We talk a lot here about how we’re using social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook to publicize our books. I was a late comer to these applications and, like a lot of people of my generation, came to them with a high degree of skepticism. I won’t say that that skepticism has been entirely eliminated, either, since I’ve seen so many fads and fanaticisms come and go over the years. However, I can relate a recent experience that suggests the usefulness of social networking for persons and organizations with a product to sell and for individuals interested in products to buy.
I have been a long-time (and I mean LONG-TIME) fan of the Scottish folk singer Al Stewart. (Those who remember Al from the sixties remember one song, “Year of the Cat,” and that’s about it. There have been lots more.) After I’d been using Facebook for a few weeks, I poked around and found a fan page for Al and signed up, joining another thousand or so fans. A thousand fans is not a shabby number but it’s still a small following by Facebook standards. From time to time, I would post a thought or two on the page’s wall, nothing very much, and while I listened frequently to his music, the Facebook page remained In the background, more or less forgotten.
I was surprised, therefore, when in the past week, Al’s lead guitarist Dave Nachmanoff sent me a message (probably sent to all the fans or at least those who had posted) informing me of a new live CD that could be ordered from his Website. Visiting the site, not only did I order the CD, I also noticed that Al and his band would be coming to the Cary area this fall. I wrote back to Dave and he responded with a friendly note and we’ve exchanged a few since. That is a kind of interaction that was probably not possible until very recently. The upshot is that, come November, I can look forward to meeting my favorite singer and in the meantime, I can enjoy listening to his latest work. All thanks to Facebook.
Social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter can make possible a closer interaction between performer and fan, writer and reader, seller and buyer than has ever been possible before. This one small experience illustrates that. We here at SAS Press and SAS Publishing are working toward furthering that interaction, in our own way, every day.