Javacia Harris Bowser is one of my favorite Birmingham women. Though she is already a full-time English teacher and busy freelance writer, she is also committed to building a connective and supportive network for woman writers in Birmingham. Named See Jane Write, this organization holds workshops to help established and aspiring writers hone their craft. Not surprisingly, she has recently been contacted by individuals from other cities about founding chapters outside of Birmingham.
This summer, Bowser plans to fulfill a childhood dream by launching a magazine. I spoke with her by e-mail a while back about the connectivity of social media and her current projects.
Write, Clair. Write!: How did you first start using social media?
JHB: When I was in grad school I heard all of the undergrad students in the communications class I taught talking about something called Facebook. I didn’t think much of it then, but after I graduated and got a job at an alternative weekly my new co-workers were all talking about this Facebook thing too so I decided to check it out and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Around that time, though, I was mostly into MySpace. (Remember that website?) I even maintained a blog through my MySpace where I posted about my life and posted my poetry. I joke about MySpace nowadays, but that website actually showed me how you could build a platform, share your art, and express yourself online and through social media.
WCW: I know that you are a huge advocate of using Twitter as a connective medium. What do you like most about it?
JHB: I love that Twitter can allow you to connect with people you may have otherwise never met. Just think about it, if it weren’t for Twitter I may not have ever met you! [Editor’s note: That story is well-documented here.]
WCW: How are you using social media to build your Writeous Babe Project and See Jane Write brands?
JHB: I have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for both WriteousBabe.com and See Jane Write.
My big social media success story has actually been with the See Jane Write Facebook group. I have managed to build an amazing community with that page, with women writers sharing blog posts, writing wisdom, dreams, goals and so much more via this page.
WCW: What would be your advice to Gen Y and Millennials on social media use?
JHB: Always be mindful of how you are presenting yourself on social media. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show personality. You absolutely should show personality and you should be genuine. But don’t tell your followers and fans all your life problems. Facebook is not your therapist. Don’t post pictures of yourself drunk or half-naked and NEVER use your social media accounts to bad mouth your boss.
Also, consider how you can use social media to help other people instead of always simply thinking about how you can use it to help yourself. Take time to use social media to promote other people and their work, to share valuable information, and to connect people.