an audience has been great.

Why did I start this blog? I’ve been involved in a lot of interesting discussions about the promotional aspect of publishing lately, and I’ve found I have a lot to say.

What social media works out best for you, as a writer or reader? Do you prefer Facebook fan pages or Facebook author profiles? What about MySpace and Twitter?

ETA: I’ve given in. At Melanie Benjamin’s urging, I’ve started to tweet.