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Monday, August 22, 2011

Facebook, Twitter, Teenagers, and Publication

Over the past three years, I've had the privilege of working with a group of middle-school girls at my church. Sometimes people raise their eyebrows when I tell them this. We all remember our own middle-school days and how turbulent they were. Some of us as parents of middle-schoolers know how emotionally challenging this age can be to parent and guide. But I love the girls I've been trusted to mentor and have so enjoyed watching them grow in maturity over these three years.

This weekend, I attended a leader retreat/seminar as a ramp-up to the new school year. One of the breakout sessions discussed social media. An interesting point was made about this generation and how they have to school their parents on social media because it is new and foreign to our generation and certainly our parents' generation. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Stumble Upon, LinkedIn, Oovoo: these are new languages for us and can be incredibly intimidating. Last night, I had dinner with dear friends who parent teenagers. They voiced their lack of understanding of the social media their children use and their frustration with this lack of understanding. My daughter is too young to be on Facebook, but the girls I work with at my church are on it. And, as Adam Hann (check his brilliance out here: http://adamhann.com) and Matt Parks (check out his beautiful art and thoughts: http://ponderingloudly.blogspot.com) so artfully put it this weekend, these posts are a window into their souls. As parents, we must develop an understanding because social media isn't a fad. It's the way our children communicate. I mentioned to my friends last night that it actually allows us to monitor our children's activities and relationships in a much more intimate way than our parents were able to monitor us.

What does this have to do with my journey to get The Beauty of Grace published? Well, this weekend reminded me that I can't ignore this blog (as I've done over the last month), and I must learn how to effectively use social media to reach other writers, readers, and especially agents. The publishing industry is changing so rapidly. If I don't develop and nuture an online presence, I will be left behind.