Here, there and not quite everywhere – me and social media

Here, there and everywhere – me and social media

(Adapted and expanded from a ridiculously long post I made on Absolute Write Water Cooler)

Writers used to be able to get away with being anti-social. It was almost part of the job description along with wearing pyjamas all day and only leaving the house to obtain fresh supplies of coffee, cigarettes and hard liquor. Those days are gone. But luckily we can be social and still retain the all-day pyjama wearing – thanks to online social media.

All writers are expected to create an online presence and platform to help market themselves and their books now. Some do so reluctantly, others embrace it. I’m warming up to it. So here’s a post about how I use social media and why I’m where I am.

I think it’s a mistake to try to be on every network out there. Even with automated cross posting you’d spend so much time updating your networks you’d get no writing done. You also repeat yourself over and over and over… So I decided to be selective about the ones I chose to use.

Wordpress LogoI have this here blog on WordPress of course. I decided to have a regular schedule to update every weekend, with others in-between if some news comes up. I’ve created a monthly schedule for it, so I have a particular type of entry for each weekend of the month, which at least gives me a head start on coming up with something to write about. I set myself a target at the start of the year to update it every weekend without fail and I’ve kept to that so far. The “schedule a post for later” option, and being able to deploy posts from the WP app on my phone have been useful for keeping to that a couple of times when I’ve been away from home.

Live Journal LogoI’ve had a Live Journal account for years – before I even had this pen name, so it used to be called something else and earlier this year I changed it. Live Journal may be a bit old fashioned, but it’s where I feel happiest. It’s not for formal blog posts like over here on WordPress. Just sort of “what am I up to and what am I thinking and wittering about right now”. I interact with other writers and friends a lot on it too.

Facebook LogoI’ve given in to the peer pressure and made a Page on Facebook for my pen name. My WordPress blog automatically posts to it, and I post other things there too, mostly short news updates. I’m not that big a Facebook fan, but I’m getting more comfortable with it. I do prefer a Page rather than a Profile for my author self, for people to Like rather than Friend. That just suits me more.

Goodreads LogoI joined Goodreads back in 2009 and got an author profile in January this year when Liar’s Waltz came out. I use it a lot, but still mostly as a reader. It’s a great way to find new books to read and see what people in my genre, readers and other writers and reading and what they think about what they are reading. Like with Facebook it automagically picks up my WordPress posts to be my author blog on Goodreads. Automated cross posting is a real time saver!

tumblr iconTumblr is new for me. I’m not sure what to make of it yet and if it will be around for a long time. So far I’ve mostly used it to post pictures, sometimes quite random things. It looks like a place to make posts that are longer than fit on Twitter, but don’t take the time, or merit a full blog post.

Twitter logoTwitter is where I’m especially active. I love Twitter. I will post promotional tweets of course when there’s some news, but mostly I’m just, well, twittering on. Sort of promoting myself – or at least my writing persona – as (I hope!) someone interesting, engaging, funny, approachable.

It’s also a great place to collect interesting links, especially if you follow lots of writers, as I do. That’s where a lot of the links on my monthly links list posts come from. So that gets me continuing value out of what is otherwise “here now, gone in ten minutes” content on Twitter. My Live Journal, Facebook, WordPress and Goodreads all automatically tweet when I make entries and updates. Hopefully this leads people from my Twitter feed to my sites with more permanent content on them.

Also, Twitter is just fun. I was on a while it before I was published, though I ended up creating a new account for my pen name and leaving my old one behind. (I know, I could have just changed the name, I did with Live Journal, but a new account was just the way it worked out.)

I think there are no set rules for which sites you have to use. It’s better to find a couple of sites that you’re most comfortable on and use them, than try to use one you don’t really get and have no enthusiasm for using. People will be able to tell if you’re only on that site because you think you should be and you’re not really having fun.

If you do use more than one, I think it’s good for have to be different purposes to each of them. My WordPress blog is one where I do regular entries of fairly formal blog posts. Live Journal I update ever couple of days usually, with more personal stuff about how the writing is going, and other things on my mind. Facebook is primarily short snippets of news and information. Twitter I’ll be on several times a day posting the usual nonsense people post on Twitter, and replying to other people’s nonsense. So anyone following me on all of those shouldn’t feel as if they are reading the same thing over and over. For example, I’d post on my Live Journal that I’ve put up a blog entry on WordPress, but I wouldn’t actually cross post the whole blog entry on Live Journal. I keep some separation between the different venues and what I do on each. Only really BIG news would end up being repeated across all the sites.

