If Writers Are Going To Use Social Media, They Should Use Social Media
First off, a thought about how writers use social media. I'm not going to suggest that we should be doing more of it. Heaven knows, I've complained enough over the years about the time I spend marketing with social media. I do think, though, that many writers could use social media better. For instance, setting up a blog or a Facebook page that you only visit every month or so probably doesn't even count as social media. That little involvement with others can hardly be described as social. Using a blog or Facebook page just for the occasional announcement isn't social, either. As far as blogging is concerned, it probably isn't even technically a blog.
Using social media well is the best chance we have for using it in as time efficient a manner as possible.
Mindfulness And Social Media
In Lori Deschene's Manage Your Day-to-Day essay, Using Social Media Mindfully, she writes about having clear intentions for social media use. "When we're mindful, we're aware of why we're logging on, and we're able to fully disconnect when we've followed through with our intention." For those of us who use social media as part of our work, she says our "involvement might hinge around various objectives." Yes. Social media is part of our marketing plan, so it should be one of our objectives (steps) toward the goal of marketing ourselves.
What is our intention for each type of social media we use? I have a very specific intention for this blog, for instance. I have a specific intention for my professional Facebook page, which is different from my personal Facebook page. My intention at Goodreads is different, still. There I am trying to build a reading community to be part of. At Google+ my intention is to seek out different people, adult fiction litbloggers and self-publishing people. There is definitely overlap among these groups, and there is some overlap on what I post. This blog goes to Google+ every day, and quotes from blog reader responses go to my Goodreads reviews. But because I have an intention, I'm often able to go to a site, do what I intend to do and leave, to disconnect as Deschene said.
What Do We Want To Do With Social Media?
People who write about social media often compare it to being with groups of people in the real world. In the real world, most of us want to experience positive interactions and that desire controls our behavior and how we present ourselves. Controlling our behavior and being mindful of the impression we're making on-line can help control the amount of time we spend on social media.
- For instance, do you really want to be known and remembered as the guy who is always pushing his self-published books at the Google+ community he was invited to join? Limiting hardcore self-promotion is a time saver.
- How do Facebook political rants fit in with a writer's intentions for social media, which, remember, is an objective in an overall marketing plan? Do you want to be known for your politics or for your professional work? If you do want to be known for your politics, okay. Go for it. If you don't, limiting those kinds of posts is another time saver. Be mindful. Know what you're doing.
- Deschene suggests social media users ask themselves "Is it necessary to share this? Will it add value to my life and for other people?" By adding value to your life we might mean value to your professional life. By adding value for other people we might mean value to a professional/creative community. If a post doesn't do either of those things, maybe you can save some time and stay away from some of your social media outlets.
Okay, I've got to go link this post to Facebook and Google+.