If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Social Is As Social Does

For my daughter's generation, the words "social" and "media" have always been linked. For me, a forty-something woman looking fifty-something right in the eyes, learning to work the virtual network revolution has been like riding a particularly quixotic tornado.

I'm grateful for it, though. It helps me keep up with the daily lives of far-flung family and friends. It allows me to connect with readers both right next door and across the continent. It exposes me to perspectives and stories that I otherwise would have missed and gives me a broader, much more nuanced view of the world.

But woo-boy, can it get rough out there sometimes. I have connections across the political and socioeconomic spectrum, from ultra-conservative Tea Partiers to way-liberal Green Partiers, and when they meet in conversation on my Facebook page, sparks can fly.

In order to keep the discussion productive, I subscribe to the "front porch" philosophy of social discourse. It goes something like this. My home page is like the front porch of my brick and mortar home. It's my property, for sure – any guests are here with my permission – but it's only quasi-private. People wandering by on the street could hear our conversations, and if they know me or one of my guests, might decide to come across the lawn and join in. Which they are welcome to do, but the porch is my property, and as such, I reserve the right to decide the topics of conversation and the tone of the conversation. If people don't like my choices…well, they have their own porches.

It's a way of looking at social media interactions that works for me and that I carry with me whenever I visit other people's virtual porches. Here are some other best practices I've gleaned from my travels across the World Wide Web.

1. Feel free to disagree, but be careful how you do it. If you wouldn't say something to a person's face, don't say it on their page.

2. On your own page, you get the last word. On other people's pages, they get the last word (thanks to friend and smart guy Chris Booker for this one).

3. Agreement is easy – dissent is hard. Feel free to agree with anyone just about anywhere. Be more careful how you disagree. As a rule, if you are engaged in a discussion on someone else's page, don't argue with anyone outside of your friend/follower network – let the owner of said page deal with their overly aggressive relatives and clueless co-workers.

4. If someone steps out of line, you can ask them to cease and desist. If the violations continue, delete the offensive comments and if necessary, the offending commenter. But the latter is a step of last resort.

5. If you accidentally violate someone's porch rules, apologize and stop. Just stop. Maybe you didn't mean to be insulting. Maybe you were trying to be humorous. No matter. No justifying. Just stop.

6. Use your own words whenever possible. Emoticons can be helpful to establish tone, but they can't carry meaning very well. Also, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya, that little squiggle may not mean what you think it means. Use caution.

So far, these guidelines have proven helpful as I've navigated my way around the internet landscape. Share your own tips for navigating social media in the comments. Perhaps I'll see you visiting on someone's virtual front porch, and we can share some virtual lemonade and chat a spell. Politely and with great mutual respect, of course.

20 comments:

KM Rockwood said...

I'm older than you, Tina, and further behind in adjusting to social media. I know I should probably spend more time & effort to master it, but every time I think I've got something figured out, it changes.

And I've learned to be careful. Things may not be what they seem. Who would figure that LOL means "laugh out loud," not "lots of love"?

Margaret Turkevich said...

Yesterday while I was pounding out the miles at the gym (Cincinnati is heat dome country) I heard someone spouting outrageous political commentary. Several other people were so offended they left the area. It's time to declare the Fitness Center a political commentary free zone, three + months before the election.

At the Midwest Writer's Workshop I took a 45 minute social media tutorial. My very patient tutor showed me how to "unfriend" someone on FB. And I did so, with glee!
Most of my tutorial was about twitter. sigh. It's time.

Tina said...

KM, I love your mention of LOL. I saw an article once, a collection of weird texts from parents, and the mother was sending LOL in response to a notification of a death. Her daughter had to explain why that wasn't appropriate. Like my daughter is always explaining to me. No, she says, shaking her head. Just no.

Margaret, I am a late convert to Twitter. It's overwhelming at first, but now I enjoy it. I'm on there as @TinaWhittle. Look me up!

Grace Koshida said...

Great post, Tina. I am pretty late in following any social media. I only joined Facebook last year(!), and did not start posting and/or replying to posts until I retired from work this spring, and now have time, LOL! And no Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram etc. yet...Facebook is keeping me plenty occupied as it is!!

Kait said...

What wonderful rules, Tina. Everyone should adhere to the rules of courtesy and civility in public. No matter if it's social media, or as Margaret points out, a gym. Things happen so fast on social media, and none of it is retractable. When I was little, my mother used to tell me not to say anything I wouldn't want to read on the front page of the New York Times. Although I'm sure I have lapses, I do try to adhere to that saying. And I try to honor everyone's opinion by not attempting to force mine on them.

Terry Odell said...

I've always felt that my "friends" on Facebook are not the sort who would help me move, much less hide the body. While I'll accept friends up to FB's 5000 limit on my profile page, it's only because I'm too lazy to cull them. None of the posts I make there go to them--I have my settings so only my family and 'close friends' -- people I actually KNOW -- will see them. Everything else happens on my author "Page" and politics and religion are out of the mix. I'm sorry, but I have to laugh when I see people threatening to unfriend someone who disagrees with them, as if it's a threat.
There was a clever graphic about how many people change their opinions based on FB posts. The bottom line: Zero.

Twitter? It's for having a little fun. 95% of what goes on there slips through my feeds too fast to see. I use it more to keep up with family than anything else.

Tina said...

I feel your time constraint, Grace -- one could spend all one's time being social and never see another person face to face! Facebook is my main social media platform, and you're right -- it's enough to keep me hopping.

Tina said...

