Tag Archive for: authors and social media

How Do You Feel About Emojis?

by Gay Yellen

Once upon a time, I had a comfortably introverted life. That all changed in 2014, when my first book came out, and my publisher urged me to join the rest of the world on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms.


At first, it was tough to emerge from my cocoon, but little by little, I was posting like a pro. I came to feel pretty comfortable about it, too, until last year, when I read an article in The Wall Street Journal about the generation gap in how people interpret what the little emoticons mean.

Take the smiley face, for example. People over the age of thirty generally use it to express happiness, or to indicate a positive response, like saying “good job!” Or perhaps, “I’m happy for you.” But you might be dismayed to know that twenty-somethings and teens find it patronizing, and if they use it at all, they deploy it sarcastically.

The skull and crossbones icon has also been reinterpreted by the younger set. Instead of pointing to danger, they use it to show that they are laughing so hard, they’re dying. And the frowny face? For most people, it’s a sign of disapproval or frustration. But for the younger set? They are more likely to be pining for the unobtainable object of their affection.

Since reading the WSJ article, I second-guess myself almost every time I reply to a post. Does my response feel genuine to the person receiving the message? Or does it come across as ironic when it’s meant to be sincere?

And what to make of the pile of Poop emoji, especially if it’s smiling? Even after consulting the internet for the answer, I’m not really sure, although I did learn that, in 2015, it was the most popular emoji in Canada, while the Eggplant reigned supreme in the States. Excrement and sexual innuendo. Lovely.

Thank goodness there’s one icon whose meaning we all seem to agree on. We still feel good when the universal symbol for love is delivered to us, although it may help to know that various heart configurations and colors connote different degrees and types of affection. These days, younger people prefer to use the word “fire” and its icon to indicate their strong positive feelings, especially when the response is to a “hot” person or idea. Heart-hands are gaining on in popularity, too.
If you’re concerned that people may misread your intentions when you use emojis, you could try consulting emojipedia.com or a few emoji bloggers for an answer. Be warned, however, that you might end up even more confused.

As for me, I’m thinking the safest bet it to revert to an old standby that has worked to express our true feelings for centuries: words.
Readers, how do you feel about emojis?

Gay Yellen writes the award-winning

Samantha Newman Mysteries including
The Body Business,
The Body Next Door
(available on Amazon)

Coming soon,

The Body in the News

Social Media – Love It? Or Leave It?

by Sparkle Abbey

It seems lately social media is on fire with current events, opinions, and, of course, cat videos. And baby goats in pajamas, and delicious recipes, and funny memes. And sometimes very personal and life-altering events.

Isn’t it amazing how much we take for granted about that connection. A connection that a few years ago didn’t even exist.

As authors, social media can be dangerous. You go online to check in, or see what your friends are doing, or what’s new in the publishing world and….whoosh! An hour (or two) or writing time just disappeared. True for you? Or is that just us?

So then you decide you must stay offline for a while, because you need to be getting things done. But, easier said than done, right? Pretty soon you’re wondering when was that book event you wanted to go to, and what happened with that situation, and what important things are you missing. And then like a big black hole you’re sucked in again.

Still with all of that, even in times like these, social media connections are important. Maybe especially in times like these. With Hurricane Harvey and now Irma, as well as the wildfires in Montana, California, and the Pacific Northwest. Scary events forcing people to leave their homes and to wonder what they’ll come back to. In these instances, connections via social media have been an important way to check in with each other. To share concerns and offers of help. To let each know that we’re okay. Or not okay.

On a more intimate level, personal losses, health concerns, milestones, and celebrations are also things we often choose to share with our friends on social media sites. Big and small – our disappointments, our fears, and joys. We offer each other encouragement when times are tough. A virtual hug when one is needed. Or a chuckle. Because there are times when we just need a baby goat in pajamas to help us remember to laugh.

At times, we head for that “hive mind” for answers, information, or solutions. “Has anyone seen this error message? Can someone tell me what kind of plant this is?” Or sometimes, we seek opinions. “Which author photo is better? Mac or PC? Has anyone tried this?”

When we think it’s too much and we ought to just opt out, we realize blessing of the many true friends we’ve made via social media. Readers we wouldn’t have had the chance to get to know. Other authors whose opinions we value and respect. Friends. Friends we’ve met and bonded with through this crazy amazing (and sometimes overwhelming) medium.

So, we’d have to say in answer to the “Love It? Or Leave It?” question we posed at the beginning – though we may need a short break from time to time – for the most part we’re loving it!

What do you think? Do you mostly love it? Or often want to leave it? Please share your thoughts…

Sparkle Abbey is actually two people, Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter, who write the national best-selling Pampered Pets cozy mystery series. They are friends as well as neighbors so they often get together and plot ways to commit murder. (But don’t tell the neighbors.) They love to hear from readers and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, their favorite social media sites. Also, if you want to make sure you get updates, sign up for their newsletter via the SparkleAbbey.com website.

Clicking Our Heels – Social Media

Clicking Our Heels – Social Media

In this age of social
media, we thought it would be interesting to ascertain how social media
enhances or distracts from writing. Here are the various Stiletto Gang member

Bethany Maines – Social media has enhanced my writing by connecting
me to readers and writers I wouldn’t have otherwise met. But it’s so easy to
use as a distraction from, you know, actually writing.

Cathy Perkins – Social media lets me interact with people on a
daily basis but it’s a distraction when time is so precious.

Paula Gail Benson – Both. It helps me to learn about things more
quickly, like current events, modern speech patterns, or in-vogue
abbreviations. It also is very addictive. I have to limit my time with it or
I’ve suddenly lost hours.

Sparkle Abbey – Social media is definitely both a wonderful
connection and at times a distraction. It’s so great to be able to connect with
readers and other writers, but it certainly can suck you in and then you wonder
where that hour went!

Kay Kendall – Social media enhances my writing. As an extrovert,
there is no way I could sit in a room day after day and not communicate with
people. With social media, however, I can still communicate to the outside
world. This keeps me at my desk…and happy.

Paffi S. Flood – Oh, definitely, social media has distracted me,
especially twitter. With the election in full swing, I couldn’t seem to tear
myself away, but I really needed to. 

Kimberly Jayne – Social media is a double-edged sword. You need it to
engage with people and, in particular, your readers/fans, but it’s easy to
spend too much time doing that instead of the harder job of writing. You can
dedicate an hour a day to social media; then, in the process look up at the
clock and find you’ve overshot by an extra hour. And I can’t imagine that the
extra hour gives you any more ROI for your efforts than the one- hour goal
would have. 

Debra H. Goldstein – Social media is my nemesis. I know I need it
to connect with readers and fans, as well as to attract new ones, but the time
spent on it distracts from doing other things – usually because instead of
using it for work, I check the news and gossip J

Linda Rodriguez – I would have answered this question differently
not very long ago, but right now, I’d have to say social media does distract me
from my writing. This is primarily because of the election and also a number of
volatile situations involving African American, Latino, and Native civil rights
in the new news. I happen to be passionately involved with those issues. 

Jennae Phillippe – Oh man, it is SUCH a distraction. Honestly, I
think about quitting social media on a semi-regular basis because it is such a
time suck. And while I rely on it to keep me informed, sometimes the sheer
quantity of horrible things shared feels very overwhelming and draining. If I
didn’t need it to connect to readers, I think I would abandon it completely.