P is for People – which is what social media is all about

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?



17 thoughts on “P is for People – which is what social media is all about

  1. Interesting thoughts! I like the quote “just a bunch of people”, a much more sympathetic idea than Twitter as a “tool for self-promotion”. I’m not in business with my jewellery making, but I know that if one day I would be, I would find the promotion part difficult too. Actually, after I started blogging about jewellery making, I learned how satisfying it is just to talk with others about what I do. As if it has become an “emotional business”. And that’s enjoyable!


    • It being enjoyable is the most important thing 🙂 do you know, I used to make little bits of jewellery for a hobby (nowhere near as good as yours though!) so I find it all fascinating! So please I found your blog.
      I agree though that’s the best thing about blogging : talking about things you find interesting with other people. But also it puts you in touch with people you never would have otherwise met. I mean I’m French living in Hong Kong, you’re a Swedish jewellery maker in the Netherlands – what are the odds we would ever meet?!
      I love the concept of an emotional business btw, that’s the perfect term for it!


  2. I am so NOT a sales person… 🙂
    With regards to twitter, I just tweet basic things. Yet I’ve heard of a “twitter party”…

    Then there’s also Hootsuite which helps you to keep track and manage your many social network channels, by allowing you to view streams from multiple networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and post updates or reply directly… all very complicated to me… 🙂 and there are so many new social platforms that pop up all the time… like Pinintrest and Instagram (don’t ask me what they’re all about, I’ve only heard of the names… LOL)


    • Haha yeah there’s so much out there. I actually use tweetdeck rather than Hootsuite, I use it more to follow different hashtags so I can jump into various conversations….the writing hashtags are great, lots of great people on there (like #amwriting).
      Although I agree it’s hard to keep track of all the networks, it’s best to focus on one or two or you could spend your whole life on social media…. Pinterest and Instagram are photo sites, I like Pinterest but Instagram isn’t for me.


  3. I’m on Twitter and Facebook. But I flit around the edges. I’m glad you mentioned that line, that Twitter is a bunch of people. It is nice to connect with people you admire.


  4. This was an enlightening post. Social Media really is just a group of people. And I agree that it’s easier to feel more comfortable with fellow bloggers because there is more about us we share. I enjoy using tumblr which I connect to my twitter feed. But using twitter has been a bit difficult here in Tehran, but hopefully after moving to Qatar in a few months I’ll use it more often. I just might look you up twitter wise. =)


    • Oh yes do, would be nice to chat on there too! How come it’s been hard to do twitter in Tehran? Good luck with the move to Qatar, you’re living in some exciting places! You moving for work?


  5. Did you know that introverts are actually more active on social media than extroverts? More power to us! 🙂

    And btw, Neil Gaiman is also famous for replying to tweets. How cool would it be to get a reply from him!


    • I didn’t know that but it makes sense! It’s social interaction whilst sort of still being alone 🙂

      I did not know that about Neil Gaiman – it would be amazing to get a tweet from him!! 🙂


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