How Not to Play the Social Media Game

It has come to my attention that in the world of writing, it’s all the rage to hop on any and every social media bandwagon.  Every writer is constantly looking for an in.  A way to promote themselves and their writing, and hopefully to catch more than just a few straying eyes.

I understand that prospective editors/agents/publishers are looking for someone who already has a fan base.  Sure, your writing chops will always be looked at first, and given priority.  But it’s like brownie points all around if you can actively market yourself and your writing to the masses.

So we start a blog, we start an author’s page on Facebook, open a twitter account, throw in a dash of google+(even though we have no idea what we’re supposed to do with it), and start ritually gathering four leaf clovers and pennies.  The more, the better!

Except, well, not.

I’ve searched out other bloggers on WordPress that I enjoy, ones I can share comments with, talk with.  I’ve also been concentrating on blogging and producing(hopefully) interesting posts.  Oh, and there’s this little hobby of mine, called writing, that I’ve put a lot of effort into.  With all of this hubbub I’ve been neglecting the poor Twitter account I started along with this blog.

A few days ago after a particularly long period of neglect, I logged on to see that one of the bloggers I had connected with on WordPress had mentioned me in a Tweet.  I was so excited I immediately tweeted back, only to realize he had sent that five days before.  With how often some people are on Twitter, I had no idea if he’d even remember tweeting that, which left me thinking.

Is it bad form to wait so long?  Will it make people think that I’m lazy?  Or worse, that I don’t care enough to update them?  If I only post updates about my blog, and not about my life, will people think I’m just shamefully self-promoting?  Will they think I’m boring?  If people think I’m boring, will that affect how they read my writing? Am I expected to tweet and tag other people?  Will they think I’m just trying to con them in promoting me?  Am I shallow to think that that’s what I should be doing to get my name out there?

Don’t get me wrong, social media outlets are great…if you can use them.  But what if you’re terribly forgetfully, or just plain apathetic about them?  Is it worth it to have a Twitter or Facebook page if you only update it once a month?    I would say no, just because that’s one more loose string your name is attached to.  I think readers and the audience deserve something that is at least decently kept.  With how many connections we make online these days, I think that unless you’ve REALLY done well creating a platform, the more quiet you are, the less people will care to listen.

My advice?  Start slowly with one type of outlet until you’re comfortable with branching out to something else.

I’d like to hear what you guys think about it though.  Do you think it’s worth it to have an author Facebook page or a Twitter account even if you rarely use it?

Side note: Right after I wrote this, I realized a blog that I follow posted this: How to Effectively Use Twitter for Authors  Why didn’t this happen before my Twitter lapse?  In her post she has a link for 8 Twitter Tips for Authors, that she guest posted on another blog.  I’d recommend checking that article out for some great tips, if you’re struggling with it like me.  Also, feel free to post your own tips, as well as articles on this topic.  Any social medium tips are welcome, blogging, facebook, twitter, etc. 


About Aly Hughes
Unprofessional, unedited, unpublished. Aly is out to make a name for herself by blogging, twittering, facebooking, and general internet-ing. Be warned: She may not know what she's talking about.

15 Responses to How Not to Play the Social Media Game

  1. I found the google+ comment hilarious! I’ve been on that thing for a while and I still have no idea how to use it. About the social networking thing, I find that connecting twitter and facebook to my phone has helped me update and check more often. Although, I think that writers shouldn’t rely to much on them. If it’s blogging you love more, then go with that! 🙂

    • Aly Hughes says:

      haha, I haven’t even tried google+, well, I have an account but I haven’t even explored it. And I JUST got a phone that can connect to twitter and facebook and such. I mean, I had an ipod touch which could, but now my phone can, so maybe this will help me too.

      I also agree that stick to the ones you actually enjoy! Don’t worry, my blog will always come first…there’s no word limit on here 😉

  2. rtd14 says:

    Your right about the social media. I’ve read and learned a lot about marketing, including professional authors’ blogs. The fact social media as the greatest tool is not a fact, but a professional opinion. There are some who do not care, and then it also depends on the genre a person writes. You are very right. As a mom and writer, I have only had time for Facebook, and just recently started a blog. I thought about it for three years. Yes, three years, and I’ve managed to make contacts through other avenues. Great blog!

    • Aly Hughes says:

      Well I’m glad you started a blog, because I enjoy yours! 🙂 Facebook started up when I was in High School, so I’m part of the generation growing up with it. I have a social Facebook, but not one for myself as a writer/an author page. I think I’ll wait on that, and attempt Twitter first! Thanks for the comment!

