Social Butterfly? No…I’m a Social Scorpion

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

66. Using social media effectively.

I definitely do not claim to be a social media expert. I don’t even claim to be a decent social media apprentice. I have a Facebook account, yes, but I only really use it to post pictures of my daughter and to make the (very) occasional status update. I also have a Twitter account, but my tweets tend to come days – if not weeks – apart. The closest thing to social media that I pay fairly close attention to is this blog, and even that can take a backseat for a week or two if I run up against something more important (shut up, playing Ninja Turtles with my daughter is serious business).

The situation I’m describing is one that plagues many “professional” people who find a need to maintain a social media platform, and it’s less about using social media effectively and more about time management. I have no time management skills. I tend to deal with things as they pop up and slap me in the face (I empty the dishwasher when the sink is overflowing with another load’s worth of dishes), and I fit the other important things in whenever I get the chance (like how I’m plucking out this post on my iPhone during the bus ride back from work). This “system” of mine, aside from being an unnecessarily stressful way of doing things, absolutely does not work when it comes to using social media effectively. You have to set aside slots of time to deal with social media if you’re going to use it in a professional sense (in my case, that would be an author platform). You’ve got to put in the effort to think about how you’re presenting yourself to the world because it can absolutely change how you are viewed by people. For example, prospective publishers/agents/editors/readers are t likely to take you seriously if they stumble upon your social media accounts and discover that every tweet is written in text speak, or that every Facebook status update is about the last meal you ate, or if you can’t make yourself known on the Internet without using vast, cascading walls of profanity.

The point is that you can’t just have a Facebook account and expect that it will somehow magically make you a more popular writer (or whatever else you’re attempting to bolster). Using social media in that sense requires (not necessarily a load of time, but) some thought and effort. This isn’t something I’ve put nearly enough effort into this far (see time management rant above), but there are lots of people out there who do have a grasp on the subject and I, and others like me, could definitely learn from them. One such person, whose blog I absolutely love, is Kristen Lamb. Kristen fills her blog with a veritable waterfall of important information for writers and she regularly touches on the social media aspect of being a writer. She has even written a book called We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, specifically for schmucks like me who need someone to hold them down and yell, “Here! This is how you do it!”

And just as soon as I get that time management issue sorted out I’m sure I’ll get around to reading it myself…

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