Monday, August 17, 2015

If You're Taking Social Media Personally . . . and Other Tips

Whoever said social media – Facebook was designed to support us emotionally? Are we ever supported 100 percent or even close to that in our real lives, even by friends and family? Of course not. Why should social media be any different?

Here’s the bottom line: As an author entrepreneur, don't take Facebook or social media personally.

Lately, I’ve run across blog posts by writers and authors who worry how many 'likes' their comments, posts or photos generate - or don't. They compare themselves to others who they believe luxuriate in dozens of 'likes' and kudos about their books, their blogs, their photos of bees, butterflies, and sunsets  . . . while they go unnoticed and unsupported.

They seem to think the purpose of social media is to win a popularity contest.

Most authors I know are aware that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ are free vehicles to get the word out about their books and events. It represents an opportunity as an indie author to stay ahead of the way traditional publishers have largely marketed in the past. It's not just about 'buy my book' but establishing your credentials as a writer and reinforcing your platform and giving fans and friends a small window into who you are and, hopefully, gaining contacts and followers.

A person who writes historical fiction may post pictures of flowers, fields, and homemade soups. An author who writes love stories shares photos of lovers. Photos of family and friends are often favored by memoir writers, as are blog posts about writing as a way of healing. It's all very nice. But it doesn't mean we have to 'like' every single photo, comment or blog post.
If you want  personal “relationships”, then the best way to achieve that is in person, in your real life . . .  not on Facebook or Twitter.

Remember high school when girls cut other girls out of their cliques?  Guess what? It's still happening! So what? We're not in high school (or Kansas) anymore.

Both my sons are Millennials. Their take on Facebook:  "Don’t take it seriously. Most of it is b***s *** anyway."

Still . . . it's not hard to understand why some women, especially, are feeling wounded. From recent studies we know that women are significantly more likely to engage in social media than men. We also know through studies that the majority of “the negative feedback given to women include some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was ‘abrasive,’ ‘judgmental’ or ‘strident.’ Only 2 percent of men’s critical reviews included negative personality comments.” (Salon, Sept. 2014)

The same may be said of social media. Women are often judged and shunned. Remember how mean-spirited and personal the comments directed at EL James on Twitter were when she put herself "out there" for Fifty Shades?

Tips on Social Media Etiquette:

If you post about yourself or your work, don’t beat yourself up for feeling ‘narcissistic’. It’s natural to use a free and easy medium to generate awareness about your work, your goals, your future projects . . . your interests. Just don't do the 'buy my book' mantra to the detriment of everything else.

Don’t be hurt if no one comments or ‘likes’ your post. That doesn’t mean they haven’t read it. They might have nothing to say, are pondering, or are just disinterested.

And PLEASE don’t ask your Facebook “friends” to leave a couple words on “how you met”. Who cares if people unfollowed you? Why do you need to know? Answer: you don’t.
Be gracious and express gratitude for the support you do receive from fans and friends. Respond and/or ‘like’ their comments.

If you feel a reluctance to “engage”, then don't.

If you’re feeling angst and “what’s it all about?”, take a break from social media. Use the time to rejuvenate yourself and your business. Come back with a renewed purpose and enjoyment and understanding of social media's limitations.

As a business person/author, don't  ever, ever become emotionally invested in Facebook or other social media outlets.

Love to hear your comments, thoughts, observations. And if you don't feel like responding to this blog post, I swear I won't be offended!

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