Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dear Self: Social Media

Okay, so with this month being NaNo and all (17,834 words, baby!), I've been giving a lot of thought to the social media in my life. I'm going to give you some things I wish I knew when I first entered this crazy social networking arena.

What I Wish My Past-Self Knew About Social Media:
1. Pick what works for you. Don't try to be everywhere, doing everything. It's impossible, and you'll just end up feeling like a raging loser.

You like blogging. Focus on that. You like Facebook. Do that. You hated twitter, remember? But now you like it, because it's quick, it's painless, it's fun. So don't judge your social media so harshly--or so quickly.

2. Remember that the Internet is a public battlefied. All online posts, tweets, and statuses should pass this question before being posted: "If I Google myself next week, will I be embarrassed by this post/tweet/status update?"

Only proceed if the answer is "No."

3. Be yourself. No one can be you the way you can. You can't imitate someone else and expect results. And BTW and FYI, most people can sniff a fake out of a garbage dump. So yeah.

4. Along with acting authentically, be genuine. Bambi's advice really applies here. If you can't say something nice, maybe you shouldn't say it. (See #2 above.) Of course, things are different for those in your Inner Sanctum of Trust. And everyone knows that IST's only communicate behind the scenes.

5. Respond/Repay/Interact as much as possible for you, your life, your schedule, your family, your writing time, etc. Everybody loves email as much as you do. Everyone wants a comment on their post. Everyone (even adults, heck, ESPECIALLY adults) wants to know they're valuable, appreciated, loved.

Do what you can. Hope that who you miss, someone else will pick up.

These are my big five. What do you have to add re: Social Media? Do you have rules for yourself? What are they?

And, oh my flippin' heck! You can preorder POSSESSION now! It came up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble yesterday. Trust me when I say I freaked out, complete with tears and everything. I just felt deeply how truly lucky/blessed I am.

84 comments:

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

True, true, and true. I always leave comments whenever I read, because otherwise what's the point of visiting if no one knows you were there?

Also: I pre-ordered POSSESSION. So. Freaking. Cool!!!

Christine Fonseca said...

I love this post. And YES - YOUR BOOK IS OUT THERE

Lisa and Laura said...

Preorder COMPLETE! YAY for Possession and seriously how did you get so smart about this stuff. You should totally write a book...oh wait...

Kelly Bryson said...

How did you know I hate Twitter?
Nice post. I'm still trying to find a happy balance where I'm connected to my writing buds and to my kids and husband. Nathan gets cranky when I fb while we're watching a movie together. Not sure why;)

Liza said...

This is one of the wisest posts I've read. Ever. #2 is key. #4 is an absolute. Oh heck. They are all absolutes.

CONGRATULATIONS ON POSSESSION!!!!!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Yay for preorder! :)

Social media is so important. It's also so time consuming. I wish there were more me's so they could do my social media stuff and babysit my kids while I just sit back and write all day and take breaks to play with my kids (but not have to feed them or change their messy diapers or give them baths....) Man wouldn't that be awesome?

Quinn said...

Exciting that your book is up for preorder. I'll be stopping over to reserve mine.

Your rules are really good. I think number 2 is really important. I definitely do this and have not posted things after thinking it through.

Buffy Andrews said...

So agree that social media is incredibly time consuming. You have some good rules to follow. Thanks so much for sharing.

E.J. Wesley said...

So if I ever get published, I shouldn't challenge Stephanie Meyer to a duel on Twitter? Good to know ... :)

Solid advice all the way around, and I loved #1 the most. I don't have a non-personal Facebook or a Twitter account, because I just don't feel ready. Lord knows I'm still trying to wrap my brain around my blog. (It is as gross as it sounds, trust me.) However, I have fretted about what I'll do when the time comes, as I really don't have clue about those things. I liked your thoughts: I'll just do whatever it is that I'm best equipped to do and not worry about the other things.

Now if I could just figure out how to get "My Bathroom" off of Facebook's location service ... :)

Jessica Bell said...

