Today’s topic among the bloggin’ Buccaneers crew? Social Media: Share your feelings and opinions about “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)” and it’s relation to writing and reading.
(That’s exactly how they phrased it, too. Clearly, they’ve been spending time at merriam-webster.com. *more-or-less straight-faced nodding*)
Anyway, let’s talk about the pros and cons of social media, as I see them.
Sticking your name, face, and book-related chat everyplace makes it easy for your potential audience to stalk you. Not stalk in a creepy way, I clarify; creepy stalking would go under “cons”. But it’s easier to get fans if people know you exist, and fans sometimes like to know what’s going on with the people they’re, um, fanning on. So in that sense, author accessibility is an upward spiral of win-win.
It gets introverted authors to stick their noses out of their little hermit caves. My little hermit cave is actually very nice. The decorators did a stellar job. The notion of holing up in there forever is not entirely unappealing. But it probably wouldn’t be entirely healthy, either – any more than dumping me into a bottomless pit full of people would be. Hanging out on Facebook and on people’s blogs is a good compromise. It’s interaction, but with less of the pressure of immediacy. You can take more time deciding on your responses, or whether you even wish to respond at all. (No one expects you to comment on every single status and post. But try just blinking past someone who’s said something to your face and see how well that goes.)
Posting stuff can be fun. Even if not everyone always responds, some people do sometimes, and laughs/engaging conversation/whatever can be had.
It’s a hobby. *shrug*
It’s a black hole. If you don’t watch the clock, you can quite easily end up losing what might otherwise have been productive hours to the insatiable internet. Sure, depending on exactly what you’re doing, you could justify your social media time as more or less productive. But hey, you know what’s even more productive? The creation of actual product. In the case of authors, that means writing books, not statuses. Your WIP needs those 140 characters more than Twitter does. Think of all the starving novels in Africa.
Twitchily wondering if you’ve received any notifications since the last time you checked (a minute-and-a-half ago) gets old fast. How am I supposed to live my writerly life to the fullest if I keep getting pop-ups announcing that a dozen people I don’t know commented on some photo I made the misstep of emoti-commenting on? Author at work! Leave me in peace! I’m trying to concentrate!
hav u noticed how its effecting our spelling n grammerz, lol, :P? …Wow, that was really painful to type. Seriously, I don’t mind if/when I can tell that it’s all in good fun. But when people don’t seem to realize it’s a joke, I worry. Furthermore… well, I feel my blog pal The Hyperteller expressed it really well in an article, once, so it’s really annoying that I can’t seem to access it. But to paraphrase the bejeebers out of it, the idea was that relying on “like” buttons and smileys to express our opinions is lazy expression at best, and not really expressive at worst. I’m probably about as guilty of such overuse as the next person. I plead storing up my full creative powers to unleash on my novels, story stories, et ceteraz.
Its importance has been over-hyped. People will tell you that you can’t be a writer in this day and age and NOT have a full arsenal of social media accounts. They’re wrong. Maybe it will make some aspects of your career more difficult. Maybe somebody, somewhere, will be annoyed, I dunno. But if you get right down to it, the only thing you absolutely need as a writer is to have written something. That’s the bare minimum. Everything else is extra. Friends don’t let friends Tweet and write…unless they’re capable of putting writing first*, and social media second*.
(*These numbers are meant only to represent these two objects in relation to each other. If things like your family, health, and eternal soul don’t take precedence over Facebook, your priority list needs an overhaul.)
To sum up, then: I think social media can be great, so long as you don’t let it flush your life down the loo. Anyone care to corroborate or contradict?