How I’m Overcoming my Resistance to Social Media—One Writer’s Insights

As a writer, I am constantly torn between writing (which I actively enjoy) and marketing via social media (which inspires considerably less enthusiasm). Yet, if I want to discover more people who are interested in this blog and who might want to read my memoir one day, I need to make friends with strangers. Social media helps me do that. But what’s the right mix of social media activities? How do I keep up with my current friends while meeting new ones?

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By nature I’m a social person. I visit with a number of people—phone calls, lunches, dinners, book group, writers’ group. I enjoy our in-depth interactions immensely. I like the time spent on half-hour phone calls, two-hour meals, and conversations about books or writing. But the high-quality visits leave me with less time for social media.

I know I should find more time to post on Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, or learning some new app—but when? As a reality check, I made a list of all the stuff I try to do every week. I impressed myself. Wow! I am busy. But so are a lot of people, yet they make time for social media. Certainly I can squeeze in a few more hours per week.

Unfortunately, social media moves fast and needs daily or even hourly attention. Since I check Facebook only twice a week, Facebook assumes I don’t care enough, so these days, I only get updates about five people.

Pinterest holds no interest and I’m way behind on Goodreads.

Although I keep up with LinkedIn, until now, I’ve reserved that channel for the other side of my writing career—marketing communications.

Performance anxiety has kept me from Twitter. Even though I write for a living, headlines and short text aren’t my strong suits. I write l o o o n n g text. How will I ever manage being clever and interesting in 140 characters?!? I am somewhat encouraged to discover that Joyce Carol Oates, who’s the epitome of a busy prolific writer, was also a reluctant tweeter.

I’m glad to engage acquaintances intellectually. I’ve got a ton of opinions about politics, books, and life in general. I like learning new things and exchanging ideas—maybe that’s the key. Perhaps I need to think of Twitter as a playground of ideas, commentary, and 140-character conversations.

After reviewing this inventory, I realize that like Dan Blank (a great resource for writers) maybe I need to focus—let go of a few social media options (Facebook, Pinterest) and concentrate more on others—start Twitter, give Goodreads another try, and introduce my business friends to my blog via LinkedIn.

Please share your insights about social media—what do you like to do and why? What works for you?

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4 thoughts on “How I’m Overcoming my Resistance to Social Media—One Writer’s Insights

  1. Hi Ellen,

    You are wise in thinking you should start by focusing on one platform, ideally one that you find rewarding. Better to be the master of one than a servant to many. Or as Ron Swanson once said on Parks and Recreation, “Don’t do two things half-assed. Do one thing whole-assed.” (Sorry for the profanity, but if they can say it on broadcast television…)

    You reveal the true reason for your aversion in this post, however. The issue is not lack of time. You describe lengthy, in-person engagements with friends as “high-quality,” clearly suggesting that social media is “low-quality.” In addition, you say you should be doing it for marketing, which means it is a task involving real labor with amorphous returns. Perhaps you should rethink your approach. Perhaps you shouldn’t worry about “marketing.” Perhaps there are people out there online who are very much like the people you have two-hour dinners with, people with whom you could connect and engage in lengthy conversations and offerings of mutual support. But you won’t know unless you go out there. So I’d suggest you change your intentions. Don’t worry about your platform or marketing; just go explore and look for opportunities to engage in “high-quality” conversations.

    Patrick

  2. I try to balance things based on staying happy and engaged. When it becomes work that doesn’t feel good, I switch off and go for a walk. It always renews me. I started blogging clueless as to how much time I would spend building relationships, but that has turned out to be the blessing in the whole process. I truly enjoy encouraging and praising others’ efforts and find I care about these long-distance friends. I’m okay with slowly building a solid foundation.

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