Sunday, February 20, 2011

GREG PINCUS: He's Geeky So You Don't Have To Be!

One of the fabulous presentations I heard at Saturday's Austin SCBWI conference was by Greg Pincus. I knew Greg from Twitter and the fabulous #kidlitchat sessions on Tuesday nights (8:00 pm CST) he started with Bonnie Adamson.
Aside: After his session Greg told me that he and Bonnie had no idea #kidlitchat would take off and become so popular. It was an experiment. Prime example of the power of social networking because #kidlitchat is huge. If you haven't seen it in action yet, check it out Tuesday night.

Greg started his presentation talking about Fibonacci poetry and I have to admit my first thought was: "Great! Math and poems -- two things I suck at." In fact, I thought if he threw in housework, he'd hit the trifecta of my weakest skills. Why does Greg talk about Fibonacci poetry? Because he started a blog by putting up a Fibonacci poem and in very short order had a two book deal with Arthur Levine. Yes, you read that correctly and you can read more about it in Greg's post here at his GottaBook blog. Sure, more played into his book deal than his having a blog, but the blog mattered.  

Not surprisingly, Greg's presentation was about the power of social networking and how you should go about it. Greg has coined a fantastic word to keep in mind: Profersonal. Yeah, it's the mashup of professional and personal. That Greg, he's a clever guy. Seriously, it's a good word, right? No one has to define it for you. You get it as soon as you hear it.

Greg also gave us this acronym: YAWYSAD
Okay, it's not as catchy as "profersonal" but it's good nonetheless. It stand for: You Are What You Say And Do. He urged us to never forget this when we're online.

Gret sets time limits on his social networking. I can't remember how many blogs he said he reads a day but it was a big crazypants number and he said he spends about 30 minutes doing it. He pointed out that we are all more than just the one aspect of our life we share online. He is a writer and a parent and many other things. Everyone has full lives with many other facets and responsibilities beyond the hat they wear online. What we see online is what they've chosen to share. Choose what you want to share online. Having a plan is integral to making social networking work for you. There are no rules. If you like to share information about your children, that is okay. If you want to share nothing about your personal life, that is perfectly okay too, but you do need to remember to be a person and that social networking is about making connections.

He also imparted this social networking wisdom: There should be no responsbility or expectation in social networking. If you read someone's blog, keep up with their FaceBook status updates, or follow them on Twitter, you should have no expectation they will do the same for you. Likewise, you should feel no responsibility to do any of those things for anyone else.

In fact, if you do not feel comfortable doing any social networking at all, then you should feel no obligation to participate on any level. Yes, he's known as a social networking guru and even he says you are not obligated to participate on any level. It can be an effective tool, but only if you're interested and comfortable.

Greg said everyone is always asking for the one true key to social networking. He said if such a thing exists, it is this: CONNECT.

Be a person. Be yourself. But always remember to be profersonal.

He also said, "Twitter goes to 11." Yes, that's a Spinal Tap reference. Hey, he tells you upfront that he's geeky so you don't have to be.

Greg's website ( I linked to in the opening of this blog post is full of excellent social networking advice and information. Specifically, you should check out this tutorial and part two of it if you're not familiar with Google Alerts. You will feel like a super spy, a CIA operative, an agent with an agency so secretive it's name shall not be mentioned on the intarwebz...Okay, you'll know if people are mentioning you or your alert topic online, all right? And, you'll know how to find other people talking about stuff you want to know.

Also, I agree with E. Kristin Anderson that Greg should do voice-over work.

Thanks, Greg!


  1. Great recap, Shelli! I missed this presentation, I love "profersonal."

  2. Thanks! I started my notes with Greg's presentation specifically because there were small groups going on at the time and I knew so many people missed him. I really think his presentation would've been beneficial for everyone, whether they were just starting out with social networking or had been all over the net for years. Plus, it was enjoyable to listen to. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing this. Wonderful tips!

  4. Thanks for these notes. I wanted to go to the conference this weekend, but with my book coming out in like 12 days, I'm snowed under.

  5. Wow - that sounds like it was a great presentation. Thanks for sharing your notes - I think social networking is something that can be used wisely, or it can suck us into the vortex. :)

  6. Karen - you're welcome. Greg was a great presenter.

    Bettina - congrats on the new release!

    Tristi - It was a really great presentation. And you're so right. Time limits are a good idea to prevent the sucking into the vortex part. :)


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