Social Media

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?