Just four more days until the start of Thirty Days, Thirty Ideas. Sign up now, or regret it later. Click right here to sign up.
So, I don’t know if this is a strength or weakness for me, but I really hate, loath and despise social media. I hate Facebook, don’t have a private account. I sort of like Twitter, if I’m very careful who I follow, (I am downright allergic to gossip. Don’t care about celebrities, who’s doing what and all that mess.) I have found recently that I like twitter chats, if peopled by cool people. I love blogging because I’ve met some awesome people, but do I spend hours reading my Facebook feeds and chatting? Um, no.
Here’s the problem, though. Writers need social media. Not just freelance writers. There’s an anthology coming out with my story in it, and I get paid based on how many of them sell. I kind of want people who like my writing to know about it. Actually, I kind of want people who like my writing to be able to find it in general, know when it’s coming out and such. I also like knowing this about my favorite indie authors. So, while it’s taken me some time, I’ve warmed up to social media. (Pintrest is the exception. I fell in love, and I an never leaving Pintrest.)
There are a lot of people that don’t feel the way I do. There are people who seriously need an intervention when it comes to social media. They don’t have the struggles I do, trying to remember to tweet at least once a day and thinking of something witty to say on Facebook. But they’re losing writing time to gossip time. That’s fine, I’m not one to judge how someone spends their leisure time. Just don’t spend an hour in a flame war with some jack ass from the other side of the world because they don’t like your favorite movie and call it work.
So, which side do you fall on? There are pros and cons to each.
Social Media Haters-
- We have a lot more time to write, which is good because time is our biggest commodity. When I googled average hours spent on social media, the average result was three hours. So ask yourself, what kind of writing could you get done if you spent three hours doing it every day?
- Social media is a great place to make a horses ass of yourself. I did it myself more than once, before I got wise. I am really political, (not that you all might have noticed,) and it is so easy to lose my temper online.
- I’m all about being super loud about what’s going on in my life, but I am very particular about what about my family gets shared. Social media encourages people to share way, way, way too much. We are trying to be household names here, people. I want to be on the cover of Writers Digest, not The Sun.
- I have to schedule tweets. I have to think about what I’m going to say, unless responding to someone else. Or tweeting Ray Donovan information.
- I forget to update things.
- I forget to read my feeds, which means when I open it after days and days, I’ve got so much to catch up with.
Social Media Lovers-
- You get the word out, you writers who are all over social media. Man, do I know when your books are coming out, and I am all over them.
- You encourage followers to look at you over all sources. So if you miss someone on one, you’ll get them on another.
- When people love you, they share you. They share your posts, your comments, your thoughts. And that, I mean that feels great. It means that if you’ve got a fan, he might share you enough that his buddy becomes a fan, or his niece, or his high school chum who stumbled upon you on his Facebook feed.
- You have the opportunity to brighten someone’s day. Which, I think, is one of the best things about being a writer to start with.
- Time. That’s the biggest thing about social media. Time is precious, and social media takes up too much of it if not kept in check.
So, you’ve go to strike a balance. Here are my tips, for no matter what side of the wall you fall on.
Tips for the haters, (like me)
- Schedule it. Put it on your to do list. I might not like tweeting, but I do like checking things off my to do list. It gives me one really easy thing to check off my list.
- Take advantage of the fact that you really want to get on, write something, then get off by doing so.
- Don’t connect with your friends and family on social media. This sounds really hard, but you’ve got to set that barrier. If your friends understand you, they will understand why you’re not friending them. Besides, you’re probably already not friended to them anyway.
- Don’t play games. That was the quickest way I lost time when I was a Facebook addict. It got to the point where I didn’t even want to log on, because it was going to take so much time to get through everything before I even got to reading my feed.
- Reward yourself by enjoying the good side of social media. I’ve made friends, joined in live chats for my favorite shows, and followed people I adore so that I enjoy reading my twitter feed.
Tips for the social media atticts
- Again, a timer is your friend. Decide before you get on how long you’re going to spend on Facebook, and get off when the time is up.
- It’s hard to not want to multitask when it comes to social media. You can tell yourself, “It’s okay that I’m checking up on my high school crush, because I’m also making important contacts. To avoid this sort of self sabotaging talk, have two social media accounts. One that’s personal, and one that you use as you, the writer. Then, when you’re on to have fun, you’re on to have fun. When you’re on to work, you’re not distracted by Farmville. It also helps you get into the right mentality. You are not you, the person when you are on your business site. You are a writer, and you are here to do a job.
- Once you have two sites, stick to friending and following writing and business related topics, so your feeds don’t get crammed with useless nonsense.
- Have a buddy, perferably a writing buddy, hold you accountable. Have them friend you, and take you to task if you start talking about useless crap or starting a flame war. Then, do the same for them.
Finally, two tips for everyone
- The internet is forever, don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your boss or an agent to know you said. Unless you’re really ready to back that shit up. I mean, I am all about being a democrat, feminist, pro gay marriage and all that. These are things that, if they lose me a business relation, I didn’t want it anyway.
- My general rule of thumb is this. For every hour I spend writing, I should spend ten minutes, and only ten minutes, tweeting, pinning, or commenting on Facebook. No more, no less, unless I’m attending a specific event. (Though, as a tip, when I’m attending a twitter chat, I use that time to get caught up with Facebook, since it is my least favorite.)
What do you think about social media? Does it annoy you, or control you?