My Encounter With a Social Media Tutor

My Encounter With a Social Media Tutor

by Mary Ellen Stepanich

For three days and nights, from July 20 through July 22, 2017, I attended the Midwest Writers Workshop at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. I don’t know how I received the notice about this workshop, but I’m so glad I did!

2017 mwwc

There were more than 20 authors on the faculty, many of whom were bestselling New York Times celebrities, and more than a dozen agents, editors, and specialists. The latter included Jessica Strawser, Editorial Director of Writer’s Digest, and Jane Friedman, former editor of Publishers Weekly and lecturer for The Great Courses on how to get published. Talk about words of wisdom!

Not only were there multiple classes to choose from – morning, noon, and night – but also there were several opportunities for one-on-one conversation with the faculty, agents, and editors/specialists in 30-minute sessions called “Buttonhole the Experts.” There were 35 tables in a huge ballroom, with an “expert” at each one, and seven or eight workshop participants at each table, who had about a half-hour to chat informally with the expert. And then at the ringing of a bell (just like speed dating), everyone would rise and head to another expert’s table for an additional chat. This process was repeated three times, on two mornings. More words of wisdom!

But the highlight of the Workshop was my private conversation with a social media tutor who had previously studied my answers to a survey he’d sent, as well as an examination of my website and blog.

Stepanich website banner

The only problem – I discovered subsequently, when looking at the notes I took during the session – was that I understood only about one word of every 40 or 50 out of his mouth. He was young, talked fast, and used abbreviations and acronyms unfamiliar to me. Even more words of wisdom …but totally wasted on me!

Here are some of my notes, which you may (or may not) find useful:

  • Get a You Tube account. (Post a video of my quartet, Lilac Crazy.)
  • Insert a pitch at the end of the video. (Pitching my books?)
  • Create a book trailer. (I need to refer to my notes from Laura’s class!)
  • Use iMovie to create a 20-second elevator pitch. (Not sure which elevator to pitch.)
  • Include links to my website. (Not sure where to put these links.)
  • Learn web editing… visit for tutorials on html. (By the way, html doesn’t mean “hot mail,” as I thought; it means “hyper text markup language.” Who knew? And should I care?)
  • Having the ISBN numbers on the website is outdated. (I thought it was required!)
  • I should break up my long blogs with pictures. (Laura has said that, too!)
  • Put SEO words in blog titles. (Don’t understand this – I thought the title should reflect the blog.)
  • My blogs should focus on artistic clients (e.g., singers, artists, companies dealing with artsy things).
  • Put snippets of my reading on You Tube. (Okay, okay, I’ll get a You Tube account!)
  • And finally, an indication of the generation gap between this guy and me: “You need an image every 20 or 30 seconds.” (Is that reading or talking time?)

Mary Ellen StepanichDr. Stepanich is a retired professor of organizational behavior. She told her students at Purdue, “I’m very organized, but my behavior’s a bit wonky.” Her publications include academic journal articles; stories in Good Old Days magazine; a memoir, D is for Dysfunctional … and Doo-Wop; a novel, The Doo-Wops and the B-Flat Murder; and an award-winning radio play, Voices From the Front. Mary Ellen blogs on her website at, and can be reached via e-mail at

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2 Responses to My Encounter With a Social Media Tutor

  1. Rita Goldner says:

    From a fan who also has “old dog new tricks” syndrome, this blog resonates with me. Like your tips, and I guess I’ll try you-tube, too.


  2. Beth Kozan says:

    Looks like Time Well Spent, Mary Ellen! Looking forward to the upgrades you mention.


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