Clare: Wait, watch out for that sign!!
Clare: With the festivities begun we now return to our regularly scheduled blog. This month’s thoughts are brought to us courtesy of Yahoo Mail and their wonderful insistence on upgrading their users' Yahoo Experience with yet another !NEW! and supposedly !IMPROVED! version.
Clare: Yes, growing tired of users who repeatedly click past their attention-getting Upgrade Now screens …
Chrissy: We do what??
Clare: … in true draconian fashion, Yahoo has made the switch for us.
Chrissy: Forcing us, despite their not-so-very-helpful what’s changed memos, to spend time allocated to more interesting pursuits in relearning how to use our email, reset our privacy settings, and find our chat screen. Really, I was fine with things the way they were.
Clare: But if that’s the case, then why did they change it? Surely, there must be something better about the program?
Chrissy: *rolls eyes* If there is, I’ve not found it yet. Supposedly it’s better, stronger, faster, but other than an option to choose some background coloring, truthfully the upgrade just seemed to be an excuse to add some applications that once again require the user to surrender all privacy and grant unlimited access to various data mining services. Oh, and there’s more and larger blocks of advertising.
Clare: Didn’t we discuss that very same trend with Facebook in a previous post? It seems like every time they make a change I have to go back in and reset my privacy settings. *mutters* Once I find where the privacy setting screen has been moved to.
Chrissy: Yepper. Which leads to our question for the day: is all change really always good or necessary? Whatever happened to the old standard, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?
Clare: Left in the dust on the information highway, I fear.
Chrissy: Even the word upgrade has been, well, upgraded.
Clare: No way.
Chrissy: Yes way. Or rather - upgrading the Beyonce way.
Clare: Love that comment: "She is absolutely gorgeous. What was she selling?" *mwhahaha*
Chrissy: I hesitate to show any more of my conspiracy theory paranoia than I have to...
Clare: Show and tell, show and tell!
Chrissy: ... but it’s hard not to wonder how much of this constant change in social network platforms or other programs is actually engineered to our benefit, and how much is a way for the marketing and data mining programs to slide something past us?
Clare: A depressing thought, but I agree, it's likely to be modern business practice rather than paranoia. And how are we meant to keep up? It seems like every time we turn around we have an invitation to try another, exciting new product.
Chrissy: Even worse, we get used to a platform or program and then suddenly, they either yank it away or it stops working. Remember out great experiment with Google Docs, at first so promising? At last, so totally refusing to load?
Clare: *arrgh* I know. How about the gradual demise of Google Groups? Of course, we now know that this change was to pave the way for the new Google+ Social Network platform. Frankly, even as a poster child for cross-posting technology (that's cross-POSTING, Chrissy ...), I’m almost too exhausted to even try and place my brand on yet another site.
Chrissy: Where do we want to spend our time? Tumblr or Twitter? Facebook or Google +? Goodreads, Shelfari or Library Thing? Not to mention the myriad and ever-expanding list of individual groups and communities.
Clare: Gawd, someone give me a margarita. Or two.
Chrissy: And this is where we have to wonder. Do we really need another social networking site?
Clare: Well, maybe *we* don’t, but the large companies do.
Chrissy: They need friends?
Clare: They need profit, my dear.
Chrissy: As authors interested in marketing and promoting our work there’s always the fear of falling behind in our online presence. If we don’t jump on the latest and greatest bandwagon will we suddenly be out of touch with our target audience?
Clare: How long do we have to learn how to fully utilize a site before the thrill is gone and our fickle public decides it’s time to move on to something new?
Chrissy: And how do we tell what’s going to be fab and what’s going to be a fad?
Clare: Just look at how quickly MySpace dropped off the face of the earth. If that had been our main platform we would now be practically invisible on the web. Of course, that’s another good reason to have a main author website that’s updated regularly and independent of a social network.
The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.
Chrissy: It would be easy to feel out of control and at the mercy of the web world with its ever-changing whims.
Clare: But despite our title, the answer isn’t to dig in our heels, bury our heads, and refuse to flow along with the mainstream.
Chrissy: Are you sure? That works so well for me.
Clare: Chrissy ...
Chrissy: The trick is to find a way to make the inconstant web work for us. Set up our main website hub and then spend our time at a group or two that we actually enjoy being a part of.
Clare: And with judicious use of the networking options available to us learn to let our audience come to us, instead of vainly chasing after them.
Clare and Chrissy: So how do you view change in our online world? Do you have whiplash from trying to keep up with the latest and greatest? Do you feel burnt-out, and sometimes just wish the world would slow down and let things be or are you ahead of the pack when it comes to the new and improved? Which of the quotes above best express your feelings when it comes to change?
To celebrate our Blogaversary EVERYONE gets a chance to score our glittery swag. Just email Chrissy at Chrissymunder@yahoo.com and give her your mailing address. Comment on this month's post you'll automatically be entered in a random drawing to win your choice of an ebook download from either of our backlists. Winner to be announced at our next monthly blog post.
For more helpful tips on online marketing for authors and helping the web to work for you, please visit Clare's Website and read the text version of her recent talk given at the UK Meet 2011.
JULY Winner: josephine_myles - Congratulations! Please email your mailing address to Clare at email@example.com for your festive Clare and Chrissy Swag.
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