July 30, 2015

Social media. Let’s start with a confession. I hate it. I don’t get it (wow, blogging really makes me aware of a lot of things I don’t get—social media, WordPress, Goodnight, Moon), and I think it’s generally silly, narcissistic and a huge waste of time. Huge. I know, it has its uses, just like everything. And who the hell am I, besides one of the last dinosaurs to grudgingly climb on the social media train? Because that’s what I’m doing, for one reason and one reason only: as someone who wants a future in writing, I have to. It’s all about “platform,” all about getting you and your books out there and seen, and ultimately read and bought. No, Great American Novelist Jonathan Fraaaaanzen doesn’t need no stinkin’ platform, but for the rest of us, git out there!

There’s a lot more to platform than social media, thank god. There are things that feel much more enjoyable and authentic to me, like blogging and being otherwise involved with potential readers and other writers. But social media is an inescapable biggie, so a-tweetin’ I will go.

Here’s the funny part. Apparently, I’m a social media moron. Just ask my sister, Jen. So far, I’ve started my social media blitz (ba-ha-ha-ha!) with Facebook and Twitter, but once I got my accounts set up I didn’t know how the hell to use them. This is me on Facebook: What is all this stuff?! Who are all these people?! This is chaos! I don’t want to hear from this person! Or see all these stupid pictures! Oh wait, that one’s good! But where did it come from?! Oh shit, there’s already more! Why can’t my page just look like Jennifer Weiner’s? What should I-? How do I-? What about-? Oh forget it!

At some point, I somehow connected with the Facebook page of my web designer, The Orange Snowman, who had posted gorgeous pictures of beautiful European architecture from his recent vacation. And all mixed in was stuff from my account about romance writers and my niece’s engagement and lord only remembers what else and I was mortified, like I totally graffitied his lovely stuff! So I shot him a quick email apologizing and telling him I’m still learning and jabber jabber, and that’s when my sister let me know I was a moron. Because apparently, this is exactly how this stuff works. Oh my god, shiver and hurl. It’s hard enough putting myself out there with my writing after I’ve been in hiding for years. Now this?

And Twitter? Thought that would be pretty self explanatory. Nope, no clue there either. Not to mention my very first tweet (“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” A quote from Gandhi, a pretty quotable dude, right?, and so fitting to the task at hand) had a punctuation error. Probably not a big deal in the Twitter world. But in my first tweet as a writer?! Where is the edit key?! Arrggghhh!

But I’m determined to learn and am even going to attempt to embrace. Embracing for me is going to come in the form of simplifying and staying true to myself and any followers or friends. I’m going to focus on reading, writing, and raving, and leaving the rest of whatever all you can post to people who actually like doing it and receiving it. The learning starts tomorrow—I have an appointment with a library staff member (MCLS rocks!) for a Facebook tutorial! (Cracked my sister up.) And from there, I’m going to do my best to reach and connect with readers in the only real way at all—write good shit.

What about you? Can’t live with social media or can’t live without it?

LP