I have a love / hate relationship with social media.
I love being involved in a global community that supports my dreams while I support the dreams of others.
I hate that I can allow it to suck up every spare moment in my day.
I love interacting with friends, fellow writers, and fascinating people.
I hate how easily the "social" part takes a back seat to the "media." Automation is anathema to me.
On occasion, I reconsider how I use social media. I evaluate how much of my time I am willing to give it. How much of my creative resources. How much of me. My thoughts and policies follow. They may not be the same as yours. You may not even agree with them. That's OK. Write your policies in your own manifesto...
My Twitter Rules:
I never wanted to be on Twitter. I was a Facebook fan (see "Facebook" below). But a writer friend set me up on Twitter and Tweetdeck while I was at her house one day and I was very quickly sold.
Twitter affords me the opportunity to talk with people all over the world. I have Twitter friends in London, Sweden, Australia, Japan, and Scotland.
Twitter lets me connect with other writers and with readers. It also grants me access to the innermost thoughts of agents, editors, and publishers. Interestingly enough, I find that the Twitter feeds of writers overwhelmingly tend toward the positive, while those of the agents tend to be snark-filled.
Thanks to Twitter, I've discovered new writers that I love and new agents that I admire. I've also run across writers that I wouldn't read if you paid me and agents who are so vitriolic that I wouldn't want
them repping me even if it meant a quick, sure sale.
My Twitter Rules:
- If you mention me (@MuseInks), I'll probably favorite it. I might even strike up a conversation. But if you're one of those who RTs every mention, I'll stop acknowledging the shoutouts. That sort of thing is just a social media vicious circle and it wastes my time -- and yours.
- I won't follow you just because you ask me to for the same reason I don't buy every thing I see an advertisement for. Give me a reason to follow you and I will.
- I don't care if I have a million followers. I'd rather have just a few who read what I say and who respond to me.
- I might follow someone via a Twitter list before following them "for real."
- I don't automatically follow back if you follow me. It depends on your Twitter page (I look at the feeds of everyone before I follow). If you only tweet about something you're trying to sell, or if you never RT, or if you tweet only quotes, or if you never engage your followers in conversation, I won't follow you. Why should I?
- I won't auto-tweet. I personally approve all content in my Twitter feed. I might schedule a tweet for a later time, but not before vetting the content.
And then there is Facebook.
But I didn't love the constantly changing privacy policies. And I didn't love realizing that I'd just spent the past hour and a half reading status updates when I could have been -- should have been -- writing.
For me, the last straw of Facebook came when my child's 1st grade teacher took pictures of the kids in her class and posted them on her page. Soon, people were tagging her with my name and links to my FB page.
Now, I rarely put my child's picture online. To me, that just smacks of exploitation. And the paranoiac in me certainly doesn't want my kid's picture tagged with my name. I know there are a bazillion parents out there happily posting pics of every second of their kids' lives. Well, I'm not one of them.
So time-wasting and photo-tagging trumped (in my opinion) staying in touch with a few people, I got off FB. Went cold turkey. Never missed it, found lots of other ways to procrastinate on my writing, and never looked back...
I use social media to stay informed and to stay in touch. I must constantly remember that it is a tool. It is not my reason for living. I was not put here on the planet to raise my Klout score or see if I can get the most Twitter followers, or blog readers, or Facebook fans. I love spending time online meeting and interacting with the wonderful people I meet there, but my life begins when I pull the plug and get down to the business of living.