Social media is everywhere in modern culture. It’s unavoidable, to the point that most of us have work colleagues, friends, and family connected to us through one platform or another. Some of us choose to avoid it entirely, and until recently, I was one of those people.
But, as I began talking with others about my writing, the overwhelming consensus was that I should join social media and begin networking to help boost sales of any future books. So I, begrudgingly, obliged.
I started with LinkedIn, where I was quickly told that the whole point of social media was to gather numbers, to treat each person as a point on a graph so that, eventually, I’d have thousands of real contacts. Call me pedantic, but that didn’t feel like it filled the social part of social media. So, dissatisfied, I joined two more platforms: Instagram and Twitter. Of the two I am a lot more active on Twitter, though I do try to maintain a presence on Instagram, too.
So, as we all do when we don’t understand something, I Googled how to use Twitter as a writer and came across a few hashtags — another term I had to lookup, would you believe I’m only 25? I began using them, and within a few weeks I had hundreds of followers, which was great, but very few interactions. Of course, you can’t expect every single person in your network to engage with every post you do, but it still didn’t feel very social to me.
So, I took a step back and started looking at what other writers were doing, how they were getting good engagements and a good experience on the platform because, at this point, I just wasn’t enjoying it. It felt hollow. I decided, from this point onwards, to use hashtags sparingly, and to focus less on promoting my own work — stories, blogs, music, and website — and more on discovering other people’s work, sharing it and socialising. You know, being social.
When I’d first started, all my posts were professional looking, really well-polished, everything I’d been told they needed to be. But, and I’ll use the word again, it still felt hollow. There was no personality, which in some ways made it easier to accept that people weren’t engaging, because I wasn’t really being me. So, alongside the reduction of hashtags and links, I decided to just… be me. Let people connect with me for me, and not for some mindless link-slinger.
Fast forward a few more weeks and I now have a growing group of people with whom I interact on a weekly, if not daily basis. A lot of the posts are less about trying to sell something, and more focused on the personal, social aspect of the platforms. In these discussions I’ve learned a lot about how other people write, how they approach writing, reading, and editing, and have even picked up a few great books by indie authors (currently I’m reading A Girl Called Ari by P..J. Sky).
Sure, I have less views on my website, and my follower count isn’t going up as quickly as it was when I blasted hashtags and links into cyberspace, but does that matter?
I have a wonderful bunch of friends who I’d otherwise not have met, from all across the globe. I’m learning loads from lots of different people, as a result my writing is improving, my reading list is growing, and I feel more motivated to work, knowing that at the end of each session there will be a great conversation waiting for me. I still gain followers and views on my website and blog every day, just less than I did before. Except these new people aren’t engaging for the transactional marketing side, but for the personal, social aspect of social media.
After all, without the social aspect of social media, it’s just… media. No personality or character. Just another platform for advertising, and when that’s your intention, surely you’d be better off hiring a marketing company and spending your spare time writing?
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It’s so interesting reading about your method of editing, I love how you break it down into five different stages…
Thank you! I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog as well. I enjoy seeing other people’s approach, I think we grow…
I’m a blogger, not a novelist, but I found this post really interesting – there are certainly elements that relate…
I’m not on Facebook, but I think, no matter the platform, there is always an interesting conversation to be had,…
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