Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SOCIAL NETWORKING MELTDOWN


I had my meltdown moment last week.

I have 650 people following on Twitter, 1476 'friends' on Facebook, 261 'friends' on Goodreads. I have one question, who are these people?

Trying to keep with it all is near impossible. I feel like a socialite who flitters from room to room to make sure everyone's cocktail glasses are full and the cheese hasn't started to sweat on the serving trays.

I came to the realization last week you can't please everyone, you can't visit every blog or giveaway or everyone's profile. If you did, you would be on the computer all day every day and it becomes a chore. Work. A pain.

Let's start with facebook, I'll be honest. I don't like it. I wouldn't be on it at all if I wasn't published.
I thought when I 'retired' from the workplace I was leaving office politics, backstabbing, cliques and general nastiness behind. How naive of me.
Facebook is a true reflection of people and life so naturally all these things exsist there too.
The good thing about social networking, you can back away, unlike your job where you have to get up every morning, deal with these type of people face-to-face, every day. There is no escape.
I understand from a published writer POV how facebook is important. Has being on facebook sold me any books? Hard to judge, I would say probably yes. Facebook is an endless stream of cutsy kitty pictures and self-promotion. I admit to the self-promotion, and you have permission to shoot me if I post a cutsy kitty picture.
I found myself checking Facebook constantly in case I missed something. I am now limiting my time to a few minutes in the morning. With two upcoming releases, I will be jumping back into the self-promotion pool myself. Until then, I am backing away.

Twitter. It is like walking into a large room of people and you begin talking and no one listens nor do they respond to what you are saying. If that kind of social interaction appeals (and it is to me more and more) then Twitter is for you. Twitter is also an never ending stream of people flogging their books and giveaways (I do it, too) random slices of their life, amusing antidotes, endless snippets from their work in progress (usually erotica and titillating). I like following my Red Sox on twitter, especially this last month or so, talk about drama. I also like breaking news, so I check the feed for that now and then. Again, I am limiting my time, I usually check it at night on my Ipod before I start to read. Talking to yourself becomes tedious after a fashion.


Then there is the book sites. I never heard of Library Thing until someone sent me a message on facebook(!) saying my book was there along with a review, so I probably should join. Now that I have, now what?
Also I haven't been to Shelfari in months. Truly does anyone really care what you are reading? Probably only the author of the book you're reading.
I am on Goodreads, I find it a good tool to keep track of the books I have to read for reviews, and now that I have an author page, it is also cool to see ratings and reviews for your own book. Once you get past that 2 out of 5 star rating, (hey, you can't please everyone, and why try...which is the whole point of this post) everything else is gravy.

I had a cunning plan. Nearly two years ago, I decided I was going to try and be published. First thing I did was pick a pen name. Then I registered it at go-daddy. I began to visit romance blogs where published writers gathered, and began interacting with them all. I started my own romance review blog and got to know more authors. I joined Twitter in Feb 2011. In March, the unthinkable happened, my manuscript was contracted.

Since then, I have been caught in a whirlwind, but here is where social networking worked for me. All those romance blogs stepped up to the plate to help me introduce myself as a published writer. A few I didn't even have to ask, they offered. I was blown away by the generosity.
So as annoying and perhaps soul sucking as some social networking can be, it does work. Lay down a plan that works for you, stick to it, limit your time and plan accordingly. Pick and choose where you will network.
Google Plus? I don't get it or understand it and the thought of another social platform makes me twitch. I will leave it for now. LinkedIn? I got a request from someone high up in the publishing biz so I thought, 'damn, I'd better join.' I haven't done anything with it yet. I have received other requests to join networks, can't even remember the names. I didn't, you have to draw the line somewhere.

The lesson in all this? Social networking can be a massive time suck which takes you away from writing, editing, and enjoying life in general. Accept going in you can't do it all, don't even try. Pick and choose your social platforms. Limit the number of groups/forums you join and try to keep your personal life removed from the social networking scene. I know some people are compelled to tell us what they had for breakfast or what emotional roller coaster ride they are on at the moment and I can dig it. But my social networking is business only. I am trying to stick to that.

So forgive me if going forward the cocktail glasses are not always full, the cheese has turned rubbery and the crackers have gone stale on the serving tray. I can only do so much.

Cheers, have a good week~

18 comments:

  1. Socializing is good, but writing is best and what you should be concentrating on. You can't become a good writer if you're always doing something else, like filling the glasses.