I too am a big proponent of courtesy and civility too, Kait. It seems to me the best way to honor that diversity of opinion. Plus there's no quicker way to get someone to stop listening to your message than to insult them. So good manners and good strategy are not mutually exclusive.

Cate Noble said...

I've been a fan of your front porch analogy for a while, Tina, but holy-moly is it ever timely in this election season. (Gah! How the heck do you spell "moly" anyway? Get behind me, auto-correct.) Overall, I'm doing a lot less commenting these days. Likewise, I'm reading fewer comment streams. The upside is I'm getting on and off Facebook in record time. I've been doing a record-breaking amount of unfollowing in an attempt to curate my newsfeed, but alas, even that has become tedious to the point where I regularly debate leaving Facebook. Unfortunately, several writing groups I love have forums on Facebook, so it's not as easy to quit.

Tina said...

Terry, I've had to defriend a couple of people who wouldn't respect my rules, but mostly I make judicious use of the "unfollow" button. Which is a tough decision, because some people do perceive the potential of unfriending as a threat, especially if that person is someone you know IRL (In Real Life, as my daughter explains).

I'm one of the people who actually has changed my mind about things based on an FB post -- well, the post is what started my investigation, I should say. My mind is not a single issue voter, and I make it a point to engage media from "the other side," but I think I'm a minority on that second part. I am always hopeful there are others out there like me, though. And I think I write to them. Letters in bottles tossed into the great social media sea.

See you out there in the FB fray! And the Twitterverse!

Tina said...

I think I spot you some days on the edge of Facebook, Cate, bags packed. I think I have met you on that virtual train platform, ready to leave it all behind. But then, I realize (like you mentioned) what It All includes. And so I sigh and head back.

There's a tension between curating one's feed to the point of making it an echo chamber and opening it to whatever riff-raffy ideas come dragging dirty feet into the house. (Spellcheck insists that riff-raffy isn't real either, but pfft). It's easier with real people. And much much harder.

I always look for your posts on FB and Twitter -- guaranteed to make my day. Thank you for being out there still. I would miss you.

Warren Bull said...

Don't post anything you'd be uncomfortable with if it was tattooed on your forehead.

Tina said...

Succinct and to the point, Warren.

Grace Koshida said...

I totally agree, Tina, too much of your time can get consumed in responding to social media. I am finding I have less time to READ MYSTERY FICTION, which was the total opposite of what I want! But I do like FB and blogs as a way to connect with mystery authors like you, and other enthusiastic mystery fiction readers. It's a great on-line community for that, I find. Grace

Tina said...

Grace, I totally support your worthy goal -- we should all READ MYSTERY FICTION! Thank you for being one of those readers and members of our community. You make the world go round!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Tina, excellent rules! Mine are quite similar. I have friends of all persuasions on FB and Twitter and allow discussions of most issues. Usually after one warning, they all keep the discussions civil. Lately, though, I've had a number of strangers wander in off the streets looking for a fight. I think some political factions send folks trolling the internet just to stir up trouble and plant their big lies. After the first few times, I've now become quicker at hitting Delete and Block. I've only rarely had to unfriend, although I have unfollowed some particularly dedicated and volatile friends on both extremes. After the election, I'll undo that. It's less drastic than unfriending. They don't know I'm not getting their posts, but I don't get inundated with rabid political lies of both extremes. Twitter is a different case from FB, however. It's much more hard-hitting and much less polite. And if you unfollow someone or mute them, it's not such a big deal. I've only once had to block someone, a man who hated women and people of color and me and used a lot of profanity to let me know that. On my blog, I've been the target of concerted fou-mouthed group attacks by trolls, probably whipped up somewhere on Reddit. I delete those comments and block those commenters permanently from commenting on my blog. Each platform requires different techniques to manage it.

Tina said...

I am a HUGE fan of that unfollow button. And I've seen on your page the drive-by commenters you mention (one of them was VERY familiar to me). You handle all these interactions very well, and I'm always impressed with your ability to foster productive conversation. Carry on!

Jim Jackson said...

Your front porch rules make great sense, Tina. I tend not to post political things on my own page. On others' pages I usually ignore politics until I see factual errors (on the right or left) or references to articles that are two years old (and no longer applicable), then the truth-teller in me points out the problem -- often gets roasted for it by those who choose to ignore inconvenient facts that don;t support their position.

I've unfriended a few people based on being rude, not on their politics.

Gloria Alden said...

Tina, I like your front porch rules. I don't go on Facebook very often, because when I do, I tend to scroll down and leave comments with people I know when they post something I agree with. I never post anything negative on my page or anyone else's page. However, my biggest problem with Facebook, is no matter who I leave a comment for, even if it's a Happy Birthday, my inbox starts to fill up with Bertha Bigmouth left a comment on Larry Lard bottom's page. I really don't care who else leaves comments. I do know I can't wait for the presidential election for this very divisive season to end.

Tina said...

Politics seems to bring out the rude, that is for sure...and the hateful, which will also get a quick defriend from me. I don't talk about politics much either, but when I do, it's usually either in celebration (like, yay same-sex marriage) or mourning (like grieving all the recent mass violence) or to share something I consider informative (like on policing or brain science). I'm quite tolerant about opposing viewpoints because I'm a curious person, so it's very hard to get me to push that defriend button. That said, I've had to do it twice today, one for misogynistic obscenity and the other for suggesting genocide as a fine solution to our current world problems(and these are fellow writers, which to me is just the shockingest thing ever because I adore writers). I'm sure those two individuals might consider themselves blocked for their politics, but nah.