I don’t know about you but social media can seem intimidating at first. Especially for introverted / shy (by no means the same thing) writers. Getting out there even in a virtual space and talking to strangers is pretty daunting. The idea of promoting oneself online can be toe curlingly awkward (it is for me anyway). But as writers we’re all going to have to do it, those books aren’t going to sell themselves.
So when I found this blog post by Amanda Palmer about Twitter, and this one line in particular, it made all the difference (She has a million followers, by the way, the girl knows what she’s talking about). More than that, it dispelled all the scary. The line was this:
“Twitter is just a BUNCH OF PEOPLE.”
It works for all forms of social media. Just a bunch of people. People who want to feel connected to others, people who want to be heard, who want to be listened to. That’s what social media is all about at the end of the day – making connections. Everyone wants an audience.
This is actually a brilliant summary of the principle underlining “Rise of the Machines” a book by Kristen Lamb. I cannot recommend it highly enough, if you’re a writer. It centers around the same premise of social media being just a bunch of people, but it’s packed with concrete advice on how to navigate it all, specifically tailored for authors. It explains how to market yourself and your book and making the whole thing enjoyable.
I had lurked on the edges of social media for a while, finding it all very awkward, and not liking the idea of thrusting myself in people’s virtual faces and saying “look at me!”. I still find it a bit awkward every time I tweet a new blog post, it’s just not my thing.
Changing the mindspace from twitter as a platform for promotion, to simply a bunch of people who are all trying to connect with others made all the difference for me. Reading people’s tweets and replying to them (rather than looking for things to throw out into the ether myself) has been great because I’ve ended up having all these discussions with people the other side of the world from me, talking about anything from upcoming trips to writing software. Incidentally, yesterday someone on twitter told me about American biscuits. It took me a long time to understand that they are not what you Americans call cookies, but holy moly do they look amazing! My arteries are hardening at the thought and my mouth is salivating. *ahem* moving on…….
Actually I also have to tell you this other amazing thing that happened on Twitter. I tweeted something about getting ready to write whilst listening to Amanda Palmer, who I LOVE, both for her music and what she stands for (Also she is Neil Gaiman’s wife. Yes, she is THAT cool).
She tweeted me back. I almost fell off my chair in excitement and grinned like an idiot for the rest of the day. Of course I made the uncoolest reply ever, as expected. The point is though, I got to connect for a very brief time with someone that I really, genuinely admire.
I think with blogging it’s easier to see the person behind the computer, because by the very nature of blogging we put a lot of ourselves into our posts, if only just our voices and a feel for our personalities. Other forms of social media can be more difficult, but by all accounts when the day comes and we have books to market, we’re all going to have to get out there – so I guess it’s worth trying to make it enjoyable.
How do you approach social media – what forms do you use? Do you enjoy it or do you find it a chore/awkward?