      • rtd14 says:

        Thank you! I’m glad you enjoy my blog. I remember when Facebook just started for everyone in college, and we were all excited about it. At that time, in 2003, we were excited about connecting to our friends at other colleges. It’s amazing how things have changed. 🙂

  3. Luarien says:

    Well if you want to know how the Google+ works, I can help you figure it out. It made total sense to me the instant I logged in >.>

    For the self promotion thing, too, I think writers neglect finding ways to be ‘hands off’ and let a promotion system just work by itself. For the most part, WordPress is like that for me since I post and it lets people know and I don’t need to worry about it. I use Facebook the same way – I set up my Author page, I let it import tweets, and WordPress shares my new posts with Twitter. In that way, I can focus on commenting here (especially since you always lure me in with commentable posts), I can do my my personal blogging about how much my life sucks and how I’m an awful person on Tumblr where no one reads it, tweeting of course, and doing more public discourse on G+.

    Sometimes I even get around to editing! In all seriousness, though, I should probably go do some of that. So…bye for now!

    • Aly Hughes says:

      Haha! I’m glad I can rope people in with discussions! I think my lack of employment has fueled my need for communication with other people, because I find that I just can’t stop talking on here.

      I started a Google+ at the same time I started Twitter, and this blog, and it all just congealed into this mass that I’m sort of picking through. I honestly haven’t spent any time trying to figure it out yet. Now that I’ve got a rhythm on WordPress, I’m discovering Twitter etiquette, and eventually I’ll get to google+!

  4. Jo Eberhardt says:

    Interesting post. I only joined Facebook (on a social level) a few years ago, well after everyone else that I know. I joined specifically because people would say to me: “Didn’t you know about that? I put it on Facebook…” Eventually I got tired of being the only person who didn’t know about… well, anything.

    But starting a blog was easy. I’ve been writing forever, but the moment I decided that this was it, this was the moment I was going to move from “hobby writer” to “professional writer” I started blogging. Then I realised I needed a professional Facebook account to promote my writing. And then I realised I needed Twitter to promote my blog. Google+ can go jump in a lake, quite frankly. And as for Goodreads, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and whatever else is the Social Media site du jour, I’m not interested.

    At some point I have to have time to write. Otherwise I may as well scrub the word “writer” off my business card and replace it with “social media ho”.

    • Aly Hughes says:

      I completely agree with you about all the other social media forms. People should put a cap on how many social mediums they commit to. As you said, we need time to focus on the real work, our actual writing.

      Also, I joined Facebook (and MySpace before that) when I was in High School because everyone else was socializing through them. I was always the last to know, so I finally caved. Then again, I’ve always been the last to jump on a bandwagon, be it social media, fashion, or music!

  5. Amy Keeley says:

    No, I don’t think it’s worth it to have an account just to have it.

    I agree that you should only get involved with the stuff you love. If you love it, not only will you use it, but it will naturally become part of your personal brand which, in and of itself, will help sales by getting you in touch with readers who can resonate with your words. I can’t really say it boosts sales yet, though, because I’ve just started out with this. I’m having fun, though. 🙂

    (Oh, and I liked the article you linked. I think, for me right now, Twitter will just end up being a time suck, but it’s good to read about it anyway in case anything changes.)

    • Aly Hughes says:

      It definitely helps if you love the social media outlets. I’m not sold on Twitter yet, but lord knows I am trying!

      Also, thank you for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! It’s greatly appreciated! 🙂

  6. Amy Keeley says:

    Oh, forgot to mention…I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Congrats!

    Rules for this award can be found here:

  7. Angelo says:

    Great thoughts on Social Media. At times I’ve been dumbfounded trying to decide when/where to post updates or ask questions. As of late I’ve been MIA in many social platforms as I focus more on my blog. I’m not vying for attention/position on twitter anymore. Too many writers/authors/creators/artists already doing that. Tweeting and Facebooking should be an organic process, not ritualistic self-promotion.

    That said, I have this little Indiegogo campaign going…


    • Aly Hughes says:

      I like that phrase “organic process” for social media, because the people I enjoy following make it seem so effortless. It’s easy to tell when it’s forced and only for self-promotion as opposed to natural and for making actual connections, and those people always get deleted first.

      Haha! The perfect ending to that comment! You’re only allowed to self-promote in my comments if you have a thoughtful reply first, so I’ll let that pass. 😉

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