Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Role of Social Media

It's been a while since I blogged. Sorry about that. It seems like once you fall out of a groove it's easy to get used to it. But it's not like I've been just sitting around sipping lemonade. I've been writing and beta reading...while sipping lemonade. ;) Today, I was thinking about my blog and all the areas of communication it seems we, as writers, need to keep up in order to be present and accounted for in the writing community.

Personal Blog
Blog comments
Writer Forums (Absolute Write)
Gtalk (AIM)

This takes a lot of time and effort! And it also comes with a lot of pressure to "perform" or put on your "writer face." For me, because social media networking is practically a pre-requisite for being a published author, it's taken the fun out of it, making it more work than enjoyment. It's not like it used to be when I kept a good ol' fashioned mommy blog where I could be myself, write about kid stuff, and not worry about the possiblity of future agents and publishers reading it.

What complicates things even more is that some social media is not only used for writing relationships, but friends and family as well. A good example: Facebook. I leave my writing off Facebook altogether. I have only two writer friends and the rest are. H.S. buddies and current family and friends. And there's no way I'm talking about writing with them! That would just bring on the ignorant comments no writer needs to see fill up their inbox. However, I do see some writers that use Facebook to network with other writers. Is it possible they maintain two separate accounts? Sure, but to me that's just adding another social media outlet I'd feel required to make an appearance on.

So how do you separate family and friends from writer friends? Do you not use Facebook for writing relationships? Or maybe you don't accept friend requests from the cute boys you had a crushes on in H.S.? Of course, if you're married, you probably shouldn't anyway. No matter how hard you try, those feelings just don't go away. I think I'll forever be a teenager inside. :)

What are your thoughts on the role of social media in an author's life? Is the time spent on self-promotion tipping the scales over the time spent writing? I'm curious to know how much time you guys spend on blogging, tweeting, and emailing vs. working on your MS. For me, I'd say it's about 1/4 social media and 3/4 writing and that seems to be a good blend for me. Although that could also be why I only have 6 followers. ;)


  1. Hey there! It's been forever but I'm still here. I try to stalk sporadically so that nothing can hold up in court. No patterns. Social media can be extremely exhausting. It can pull you away from your writing but its also important. I haven't been able to find a balance. When I blogged three or four times a week, and followed people like crazy, my followers grew. But following people means you have to follow them, check out their blogs at least once a week, maintain that relationship and its hard. I used to frequent Writers Digest weekly, blog more, comment more, find new bloggers to follow, but that was before my own personal business picked up. Now I'm too busy and sometimes it comes down to blogging, or writing. Sometimes neither if I want to exercise or shave my legs. I don't want to lose the following I have but I feel like I might if I don't find the time. I don't know how others do it. They write a gazillion words a day, comment everywhere, blog constantly, read. I must be really slow because I just can't do all that in a day. Of course, some are full time writers, so that may make it a little easier. We need clones, damn it! As for your followers, are you following a lot of people? They'll usually follow you back. And set up your blog to send you an email when people comment here that way you know and then they know if you reply. It makes it easier. Just a thought. Hope you are well.

  2. Hi, Tam! I do read your blog regularly but can only access it from work and then don't have the ability to comment. It's frustrating, but I do love reading the zany way you describe your day's events. :)

    I actually don't mind not having a lot of followers. It gives me the freedom to only read blogs I want to and I don't feel obliged to comment. I don't think those numbers are a true representation of who visits your blog anyway. A lot of people will become a follower in the hopes you follow their blog and then never visit again. It just becomes an empty numbers game after a while.

    With regard to the email notification, I am notified when someone leaves a comment but can't figure out how to notify them once I've responded. Maybe you can help me with that.

    And I'm still waiting to read these great revisions you're making on your MS! Congratulations on the weight loss, by the way. You're my hero. :)

  3. You know, some of my friends who are bigger authors don't read or comment on other blogs at all, and they still have a million followers and lots of comments. I think they just reached that "tipping point" or something. Or they use Twitter the most or something. You have to find what works for you. I like blogging the most and FB and Twitter take a little bit of a back seat. Still, I cannot possibly keep up with all my followers anywhere. I try, but there's no way, and I have to remember the number one most important thing - my writing. That must ALWAYS come first. Notice how late I am to commenting on this post? Yeah. Anyway, on FB I finally made my profile a page and that has helped a lot. My private profile is only for people I actually know and converse with on at least a monthly basis. Everyone else - fans, I guess, I interact with on my page, Twitter, and blogs, but even blogs are now becoming a thing where I only really read and comment on those blogs with whom I personally know the author. I wish I had more time to do otherwise, but lately, I just do not. Oftentimes I'll move in cycles.

    By the way, I think you're doing a fantastic job. :)

  4. Thank you, Michelle. :) I'm trying! Maybe one day we'll both be like the authors who don't have to "try" to get followers.

    Speaking of followers, welcome to #7, Shellie, a new writing friend of mine. *waves*