Ah, time. My fickle friend. I want you to slow when I sleep. And speed up when I'm at work. And pause when I write. But accelerate when I clean.
There is never enough of you.
Today, I'm going to opinionate on where you should spend your time to build your online presence. I'm going to do the author branding thing on Thursday.
I think you should have a goal for your social networking. What are you using Facebook for? Twitter? Your blog?
Once you know that, then you know how much time to devote to each one. Let me break it down. This is all for me, so you'll have to adjust your goals accordingly.
1. Facebook. Mine is a mish-mash of writing friends, family, publishing professionals and old friends from high school. Therefore, my goal is not to make every post about writing. This is the place I live my life.
I virtually farm. I virtually cook. I post about movies and going to dinner and yes, writing. It's the "real Elana." I don't update my status very often, but that doesn't bother me. It's not my main platform for networking. It's more for pleasure. More personalized.
Therefore, I probably spend about 15 minutes/day reading through status updates and liking and commented. That's it.
2. Twitter. This is all writing, all the time. I connect to writing pals here. I don't have friends on twitter. Well, I do, but not like real-life-I-went-to-high-school friends. I keep my posts about my WiP or my writing or reading life.
I don't spend much time on twitter because, well, I don't like it. (Remember that post?) I probably spend 15 - 30/minutes each night on twitter. When there are chats, I spend about an hour (Tuesday and Wednesday night).
The end. So I'm up to 45 minutes/day on social networking.
Which leads me to blogging.
3. Blogging. You have to decide where to spend your bloggy time. When I first entered the publishing world, I read literary agent and publishing blogs like they were crack. I couldn't get enough. I'd skip meals and arrive late to work, just soaking up everything I could from the pros.
Once I realized I'd read most of what they were saying, and knew most of it, I gravitated away from those blogs. And now? Dirty little secret... I don't read them at all anymore. Every once in a while, when big news breaks, like the eBook thing with Amazon. That's it.
That's not where I spend my time.
I spend it with other aspiring authors. Rarely do I read a blog of a published author. I know that sounds bad, but it's usually just about their signing schedule or if their novel sold in Spain. Which I like to hear, but yeah. Not really the best bang for my blogging minute, you know?
So I spend all of my time reading and commenting on the blogs of those who are like me. So I think you have to evaluate where you are in your progression, and spend your time in the right places.
Just starting out authors might spend more time on GLA and QT and Nathan Bransford. Further along, you might switch to agented/sold authors with books that aren't quite out (to make online connections), and book bloggers and craft blogs (like The Blood Red Pencil or QT or YA Highway).
Once you're agented/presold/sold, you might continue your friendships with other pre-agented, pre-pubbed authors, or you might move more into book bloggers (who will be reviewing your book--squee!), other debut authors, or get this: READERS.
So I think where you spend your time blogging depends on where you are in the publishing journey. Right now, I'm frequenting book blogs, aspiring authors both agented/sold-but-not-out, agented/pre-sold, and pre-agented.
To make friends, author connections, and bring like-minded people back to my blog. (And believe me when I say that I read and commented on 90+ blogs on Friday. And that's on the low end of what I do each weekday. I refuse to read and comment on blogs on the weekend. That's how I preserve my sanity.)
I go to a very few publishing/agent blogs and even fewer already-published author blogs. It's just not where I am at the moment.
So you must decide first where you are, and what you need to learn. That will help you establish your goal, which will help you spend your bloggy minutes in the right places.
So you tell me: Where are you right now? What kind of blogs are you reading? Are you learning what you need to to advance to the next level? If not, maybe you should be reading different blogs...