Journal Entry: Slippers are on. Good sign – Today, February 15th 2010 - I clicked my finger into the world of Facebook. According to Dana Lynn Smith of “Savvy Book Marketing,” an online blog, Facebook has 400 million active users. “If Facebook were a country,” Smith tells us, “it would have the world’s third largest population, behind only China and India.” I have 15 Facebook friends and counting . . .
Don’t you just detest a plastic kind of techie person? Just clicked again into the weird Facebook world. I shared (shyly) a link to my first short story published online by The Copperfield Review. One of my “friends” wrote on Facebook beneath this celebratory announcement: “Going to sweep out the garage.” That evening, at a local reading, that very same person noticed I was being congratulated and strolled over, all smiles for the benefit of the crowd. “Congratulations, Deb.” She winked. No, no, no. Misdemeanor. Sincerity is key, my Facebook friend. Dale Carnegie in his still bestselling book and a great read, How to Win Friends & Influence People, reminds me that “flattery seldom works with discerning people. It is shallow, selfish and insincere. It ought to fail and it usually does.” He goes on to say that true, some people are so hungry, so thirsty for appreciation that they will swallow anything.
I’m not one of those people. “The difference between appreciation and flattery?” Carnegie explains. “That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish, the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.” Cheap praise. Not for me. My writing deserves better. And so do I. When I mention this to my husband, he said he is not surprised. He informs me that this same “friend” was gossiping about me at a recent party while I sat in the next room! You see? It all makes sense now. This “friend” had been criticizing me and spreading ill will about me rather than coming to me with her grievances. I would have apologized for any wrongdoing, but to this day, I do not know why she has it in for me. Remember what Benjamin Franklin said? “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” Great relationships begin, on and offline, with authenticity. A good friend and a computer and technological expert, Bob Stanton, reminds me that there is an old saying and a rule of sales as well: “All things being equal, people buy from whom they know, like and trust. All things being unequal, people buy from whom they know, like and trust.”
Social networking is all about connecting in an honest way. It is not about what someone can get. “Sharing has to be the common link,” Chris Brogan tells us in Social Media 101 and I agree. Whatever type of book you are writing: fiction, memoir, nonfiction, it is all about communicating. I am genuinely trying to help others when I reach out. I am eager to help others and I am happy for their successes, albeit again, I lean toward friends who do not rub their success in your face. Among my now 18 Facebook friends, there are one or two gag-me-with-a-spoon braggarts. Oddly, even online, something comes through the skin and we humans can easily detect those who are genuine or jealous.
P.S. What the heck is branding? My book, The Whipping Club, is my brand; I’m told in Tara Hunt’s The Whuffie Factor. My passion, to help the underdog, to stop religious, social and political injustice is my brand, my passion for writing and interacting with writers globally is my brand, and I’ll wear it on my sleeve, shout it from the streets, draw my own blood for my work and my causes, and talk about writing and man’s inhumanity to man in my Facebook newsfeed.
Causes Deborah Henry Supports
The Irish Arts Center
The Academy of American Poets
The Norman Mailer Center