Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Insecure Writer and Social Media

Today is October's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

Because of social media.  (Shivers).

It's no secret I'm not very savvy when it comes to social media.  I've always been a bit of an introvert, and I've never been very comfortable with the idea of sending out updates on the status of my life or my current thoughts. I've toyed around with Twitter, but most of my tweets are direct messages (DMs) to people I know. One big barrier is the fact that I can't connect with either Twitter or Facebook at work.  And after I come home, eat dinner, and take care of family responsibilities, I only have about an hour or two to spend on social media and writing.  And every minute I spend on Twitter is one less minute I could be writing.  Besides, I feel silly retweeting something that happened eight hours ago.

I guess you could say I spend more time and energy avoiding social media than I do using it.

My lack of social media kung fu was brought home to me last week during Melissa Maygrove's Follow Fest.  I made many new social media connections during the blogfest, but if I don't get onto Twitter soon, I'm not going to be interacting with any of them.

So here's my current status on the various social media sites:

Facebook:  Haven't updated it for years, although I do occasionally post on blogs of friends and family. Haven't decided if I going to stick with a profile page or create a fan page once I'm published.  But if I don't start posting on Facebook regularly, what difference does it make?

Twitter:  It's been so long since I've even checked on Twitter that I only just discovered my version of TweetDeck is so old it won't even run.  And there doesn't appear to be an updated version for Linux, which is what I run on that particular computer.  What do you guys say?  Should I put Windows back on my computer or should I look into Hootsuite?

Pinterest:  Finally followed a few other people's boards this week.  Haven't uploaded any new pictures in half a year.

Google+:  Didn't even remember I had set up an account until a few people asked to connect with me. Embarrassing!

Goodreads:  I've had an account for over a year, but--no surprise--haven't done anything with it.  Not even sure what my password is.  Bad writer!  Bad, bad writer!

Amazon Author Page:  Almost makes me glad I'm not published, so that I don't have to worry about starting one up... yet.

ISWG: At least I've been diligent here, slowly working my way down to number 60 on the ISWG list.  My goal is to make it to 50!

Sigh...  It looks to be a long road ahead for social media and me.

The co-hosts this month are Julie Luek, Rachna Chabria, Beverly Fox, and Ilima Todd!  Be sure to stop by their blogs and say hello.

BTW.  Good luck to Alex with his new book, CassaStorm.


  1. As an unpublished author I can give little relevant advice on the use of social media to sell your book (though I suspect the Ninja Captain would be a good resource there...)
    But as a writer I can say that your original assertions was right- writing must come before tweeting, posting, saying "hi!" or anything else you might do on any of those sites. Write first, figure out the social media later.

    Thanks for participating in IWSG!
    Much love,

    1. Beverly,
      Even though the writing has to come first, I suspect I need to get started learning good social media habits now, so that I'm not a complete newbie at it by the time my first book comes out.

      Thanks for co-hosting this month.

  2. Oh social media gives my introverted heart conniptions and makes me feel naked most of the time. Gah. I do most of my writing online as I try to figure out and work towards a bigger goal. It truly makes me feel so exposed most of the time though. I know to reach people, I need to be transparent, but oy, doing so in such a public format is way uncomfy for me.

    But I do it and am finding a comfort level both with my exposure and the frequency I am online (total time-sucker). On the positive side, it's a great way to gauge immediate reader feedback-- which posts totally bomb, which succeed and others that kind of just pffffffft and lay flat. It's a helpful learning tool and fun way to connect.

    Julie Luek
    A Thought Grows
    Co-host IWSG October

    1. Yep, you're right. I plan on using social medal to gauge what people like and dislike about how and what I write, so I can make the best possible book. I already have a ton of questions I'm ready to ask.

      Thanks for co-hosting this month.

  3. Here's the deal: You're trying to stay connected with too many sites. Pick two that you enjoy and go with it. Or, stop all together. You write fiction, and when you get published, or land a contract, that's when you'll need to crank up the social media. In the mean time there is exactly one thing that matters: Your Book.

    That's right, if you spend all the time you should have spent writing on social media, then what's the point? So really, if it isn't a new hobby that you enjoy, let the social media go and get back to writing. You can build that stuff later.

    1. I'll probably start with Twitter, even if it's just to announce a new post on this blog.

  4. Hi Ken, I am pretty active on Facebook, don't have a Twitter Account (thank God for that) because I wouldn't know what to Tweet or Retweet. I blog once a week. I would say we should pick one or two sites that we enjoy and can manage to update often.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

  5. Oh the dreaded social to hate it.

  6. You definitely have to find a balance that works for you. I'm about to cut back on my social media a bit, mostly by thinning out my blogging schedule and going on hiatus over the holidays.

