Platform Building from Jail

by Jeanette Levellie

Dear Savvy Granny:
I am a newbie writer, trying to build my platform by joining all the social networking sites. Everyone tells me I need to get on Merry Mug Shots. They say it’ll help me gain exposure as a writer, so people will recognize my name and buy my books. Are you on Merry Mug Shots? If so, has it helped you gather a tribe?
Clueless in Seattle
Dear Clueless:
Yes, I joined Merry Mug Shots a couple of years ago. It’s a great way to keep up with family and friends who’ve never heard of letter writing, and think a phone is for typing with only their thumbs. But you must strategize to gain your bevy of buddies. Like I did.
At first, I accepted friendship requests from every Mabel, Butch, and Greta who breezed onto my profile and offered me a cyber dark chocolate. Merry Mug Shots must have known the kinds of people I liked to hang out with, because they posted suggestions of new ones to befriend, complete with a mug shot of each. How sweet of them to help me gain more friends, I thought.  I spent many merry moments on their site.
Then they put me in jail.
Yep. Seems I had knocked on the doors of too many people who reported that they didn’t know me from Eve. Merry Mug Shots sent me a not-so-merry message, forbidding me for seven days from making new pals in the MMS playground. I think it was meant to make me cry, put away my pail and shovel, and repent of my too-chummy ways.
What MMS didn’t know was that I came out of the womb with business cards in my wee hand, introducing myself to every nurse, doctor, and aide in the hospital. I planned birthday parties for all the newborns in the nursery, and volunteered to be the clown.  I came back six weeks later to teach my first How to Make Friends and Influence Parents class.
Nope. MMS jail didn’t scare me. I’d been making friends for fifty years when Merry Mug Shots was still a dollar sign in her daddy’s eye. In fact, I got more friend requests while I was in jail than I’d had the entire two years my mug shot was out in cyber land. So my advice to you is: join MMS right away, and then request friendships of every kid in the sandbox, until someone gets suspicious and they throw you in jail.
This will do more for your writing career than all the platform-building schemes out there. They don’t call me Savvy Granny for nothin’.


  1. Well told, well disguised and good advice!

  2. I agree with Jan; good advice, Jen! :)

  3. How cute! Glad you're out of Merry Mug Shots jail! Now if I could just break out of Bird Peeps little prison... ;)

  4. I've been locked up before too for making the false assumption that other writers would want to connect with me. More amusing than damaging. Great piece, enjoyed the wit!
    Wagging Tales

  5. Jeanette:
    Does this mean that you now have a 'record?' ;) I hope not. How would it look? A pastor's wife 'doing hard time' for something like making friends. Honestly, I think they set you up.
    Seriously, I thought this was cute.

  6. Beth: Oh, no, not you! I'll send you a file in a cake of birdseed.

    Charmaine and Sandra: Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

    Quiet: Yes, I think I was framed, too.

    Denise; Thanks!

  7. Jeannette, You are so cleaver. I love that advice. I needed to read this. Why do I keep forgetting my business cards? Spend hours in the hospital yesterday and didn't have my business cards! Thank you for catching my attention today.


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