How to Ignore Your Mother's Warning

by Brinda Berry

A few years ago, I only socially interacted with people I'd known for years. Even then it was sporadic. I'm not the party type, and I didn't really do Facebook. Then, I signed my first publishing contract and discovered I was expected to engage. I needed to ignore my mother's warning: don't talk to strangers.

I've always loved technology, so it wasn't difficult for me to pick up how different sites worked. Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads are all fun platforms to use "technically". The more difficult task was to actually talk to complete strangers. What do I have to say that would be of any interest at all?

I'd like to share what I've learned about talking to strangers.

1. Share topics that you are interested in and someone else will chime in on the conversation.

2. I like books and reading, so I talk about my current reads or discoveries.

3. Learn to poke fun at yourself. Others will laugh with you.

4. Ask questions. If you need help with anything from finding a good movie over the weekend to solving a computer issue, there are experts who love to help.

5. Be consistent. Don't be the friend who only visits every ten years. Show up on a regular basis and others will feel comfortable knowing that you are a presence.

6. Respond to others when they post. This is a two-way street. Don't expect others to be interested in you if you ignore the opportunity to respond to them.

7. Build relationships in a community. I've made lists in Twitter where I can view posts from people I've learned about and know. I have writer lists, editors lists, reader lists, etc.

8. Introduce others. If you have friends who need a boost up in this social media world, introduce them. It's exactly what you would do in person, so do it online as well.

9. If you're not funny, borrow someone else's humor. I'm not talking about stealing anything. I only suggest that you quote or share humor from others and give them credit. We all like to laugh. Smile!

Do you find it easy to engage with others on social media? What's your favorite or least favorite platform. Why?

You can find Brinda online here:

About Brinda: Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She is the author of the Whispering Woods YA series published by Etopia Press. She's terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality. Brinda doesn't mind being called a geek or "crazy dog lady". When she's not working the day job or writing a novel, she's guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason.


  1. Waving Hi, Brinda!

    I LOVE to engage with people in person and feel the same about social media. My problem?

    Consistency. Twitter, Facebook, my own glob.

    My biggest issue with Facebook is that I don't yet *gasp* fully understand the new formatting and rarely bop over to see what others are saying.

    Twitter? I am getting better with this now that I disabled the feed of Twitter notifications going into an email folder. A folder I could too easily ignore.

    Yes, I love the interaction. NO, I am far from consistent and diligent in keeping up with these platforms.

    This from the person whose glob is only a B-L-O-G on days when Brinda Berry guests.

  2. Thanks for being here today, Brinda. I've always tried to listen to my mom, but... :) Great post.

  3. Wow, you've made lists? I need to get more organized I guess.

    I loved Twitter and still do. I meet some really interesting folks there. I learn so much through blogs, and recently I got better at FB. The more involved I get, the more things get interesting. Opportunities come from those relationships. Some days it doesn't seem worth it, but then eventually a pay off comes.

  4. Rebecca- Thanks so much for having me as a guest. I love the name of your blog. :)

    Gloria- If I could practice #9 by borrowing your funny bone, I'd do well.

    M Pax- Lists are the handiest invention ever. I need to do a post about it sometime. I agree that it gets more interesting when you really dig into it.

  5. Excellent advice, Brinda. Times change, don't they. Twitter is like a big cocktail party with lots of chatter.

  6. Twitter is by far my favorite social media. Interesting people. I've learned to blog which has come in handy, but I don't like Facebook. Too many security changes all the time. Just not for me.

    Great advice for interacting. Thanks.