    I use Hootsuite and love it. With approx 1800 Twitter followers/follow-ees, I rarely look at my main tweet feed anymore. (It speeds by like a car at Daytona.) I use the custom tweet stream feature of HS to group certain ones by either twitter name (e.g. my 'short list' of friends, etc.) or hashtag search (e.g. IWSG, amwriting...). Much like Tweetdeck, there are @mention streams and direct message streams, etc. I can schedule tweets ahead of time, too.

    As far as Facebook, there is a way to have your blog automatically update your author page when you post.
    I haven't figured that one out yet or decided if I want every blog post showing up there.

    I still haven't totally figured out Google+, but I'm getting there.

    I know some folks like Pinterest, but it seems like a big time-suck to me. Not to mention legal issues that have been raised about posting images. I nixed that one right off.

    My advice is to find a few key social media sites that work for you and find a way to fit them in to your schedule so they don't hinder your writing too much. Nix the rest and don't worry about it.

    Good luck.
    Thanks for the mention, by the way. :)

  7. PS - This post on Kristen Lamb's blog mentioned using your FB page as a redirection to your blog or website.

    *shrugs* It's another use of FB to consider if you can't keep up with posting there.

  8. I'm not good with FB either. I'm going to have to check out Melissa's link.

    I like Twitter, but it's easy to lose track of time on it. And Pinterest is my huge weakness. But how can it not be with all the HOT GUYS boards I follow? lol

  9. And you've been diligent with your blog! That counts as far as social media. It's my prime one anyway. I do remember to use Twitter every day and I do check Google+ and Goodreads, but that's the extent. If I get any more involved, I'll be forgetting my passwords as well.

  10. In a big way, you're probably doing your writing a favour. Social media can be a huge time suck, and because you often get instant feedback, it is more exciting and rewarding than writing alone in a little room. So it can be a big, nasty distraction. There's a reason Stephen King was on Facebook for only a couple weeks.

    I'm big into the self-marketing and building relationships online, but how much good will this actually do me when I'm published? Only time will tell. One thing I do know--I would have written and rewritten a lot more if not for social media.

  11. I'm right there with you with all the social media- or lack thereof. I don't have Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Goodreads, Google+, etc. Only my lonely little blog and website.

    My reasons are right there with yours. I don't have access to the internet at work, I don't have a phone that connects to the internet, and what little time I do have should be spent on writing. Though lately I haven't, and social media is a good enough excuse for me not to.

    Sigh, ain't technology grand?

  12. Of all the site, I think google+ is the easiest to deal with especially if you already have your blog set up through blogger.

  13. Ohhh... social media. It's torture and a blessing. And always SO HARD to find the right balance. I feel like I'm always a step behind everyone, but I *try* to just focus on myself and not compare--though that's hard to do. Spot on post, Ken!

  14. Sometimes I don't really think we writers should have to be on ALL of those platforms. I mean, some of us have day jobs, ya know? I am basically on my blog, Facebook and Twitter, and that's about it. But even Twitter I'm still not comfy with, and really only go there to follow back people who have followed me.

  15. Friday 4th October 2013
    Dear Ken,
    I agree with you about social media! If you are going to get anything else done, especially serious writing, you must put a limit on these social medias.

    I say this at the same time that I am so happy that you are participating in iwsg and I am able to make your acquaintance.

    Thank you for visiting my post for iwsg. And you are right, we do miss the cats we have sold. I feel sorry for the children and sometimes I really feel guilty. We sold my daughter's favourite cat, Kajsa. I have to be careful not to do that again, so now I say that some of the kittens are reserved. But it is not easy to solve our basic problem - cat overpopulation - because even seven cats are too many in a small apartment.

    I love them all. I am not much better than the children. I have my favourites too. But I am also the only adult and the only one who changes the litter boxes or feeds the cats. It takes time away from writing, so I understand the problem of social medias. I have no time for them. I use them to announce my Etsy treasuries (these boxes of items from different shops that are fun to make and help promote other shops.)

    My children have taken over my FaceBook page. Occasionally someone from the past appears on FaceBook. An old friend whom I hadn't seen for over twenty years found me on FaceBook, someone I really wanted to connect with. My daughter wrote 'I hate you!' to this person! I wrote and tried to explain what happened, but I don't know if it helped.

    How can I read what you have written about you Hogwarts theme? Will it be a book of some kind? Can't wait.

    Best wishes,
    For the benefit of other readers:
    Anna's ISWG for October

  16. I was much like you when it came to all the different social media. My publicist pushed me to come out of my shell by starting a blog and joining Twitter. I just joined Pinterest (I was holding out because I kept thinking "not another social media site.") But Pinterest turned out to be the easiest to follow. And you're so right about time. I work too, and it's very hard to find enough time in the evening to do everything I want to. (Which is why I'm late on making my rounds for IWSG.) I think the important thing is to do what you like. (And I'm glad it's blogging, because I always enjoy your posts.)

  17. I'm with you on the social media. If the goal is to write and there isn't a lot of time, it's probably a better idea to spend minutes writing and not tweeting.

    New follower.