So that’s my strategy – what’s yours?

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10 thoughts on “Here, there and not quite everywhere – me and social media

  1. Oh, good post. Well, I’ve been Facebooking since I could remember, and being a very sentimental person, and hating losing touch with people I meet, I do love it. I’m not going to create an author page though, until I’m an author – to me that would be just jinxing my prospects! I would prefer that though, as I post a lot of ‘family’ stuff on FB, I’m happy to friend fellow writers, but later, I’ll want to keep ‘readers’ separate.

    I’m enjoying Twitter (thanks for introducing me) – this I do try to keep writery, but fun, too. I’ve found a couple of tweeps to have very short conversations with about anything. And I have a friend who we chat over there, because we feel it’s more private than FB – which is ridiculous actually 😛

    Tumblr is weird. I’m just posting favourite vids over there mostly – you can see my favourite things and get to know me in a silly way at Tumblr. It updates to Twitter and Facebook. I use it for fun. Then I use blogger to blog, but more about writing stuff. I don’t have a schedule, but I make sure I blog at least once a week. I tend to go there now a lot more, and I’ve been neglecting Livejournal. But I think that’s because it was based around a fandom, and I’m creeping out of that now.

    But with it all, I suppose now that I want to become a writer, I try to remain professional at all times. The only place I like to be me is Facebook and over on Livejournal I like to rant.

    I agree you can have too many, and you’re saying the same things to the same people, so you do have to be careful.

    Gosh does any of the above make sense?

    1. Makes sense to me. I think we’ve got broadly similar approaches, though you like Facebook more than I do. Remaining professional is a good idea, because anything can come back to haunt you at any time! People dig up stuff from years back to try to use against you. So you have to start acting like a pro long before you get a cheque in your hands!

  2. I’m not a sociable person, so I’m afraid, should I ever get published, I’ll have to be known as ‘that mysterious recluse writer’. LOL I’ve got LJ, of course, and a wordpress that I’ve done a couple things on, but… just not that interested in the whole ‘social media’ thing.

    I shall be the bane of my publisher’s marketing department, I’m afraid…

  3. I have a similar strategy to you, Becky, although I’ll admit I’m not as comfortable with Facebook, have discontinued my LJ and never been on Twitter. Blogging has always been my favourite platform, so I concentrate on keeping that up and following other blogs.

    As far as I’m concerned, Tumblr is for collecting pictures (probably smutty ones). I do plan on starting a newsletter too – does that count?

    1. A newsletter is good, yes! I don’t have one myself yet, but I’m thinking of starting one. I do a monthly news round up on my blog, so can get it evolve out of that.

      I always liked newsletters… been involved in them for school and stuff from back when email wasn’t even thought of. So I could have some fun with it.

  4. Like you, I’m very fond of Livejournal and I’m becoming almost as fond of Goodreads. I’ll be setting up a WordPress-based website as soon as my current round of (non-fiction-writing) conferences is over, but I’m not sure about any of the other sites yet.

    I do still find that networking in person is what I feel more comfortable with, although I try to keep up with people I meet at conferences and writers’ groups online, and find new people through them by both methods.

  5. I agree you have to pick what works for you and what avenues will help you shine. WordPress has been fantastic for me. From the get go, I picked a schedule I knew I could stick to, and it’s worked out well. All of the various Yahoo and Google groups are a great way to network too. I’ve made a lot of contacts that way, both with readers and other writers. I’m starting to limit the number of these groups, though, because I can only read so many e-mails and daily digests a week. It’s so easy to join all these groups and networks, but not nearly as easy to keep up with them and really use them effectively. I think the key is not overextending yourself – everything in moderation.

    1. It’s funny, I used to be pretty heavily into Yahoo groups back in my old fanfic days, but I don’t use them so much any more. Maybe I should try to get back into them, since Loose Id has a pretty active one.

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