Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing a genuine social media enthusiast, who swims through the sometimes turbulent sea of new web technologies with the grace of a dolphin and the persistence of a killer whale. Or is it he other way around?

Please welcome Tamar Weinberg, internet marketing consultant extraordinaire, community support & advertising manager at Mashable.com, and author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web.

Funny enough, Tamar and I used to work IT for the same financial firm some years back, so reconnecting again has been fascinating.

She certainly has a lot of tips and advice she’s constantly sharing on her website, Techipedia.com, so here’s hoping everyone will find something helpful to take away from this interview!

Enjoy, and don’t forget to leave a comment!

CQ: Tell us how you became a social media guru. Have you had any painful lessons you had to learn to get here, that you can share with our readers?

TW: I’ve always really been involved in social media — in 1993, I saw its potential when given an internet-connected computer. I knew it was something I wanted to do so I even went to college and majored in computer science not really knowing how it would help me for social media but knowing that computers were a way to communicate. After I graduated, social media became more mainstream and blogging became an acceptable way for businesses to reach new audiences. I immediately got active everywhere, especially Digg.com, which at the time was the place to be to assert influence.

Today, if you’re looking to become a social media guru, it’s much more difficult because early adopters simply have already been seen as influential. What you can do to stand out is to find and share new discoveries and share great valuable content on a regular basis. Face-to-face networking helps a lot too.

CQ: Which social network(s) are your “go-to” hangouts these days? Which networks do you feel are best used for a particular function?

TW: Twitter and Facebook are still huge for me. I’m watching Google Plus and seeing how it all comes together; it may be good for businesses to be proactive early especially.

CQ: Your book, The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, aims to help businesses reach new customers via this dynamic medium. How can it help authors looking to put their published books in the hands of more readers?

TW: I think at the end of the day, it’s about networking and building relationships. That’s truly the underlying concept in the book. The best way to do this is for authors to network with their desired audience, but more importantly, to reach out to influencers – send copies of the books to people in exchange for a blog post of a book review. This could be huge for sales.

CQ: What are some common mistakes you see people make over and over on the social web that make you facepalm (or, for those really big mistakes, double-facepalm)?

TW: People who treat social media like a numbers game always frustrate me. Think about quality over quantity any day. Also, be personal! This is a personalized medium. Don’t spit out messages without any engagement. Sure, you can spit out sometimes, but try to talk to the people (or with them!), not at them.

CQ: The gist I’m getting through your commentary is that meaningful, thoughtful, and transparent participation in social media is the key to reaching people and keeping followers. Many authors we’ve met, however, do all these things (or at least, make an honest crack at it) and are still stuck in a “socal media vacuum” with just a handful of loyal followers and little growth. What’s the missing piece?

TW: It’s really hard to be a book marketer in social media. I don’t really know that many people who do it well. I hear stories of people who pay people in different cities to buy books on the launch day to shoot it up to a bestseller list. In social media, that’s easy to do (though not always affordable). Easier is working with a publisher to get those review copies in the right hands. If that’s not always feasible, guest blog posts on influential blogs may help. Or an exclusive interview. Make it about the blog you’re pitching when you make this type of outreach.

CQ: How do you feel about Google Plus, the dark horse in the social media race? Are there any “new community rules” writers should keep in mind when venturing onto G+?

TW: Google+ is late to the game but may have some potential if they make some changes. For me, though, my concern is that there simply isn’t that much that distinguishes it from Facebook and Twitter and thus won’t get mainstream momentum. Ever since my first observation about this, though, Google has launched games. It’s still not enough though — we’ll see what it can do. I think the integration with Google’s other services may be key here.

CQ: Are there any emerging web technologies or resources that you are excited about? Is there something you wish existed, but doesn’t, yet?

TW: The one thing I’m starting to love lately is making sense of the signal through all this noise ;) I’m using tools like trunkly.com and summify.com to see what my colleagues are sharing on social media so that I can comment or share them with my audience.

CQ: When you’re not thinking, talking, writing, reading, and breathing social media, are there any favorite books or authors you prefer to huddle down with?

TW: Me? Read a book? Truthfully, this is a challenging question to ask! I try to read business books when I can. I recently wrapped up “The Paradox of Choice” by Barry Schwartz and I previously read “The Leader Who Had No Title” by Robin Sharma. I’m actually NOT reading a business book right now to get a change of pace; Bill Bryson’s “Made in America” is fascinating and I don’t really like history or linguistics!

CQ: Like myself, you’re a busy working mom. Wait, I mean… you’re a mom, I’m a dad. Shouldn’t mix those things up, right? How do you keep up and stay sane through it all?

TW: I love what I do and I look forward to waking up every day to experience it. I love my little guy and I’m thankful that I’m working at home so it gives me the ability to focus on my child and on my career at the same time.

CQ: What parting words of wisdom can you impart upon newbie author bloggers just starting out on this exciting, challenging, and sometimes frustrating journey?

TW: Keep at it! Network with other bloggers. Build alliances. This social media stuff thrives because of a vouching system, so the more you support your peers, the better it is for everyone. :)

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About the Author

Eugene Teplitsky
Running the acclaimed Curiosity Quills Press literary magazine and publishing house along with wife and writing partner, Lisa Gus, Eugene strives to give fellow authors a fighting chance in this tumultious age. With nearly two decades of work in the financial and entertainment sectors, Eugene's experience spans the gamut from web application development, to graphic design, to search engine optimization, and social media marketing.