I think it fair to say that social media has changed almost everything. It has changed the way we interact with each other. It has changed the way we communicate. It has changed the definition of symbols and characters (i.e. the # symbol – this symbol is much like Prince, it was formerly known as the pound or number symbol). It has even changed the way we do business.
I also dare to say that there isn’t an industry that hasn’t been influenced by the rise of social media. It wasn’t all that long ago that self-publishing and self-promoting a novel would have been impossible. Now with a few clicks of the mouse you can upload a whole book complete with cover. Then comes the monumental task of promoting it and getting your name out there. If your like most aspiring authors you have a full-time job and no extra money to actually pay to promote your book.
You turn to social media. Now some people have taken to social media in all of its forms like a duck to water. Those are the people who love, and I mean LOVE, to talk to other people. They want people to notice them. They want attention. I will go even so far as to say that they crave attention. Why else would a person message a complete stranger on Facebook to tell her she’s beautiful? Well there are other reasons, but I won’t go into them here.
If this person wrote a book or had something else to promote they would probably do well on social media. They would have no trouble with the idea that complete strangers would want to speak with them. They may not even think twice about trusting them.
But what if you don’t like interacting with strangers on such a personal level? What if you’ve learned that trusting people can be bad for your well-being? What if your completely fine with not receiving unwanted and unsolicited attention, but have a book to promote?
This my friend, is where I am!
I’ve written my first novel. I’ve even sold my first copy. Yay! Then I realized that I wasn’t using social media to its fullest potential. I started small with Twitter and Facebook, knowing that if I tried to use all the platforms at once I wold soon become overwhelmed and just quit. Twitter was fairly easy. I follow who I like and get the information I want in small tidbits
(In case you want to follow me or want me to follow you my Twitter handle is @langer161).
Facebook on the other hand is a bit out of control for me. I’ve friended some great people. Perfectly sane people who I’m hoping will want to read my book and follow my blog – although after this post they may change their mind. But now we’re friends on Facebook and we leave the communication to postings. I haven’t posted much yet because I am not naturally given to sharing my life online. I will admit it may be a generational thing, but it may also be because I am what you would call an introvert.
I never knew that was what I was until my husband found a book about it a few years ago. I just thought I was perfectly okay being by myself. I preferred being alone. In truth, if I spend too much time with other people I become exhausted and anxious. It’s funny but I get the same way if I’m on Facebook for too long.
Call me crazy, but I found that fascinating. I mean it wasn’t like I was physically with all of these people at the same time, but it still had the same effect as if I was at a party. I’m sure there are studies being conducted to see how and why this is so, but this was on a way more personal level and I had to figure that there are others out there like me. Ones who shy away from social media, but know they need to use it in order to successfully promote themselves and their books.
So I’m here to say you’re not alone. There are others out there who struggle with how to use social media and what to do about those who think it is perfectly okay to send messages and pictures and personal requests – yes, requests – to a complete stranger. And who knows maybe it is perfectly okay. At some point they must have received validation for their behavior or else they wouldn’t keep doing it.
This post is more about saying that everyone is going to use social media for different reasons and in completely different ways and that’s okay.
It’s also okay to have boundaries.
It would be nice if we could live in a world where everyone respected each other and more importantly themselves enough to know what to post and what not to post. Sadly, in light of recent events, we, as a society, have a very long way to go.
I also have a long way to go, but I like to think I’m getting the hang of this social media stuff. If you have had the same struggles or have tips on how to take the stress out of social media please leave a comment below.