    So speaks the hermit. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post, Karyn, with some great advice.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I understand completely. I have twitter, Facebook, and at one point Myspace. Each one I only got because of friends who forgot that there is this handy little invention called the telephone. I would prefer to use such things for business, though I currently have no business to use them for. ^_^ I rarely post anything to Facebook or Twitter. I think my Youtube and when I had a Wordpress account, that they were linked to my Twitter, but who knows. I have a blog for all of that mundane stuff and only keep them (Facebook/Twitter) active so family and a handful of friends can contact me, because like I said they apparently have no idea what a telephone is. ^_^

    I really do not need to know that my friend had peanut butter and jelly for dinner or...what is with all of these pictures with the catchy sayings lately on Facebook? Who knows, probably why it takes me a month between visits.

    I had a 1000+ friends on facebook, and I deleted everyone I did not know. It became work. I have an obsessive personality where it was taking me hours to check everyone's pages and respond to things. Can not be everything for everyone, there is no truer statement.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll admit to having issues with all these social networks too (although I'm not a published author, so I'm not too worried right now). I like Twitter, but it's just not automatic to me yet. I don't think I've even tweeted a hundred times on my author Twitter yet, and when I do I usually forget hashtags or it's a reply or just pimping a blog post or whatnot. Also, I have this strict rule of only following people who are A) following me and B) mention writing in their profiles. Perhaps that's a bit snobbish of me, but I didn't join Twitter to keep up with celebrity gossip or stalk people I don't know from Adam.

    I have a personal Facebook, but people have to friend me first (a leftover childhood conditioning thing--I won't go into it any further), and I have to actually know them (mostly meaning real life, but any online acquaintances I feel I can trust are fair game too). I don't have an author Facebook and I'm not planning on getting one, even if I do get published; should that happen, I'll maybe set up one of those pages that people can "Like", but I won't have an account that anybody and their dog can "friend" because I'm just not comfortable with that.

    I'm not on Goodreads or Google Plus. Barely even know what Google Plus is, to be honest :P Goodreads, I'll probably have to get one if I publish anything, but I'm fine without one for now. And I thought LinkedIn was only for white-collar professionals--my dad has one, but he's the only person I know who does--but I guess that could include publishers and by extension authors too?

    But yeah, I totally agree with you. The important thing about writing is the actual writing. Social networking can help with the publicity, but it shouldn't become this massive time-consuming burden and you shouldn't feel the need to haunt sites you don't particularly like. It's just not what writing's about.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There is a point, so true, when you have to step back. The most important thing about being a writer, as Renee said, is simply writing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kim, it took a while for that to sink in, I am not a social butterfly in real life, why did I think I had to try and be one on-line? It wasn't working and it was taking up too much of my time. Writing, first, last and always.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Michelle, I use it strictly for business. I have cousins ask me if I am on facebook, I just say no. LOL about the telephone, what's that?

    All the pictures on facebook are getting to me too. If someone posts them constantly I go to their page under subscribed and 'un-click' photos. I see them no more, LOL! I do it with games and videos too.

    Now that facebook has lists, I have a handful of people or publishers in a list, they are the only ones I check for daily updates. It's true, you can't keep up with it all. Thanks for commenting!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Renee, I would chose Twitter over facebook in a flash. Actually, your rule for twitter is a good one, at first I was following everyone, (I was trying to be polite) now I am more selective.

    I am wishing now when I first joined facebook I started the LIKE page first, oh well, too late now, though I hear there is a way to merge the two. Something to look into down the road.

    I have no idea about LinkedIn. Now that I think about it, I may have been on her email list back when she worked for a now defunct US book chain. I have no idea if authors are on there, I'll check it out someday!

    But again, it's the writing. it must come first. Thanks for commenting!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dahlia, so true. Stepping back the last few days has been great. I have a schedule now for social networking and I plan to stick to it. Writing first. Thanks for dropping by!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey, just found your post via Facebook. LOL. Go figure. I'm like you used to be. I spend wayyy too much time on the computer trying to keep up with social networking. I love the idea of Facebook, as it allows me to keep in contact with family and friends that are far away. But it also allows me to add a face and life to my readers.

    So, I have two accounts(Yikes! I know), one for personal, and that anyone can visit. I also have the fan page. As for the rest of the stuff, for some odd reason, I have it all. LinkedIn(rarely use), Google+(only used twice), Twitter(I forget to use hashtags), Goodreads(I only check in when I get a new book I need to keep up with), a blog, a website which I maintain myself.

