In today’s digital age, it goes without saying that a writer looking to become a successful author (as measured by sales) needs some kind of internet presence.
I mean, that’s what everybody says. Right?
Everywhere you look, you see articles and blog posts, podcasts and videos about the importance of establishing and maintaining a viable social media presence. The advice is as wide-ranging as the number of options.
And no two people seem to agree on anything except the importance of being online.
That’s not what this post is a about. At least not directly.
Once Upon a Time, Facebook…
Some years ago, I did the Facebook thing because everybody I knew was saying I needed a Facebook presence to promote myself. Back then, I was promoting art more than writing, so my intention was to lead people to my art blog.
All the experts said Facebook was the answer to my marketing questions.
I followed the advice of the experts.
I tried to engage in all the right ways without spamming.
I’m not claiming I did everything right because I didn’t, but I did the things I knew to do in the best way I could.
One of the problems I had with Facebook (and most social media) was that I expected immediate results.
I’m old enough (a baby boomer) to know there is no such thing, but that’s the way it was. We’re all capable of getting caught up in the hoop-la over new and shiny things. Sadly, I was no different (much as I might like to think otherwise).
What I ended up with were exchanges with people more interested in venting, ranting, or promoting personal agendas than in engaging with an artist about artwork.
In other words…
Some of it was toxic to me personally and spiritually.
I know what you’re thinking. Just don’t pay attention to that stuff.
The problem was that I didn’t know how to circumvent the trash and concentrate on the treasure. I also couldn’t turn my mind off. Not even limited exposure worked. I knew those sorts of posts were showing up in my feed whether I looked at them or not. It was like knowing there are earthworms in the ground whether or not I saw one. The trash preyed upon my mind to the point it was paralyzing.
So I finally did the only logical thing.
The negatives so far out-weighed the benefits that there shouldn’t have been a question. But I need the objective view of someone clearly able to delineate the pros and cons without being swayed by popular consensus. After much soul-searching and consultations with my business manager (husband), I could see only one thing to do.
I closed my Facebook account and closed the door on the entire experience.
I’ve only rarely thought about going back, but have always been able to slam the door on those temptations.
Is Facebook Bad?
But my experience with it was.
It was like any number of other life experiences in which something that seems overtly good turns out to be counterproductive.
Will Your Experience Be The Same?
It might be but chances are it won’t be. If Facebook works for you, great.
The thing I’ve learned through all of this is that no one social media outlet works for everybody. Conversely, not all people will find any social media outlet the answer to all their questions.
Every option needs to be considered not only within the framework of whether or not it works for your business. You need to also consider your personality and the ways you communicate best. There are so many options available that there’s no reason for anyone to continue doing something that hinders more than it helps.
I remember one of my mother’s favorite questions when I was growing up and wanted to do something everyone else was doing.
If all the kids were jumping in a lake, would you jump, too?
Not all social media outlets are created equally. Each one fails in some way and each one succeeds in some way. Some of them are ideal for people who like soundbites; others work better for people who like essays (as I do… that’s why I blog). You need to find the best fit for your writing style, your message, and your personality.
When you find that fit, work it for all it’s worth and ignore the rest.
No matter what anyone else tells you.
And remember, just because everyone else is doing something doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
You can tell ’em my mother said so!