I Want to Talk About Social MEdia

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Does anyone remember that song by Toby Keith that was really popular . . . I don’t know, like 10 years ago, you know the one, I Want to Talk about Me. Well, I was never a huge fan of that song, but it came to mind the other day during a conversation about social media. A fellow writer was telling me about her blog and some of the frustrations of trying to build a strong following. She hopes to publish soon but doesn’t feel like publishers will be impressed by her small following and even fewer comments. More so, she was disappointed in how little people seem to be listening. It’s like we’re all just screaming to be heard but no one is actually listening–that or they can’t hear anyone else over their own screaming.

SocialMEdia

This image pretty much sums up what I’m talking about. Sad, isn’t it?

To me, this is problematic. Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress were all designed to promote social networking, but oftentimes, I find people just use these sites to seek attention. People want others to comment and like their status and/or blog, but they are not always willing to return the favor. It’s frustrating for those of us who actually want to connect. And as a pre-published author, I’m even more frustrated, because these sites are supposed to connect me with readers and other writers. But when most of the people on these sites are too concerned with their own statistics, how can I hope to achieve much?

This attitude doesn’t stop at social networking either. A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a woman who identified herself as a writer, but bragged about how she doesn’t like to read, because other people’s writing doesn’t hold her interest. What I wanted to say to her, but didn’t for some reason, is that she shouldn’t expect other people to read her writing if she doesn’t put forth effort to read theirs. Seriously? As a culture, when did we become so selfish and egotistical? When did sharing ideas and having meaningful conversations go out of style? When did reading to write become unfashionable? As an educator and a writer, this attitude unnerves me.

There is a basic formula for successful social networking: it’s something along the lines of spending only 30-40% of your time promoting your ideas (posting, updating your status, etc.) and the other 60-70% of your time supporting other people (commenting, liking, reblogging,  messaging, etc.) The idea is that you spend the majority of your time supporting others and in return they will support you. Granted, not everyone follows the basic rule of thumb, but from my experience this formula works. By branching out, I’ve discovered new authors and resources I didn’t know existed. I’ve built my own following by following others. Many of the connections I’ve made I know will benefit my writing career, so it’s only been to my benefit.

I encourage you, if you aren’t already, to spend more time checking out other people’s posts and actually read them! And after you read them, please leave a comment. I don’t know about you guys, but I get such a rush from seeing that little box in the top right screen turn orange. And if you already do these things, which I know most of you do, keep it up! I, for one, appreciate your social networking etiquette.

Well, that’s all I have to say. Please enjoy the video below for nostalgic purposes:

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9 thoughts on “I Want to Talk About Social MEdia

  1. I’m guilty of reading too many blog posts and having it cut into my writing time. In fact, I’m technically on a summer blog break, but I can’t seem to stay away from my reader. Just like everything, we need to find a balance. Not always easy. There’s so much good stuff out there! 🙂

    • Yours is an unusual issue, but I can sympathies. Sometimes, I get to reading blog posts and run out of time to write. It is hard to find that balance. That is why I like the 30-40/70-60 formula. It helps tons!

  2. I agree it really is hard to find that balance. I like to read and comment on the blogs I follow and search out new blogs, too, but I also need time to work on my writing. I’m still trying to figure out how to keep up with it all.

    • I have heard keeping a schedule helps and limiting time to 30 minutes to one hour each day helps. Personally, I have not made up a schedule yet, but I’m strongly considering it.

  3. Anna Chidiac

    I know exactly what you mean about feeling unheard, I don’t think its just social media ether, its any kind of writing. There is just so much out there, and it’s easy for your voice to get lost. Thats something I found frustrating about University; you speant all this time reseraching and wirting about things you felt were important, and after the assignment was over, the paper was just kind of….forgotten.

    • Yes! You hit the nail on the head, I think that is what is frustrating about writing; the point of writing is to be heard but few people are actually listening. So what do you do?

  4. Great post, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I couldn’t agree more with the points you’re making. How can anyone expect their writing to grow if they don’t read? How can they expect to grow their following when they don’t listen? The image of everyone screaming to be heard when no one is actually listening is a strong one – and scary, in its accuracy.

    As for percentages, you correctly mention the usual marketing dogma (3-4 non-branded posts for each branded one), but I’ve found that the best way to promote your books is to have no promotional posts about them.

    None.

    Allow me to share my personal experience, as an advice to your friend:

    In my blog I share what I’ve learned and what works (and doesn’t) for me and my writing. I share publishing news and marketing ideas. The point is to connect with like-minded people. I do mention my books, but only when it makes sense, as part of my overall experience as an author. When I want help with my book cover, for example, I ask for it – and I listen. I implement the changes that people suggest, and they seem to appreciate that as much as I do. A lot of them buy the book afterwards, too, which is great, but not the reason why I post.

    The secret, I’ve found, is to consider visitors as your best friends and treat them accordingly. You wouldn’t want your mate to pay through the nose for something, and you’d want to share a great price, idea or opportunity you’ve come across, That’s why I always make a point of letting them know when a book will be on discount, so that they don’t end up paying more that they have to. I happily promote other people’s books, if I’ve enjoyed them. I also give a lot of copies away.

    Sometimes, I get multiple followers on a single weekend. Sometimes I get none. I’ve learned not to worry too much about it, focusing on making my writing as good as possible and posting as usual. The thing is, people have a great bullsh!# detector, and can detect a phony from miles away. The solution is not to make your tricks more elaborate, but to be as open and honest as possible.

    In my experience, this works wonders.

    Thanks again for a great post! 🙂

    • I completely agree. That’s the purpose of Lit Chic, to connect writers with readers and writers with editors and so on and so forth. I want to foster a feeling of friendship and community among writers and promote others while promoting myself.

      Sounds like you’ve got a great mindset. I think more writers need to be open-minded to building community, sharing advice, and being honest with one-another when it comes to writing.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

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