On Twitter, Victoria Strauss linked to an article from the LA Times that implies that social media doesn't work for retailers.
I think that may be entirely true for people selling cans of beans. Personally, I can't imagine following a promotional link from a twitter from JC Penny to buy socks or whatever at half price, though I could see how some people might. But I think that to say this is an argument for not bothering with social media as an author misunderstands how readers interact with authors (as opposed to booksellers) these days.
I have to admit to finding an author not only through Facebook, but also through silly videos of cats on YouTube. I actually went out and bought books by these two people after my interaction with them (or their cats) on-line.
And I don't think I'm the only one.
I think that an author, these days, is expected to be available for the consumer almost like a product him or herself. You like my blog? Try my book! This may seem crass, but we -- at least in the science fiction community -- should be used to the concept of this. It's really not unlike the idea of going to a convention and being on panels so people can get an idea of who you are. It's the same, only a lot more international (and a lot harder to stand out.)
Also, frankly, I'm glad retailers haven't figured out how to dominate Facebook and Twitter entirely yet. I'd like to keep my social media fairly social, and leave the ads elsewhere.---- * reposted from Wyrdsmiths.