Let’s Talk About Social Media

How important do you think social media is to an author? I think it’s a crucial element of self promotion for any author, whether it be one who goes the traditional publishing route or indie publishing. Without a social presence people won’t know about your writing. I’ve read many articles expounding on this, including the need to start your social game well before publishing a first novel.

I agree 100% will all that, but what about the downside? Can social media hurt an author? I think it can. Anything and everything you say on the internet is out there forever. All the time trolls comb through various outlets to bring back unwisely posted items when they want to attack someone. It seems like you have to keep all your opinions to yourself forever if you don’t want to have them thrown in your face somewhere down the road.

On the flip side of that, what about those people who post mean comments or attack people and defend their actions by saying it’s their own personal Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc, they can say what they want. Can they? Yes. Should they? I guess that depends on that down the road issue. I had a writer friend who attacked someone on Facebook. I’ll call her Writer One. Most of the others in our writing group were very unhappy about it and an online battle occurred. It began with another writer (Writer Two) telling her that he thought she was being unprofessional and that it could come back and bite Writer One in the butt later. She said it was her personal Facebook and she could do what she wanted. Writer Two pointed out she used is professionally too. After a lengthy ‘battle’ and some name calling Writer One stated if someone didn’t want to read her work because of what she said on her on account then she didn’t want them as her readers.

I don’t mind telling you, I’m floored by this attitude. While I wouldn’t necessary beg someone who dislikes me to review my work online, I certainly want them to read it. Why? Because I want everyone to be my reader! Obviously not every person out there will like what I write but why alienate ANY potential reader?

I know it sucks to feel like you have to censor yourself all the time but as an author who posts online you are representing yourself and if people don’t like you, they won’t want to read what you write. Even if only for selfish reasons it seems like a good idea to keep it professional.

I feel sorry for Writer One, even while disagreeing with her. Hopefully her online actions won’t come back and smack her later but they can. She could be in a position to have to defend herself rigorously for what might have been a single moment of anger and a couple of bad decisions.

For me it serves as a reminder of the double-edged sword that is social media. What do you all think? I’m choosing to be in the public eye so I will also choose to try my best not to tick people off. Pardon any previous rants, except the one about consent, I’ll never apologize for that one.

That said, I still have a lot to learn about the various social outlets. Facebook is pretty easy but can be time-consuming. Twitter is a bit odd to me but I’m learning. Google plus is completely foreign territory but has a lot of potential. I’ve never been to the LinkedIn website. I have an Instagram but nothing on it yet. Reddit, well, I’m not sure I’ll ever really have that one down but I’m trying.

Any favorites out there? Any you feel are unnecessary or you just don’t like? How do you feel about needing to do self promotion?

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10 comments

  1. I hear stories all the time about writers bashing other writers or writers being bashed by readers… It’s just an unfortunate reality of being able to hide behind a computer screen. It’s almost ironic that writing is now so tied to having a social media platform, because it seems to me that writing is all about revealing those deep, true parts of yourself: every book you write is a piece of yourself. But then on social media we’re supposed to be very professional and watch what we do, don’t respond to criticism, etc.

    But anyway! Your question, you asked: I’m on twitter, blogging here (obviously), and have an Instagram. I took a class on an another platform at the writers conference I went to lately, and she said to pick only one app, one that sounds fun. Then work on that for a while, and if you feel like it, choose another one. Otherwise you overload yourself and it becomes a chore, and that’s no fun. I chose Twitter on a whim, but Instagram made sense for me because I love taking photos. And blogging, well, that’s kinda required – but you’re already doing that here!

    Anyway, my two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great thoughts! I use Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook, as well as obviously blogging, to gain a following. I’m still new(ish) to the game, but Twitter and blogging seem to be working out well for me. Whatever you choose, it should be fun, you should want to post stuff and update in your chosen platform.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This all makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, I’m a very private person so the thought of trying to sell myself to an audience or – God forbid! – talking about myself, my interests, whatever over any form of social media is almost horrifying. Sometimes I wonder if writing is even worth it any more if I can’t befriend enough people to read my stuff.

    Like

  4. I agree that as a ‘social’ personality, it’s necessary to maintain a degree of restraint when posting anything, so as not to cause offense or outrage.

    But from visiting various blogs and sites and wading through their comments sections, I’ve come to realize that some people look for any excuse to be outraged. It doesn’t matter how careful you are with your words or tone, they’ll find a way to twist it around just so they can harass you.

    So I’d say avoid saying anything that’s overtly or obviously offensive and try not to get into online shouting matches. But anything else you post is for your readers to figure out. The ones worth keeping will understand the meaning of your post, or will at least question it as a means of engaging in discussion. And those that just jump on the warpath over nothing really aren’t worth it.

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that a bunch of trolls might gang up on you and cause so much havoc that it disrupts your social presence. Unfortunately, that’s a risk we have to take nowadays, as anonymity is the darkest power of all.

    Liked by 1 person

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