Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Should We Pay for 'Enhanced' Social Networking?

I must admit, the advent of the World Wide Web has opened up an entire 'metaverse' of possibilities for film, television, and print media previously unknown or experienced. The challenges of riding the waves across the seas of cyberspace are often beyond my skill set. (I still haven't figured out how to effectively create and embed a favicon!) The learning curve can be very steep, but it is necessary for authors, screenwriters, and producers to grab their self-promotional surf boards and hit the tip. (OKay, I admit I'm just a highway surfer here, but the analogy still serves.) 

It may seemI am repeating myself from previous blog entries, but the issue of understanding how to make the most and best use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Plaxo, Blogger, Posterous, Tumblr... (the list goes on and on)... is one of several key steps to success that I find puzzling. I am overwhelmed by the amount of information that I must process on a daily basis. How do I navigate through it all? To go and read about how to do it just adds to my piles of 'to dos'! I am drowning in TMI (too much information)!

So, I decided to jump in to sink or swim. I sign up for and try almost anything with a 'Let's throw it against the wall and see if it sticks' frame of mind. Lately, I renewed my interest in Plaxo. I had an old account, so I went in and updated my profile. Within a day, I got messages on my Facebook page from other entrepreneurs about the benefits of Plaxo. (This stuff spreads like wildfire.) I honestly replied that I found the 'new and improved' Plaxo extremely limited, user unfriendly, and overly solicitous about my paying to upgrade for 'enhanced' services. Most disappointing of all, I would click on the link to my Plaxo public profile so that I could post it on my About.Me page (among others). Only my old profile with its out-of-date information could be seen. I feel that I speak for many when I say, "I DON'T HAVE THE FRIGGIN' TIME FOR THIS!" Plaxo is not on my faves' list.

My recent experience with Plaxo brings me to the question of cost and the reality that many free social networking and profile posting services (including IMDb Pro and LinkedIn) charge to bring a member's profile and network to the 'next level.' Is it worth it?

Three years ago, I spent quite a bit on 'enhanced' services to promote my book, my websites, my film projects, my company, and myself. At the end of the day, I felt that, for the expense, they produced little to nothing. Granted, paid subscriptions did gain me access to information that I might not have been aware of or been able to uncover on my own, AND it did lead to some good contacts, even potential investors. Still, nothing came of it to get my work noticed or produced. Truly, the best way for that to happen is to pick up the phone, pound pavement, and meet agents, producers, and investors face-to-face. Well, at least the expense for enhanced services was tax-deductible.

The economy the way it is, I've had to seriously 'dial back' and am totally dependent on the freebies on the Web. I am certain that many independents can relate. Thank goodness there's still plenty of free services out there (even with their annoying demands for my email address to send me solicitous junkmail). I would still encourage independent authors, filmmakers, producers, and small business owners to get on the stick and learn to ride the swells of social networking. If you don't know how, take a course. I am sure there are thousands available on the World Wide Web. Just Google 'how to learn how to social network'!

No comments:

Post a Comment