    Thank goodness I'm able to balance everything while still being able to write and take care of my 3 children, and babysitting 2 more. Great advice for limiting myself though. It does get tiresome sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Sara! I know, Irony right? LOL! Facebook has its positive points, it can be a great tool for everything you mentioned. Very smart to keep the personal and professional ones separate. I am going with just the professional.
    Oh so there are writers on LinkedIn? I wondered. I'll check it out sometime. So far all I have done was create an account and accepted that request.
    My hat goes off to you, I am home all day, but don't have kids. It is incredible you still have time to write.
    It all comes down to priorities and planning. It was time to reset mine. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Karyn I totally get what your saying! It is all a lot of self promotion. Some good, some bad. lol FB is a bit too show-offy for me. I'm not good at raving about myself, lol!

    Have you seen Tumblr? I think that's kinda worse than FB. I joined, but for the past few months I've been thinking of closing my acc. It's just not doing it for me. There's a lot of younger people on there too, like teens, makes me feel old, lol!

    I do enjoy Twitter. Yeah some people might not (or never) respond but I really only converse with the people I know on there. Like you and probably 4 or 5 others. People are funny/strange/odd. Some people are happy to reply to you, others though they seem to ignore you even though your 'following' them. Pfft. I had one 'follower' delete her tweet that I responded too. I thought it was quite rude. lol But isn't that why we follow others, oh hang on, maybe she was just trying to get her numbers up? ;)

    Ditto about commenting on blogs too. It's just not possible to comment on all the ones you follow. We would definitely be here all day if we did.

    When I find it all a little overwhelming sometimes I take a step back too. It's the best thing you can do. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. The writing community online is just awesome! It's hard not to follow everyone, because everyone is so talented, helpful, and generous. I would love to know and keep up with everyone, but it just doesn't work that way.

    I follow less than 200 people on Twitter at the moment, because I like actually "knowing" the people I follow, and I generally read everything in my stream, even if only a quick peek. I generally don't follow back people who are following like 10,000 people either, lol! Because really, like they're even going to see my one little tweet in all that mess.

    I keep my Facebook for close friends and family only - but I do have an author page that about 13 people "like" lol!

    I've got time to figure it out more as I go. I'm quite in love with Goodreads! I could spend all day on there browsing new books and adding them to my lists. I love regular old blogs the most though, I think. I'm too verbose for my own good! ;)

    But I'm not keeping up with much of anything at the moment though. If I did, I'd never get this book out the door!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jen,

    Yep, I saw tumblr, hence my tweet about the coke and the Brandy, lol! I just can't...not another blog-type platform! I know a lot of sims people are on it and glad they enjoy, but I won't be doing it.

    I agree people are funny/strange/odd. oh BOY are they! OMG on the person deleting your tweet.
    I think the key is to find the social network that works best for you and are comfortable with. That is what I have been doing!

    Taking a step back is absolutely a good thing. I am done the edits now, So once I get off here, I am taking the rest of the day to watch some more costume dramas. I'll get back into the swing of things tomorrow! Thanks so much for commenting!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Laura,

    You are right, the on-line community can be awesome. You can't keep up with everyone, I tried, it doesn't work.

    Since my Facebook is professional only, I haven't really felt the warm fuzzies you can get if you are interacting with real friends and family. To me Facebook is like an angry town hall meeting, with people fighting over who gets time at the podium. I have witnessed some nasty stuff. Yep, its turned me off.
    I stopped requesting friends long ago, only the rare one. Even this AM there are three friend requests, I accepted them, to me they are potential readers. I no longer feel compelled to interact with everyone.
    Twitter, I stopped auto following, as you say the feed becomes a blur and you miss a lot.I don't mind twitter really.
    Blogs however, is like visiting someone's home, they invite you in, make you comfortable and are polite to a fault. I started out my social networking with blogs, I think it is time to get back to them! Had my best experiences there.
    Figuring it out as you go is a good plan, I jumped into the deep end of the pool. *glub*

    Thanks Laura for stopping by and commenting~

    ReplyDelete
  16. I saw this post yesterday and I could not agree more. I keep dipping my toes in the social networking arena but honestly I don't have time to keep up like some people can. I think I am still looking for that perfect outlet and there isn't one. Forums, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and all the rest...and if you don't nurture them you don't reap the benefits.

    I do regret meshing my personal and professional social identities and will most likely try to rectify that should I become published.

    As everyone else has stated already, the writing is the number one priority. The rest can be so distracting if you let it consume your free time.

    Thank you for posting this!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Gayl, understandable you can't keep up, I am home all day and I can't, and I no longer will. When being on these social network sites becomes a chore and interferes with everything else, there has to be a limit, and I reached mine! I don't think there is a perfect outlet, ;-)

    Definitely separate when you get published. And speaking of writing, I am so near the end, I can taste it, better go write!

    Thanks for the comment Gayl~

    ReplyDelete

 
© Site Design by Barbara