Wow! Pre-ordering right now!

I'm just gonna stick to blog and facebook. I can handle those two without feeling overwhelmed.

And, oh my gosh, today I'm going through revision anxiety. Any advice there? Don't seem to like anything I'm writing! Ugh.

noellepierce said...

Absolutely! These are great pieces of advice. I have issues with number 3, since I would LOVE to be wittier (in an ideal world), but my humor does not always translate well online. And with #5, I think that's key. But I wouldn't recommend doing what I do, and follow a gazillion blogs on Google Reader so that you lose two hours (yeah, I said two (2) hours!) reading and commenting on said blogs. Be selective. Because like #1 says, "you can't be everywhere, doing everything."

Emily White said...

What?? *rushes to fluffy (aka my kindle)*

Your rules are pretty much in sync with mine. I tried Facebook once. Eh. It confused me more than anything. But I LOVE blogging. And you're right, everyone loves getting emails. Some days, I check my email a few hundred times. And I get so sad when my inbox is empty. :(

So yes, I try to comment on as many blogs as I can. :)

Kelly said...

Good stuff. Do what feels comfortable for you and use time management so you focus more on your writing instead of your social media.

Alicia Gregoire said...

This is SUCH a succinct post. Once I actually have an at home office, it's going on the wall!

salarsenッ said...

Being genuine and conversing (replying and engaging) is such an important point. These really are cyber relationships/acquaintances. Each must be nurtured.

Tracy said...

#2 is the one I always struggle with...mostly when it comes to Twitter. Well, Twitter and my sports rivalries. *sigh* I'm trying though.

Patti said...

I have to say I tried twitter, but just got uber frustrated, so when you say stick with what you love is awesome advice.

Paul West said...

Great post. It helps me make sense of all this social media junk.

Congrats on Possession. It sounds fascinating. I can't wait to get a copy.

I'm a huge fan of yours, even if I don't comment much. I love it when home-grown (Utah) people succeed. Way to go!

Racquel Henry said...

Great Post! I used to hate Twitter, but a couple writing buddies of mine encouraged me to get an account. Now I love it! :)

VR Barkowski said...

That was my best pre-order experience ever: awesome!

I wish I had more control over #3. I'm always myself, but some days that means cynical and moody. I'd prefer to stay upbeat and keep those negative aspects of self under wraps. Wait, I suppose that's more #2 than #3, isn't it?

Jennifer L. Armentrout said...

Some of the best advice ever on social media!

Regina said...

Thanks for the great advice. No, you can't be everywhere or do everything. But you do have to be you. If you can't remember what you started out loving in the first place is it really worth it in the end?

Carolyn V. said...

I agree with them all. Great advice. Social media is important for a writer. You'll need to post how you keep up with everything (I know...I know you've already done that, but I still need reminding.) =)

Debbie Curran said...

Congrats on Possession up for preorder. I'll get on that! And I'm learning the social media ropes the hard way - and making changes as I go. Though sometimes, I'm guilty of not leaving a comment - must work on that one! Have a great day!

Sara B. Larson said...

Yay congrats on being pre-orderable!! (yep, totally a word) That is SO exciting! :D

Great advice on social networking too. It can be so overwhelming. I just try and do the best I can.

Paul Greci said...

Love your take on social networking,and am grateful for it. Thanks, Elana. And, I can't wait to read Possession!!

Jessica Nelson said...

Awww, completely awesome about your book! :)

And your big 5 sound pretty right on to me.

Lenny Lee! said...

hi miss elana! WOW! your book is out where the whole world could get it. how cool is that! i could just feel how youre soooo happy. for me im not allowed on twitter or face book so mostly im just here with my blogger friends. i love reading blogs and doing nice comments. now i got so much followers it pretty hard to get at all the blogs so i gotta spread visiting out. but i got some i go to mostly every day cause we got sorta close at the start. i dont got any rules but i like yours lots.
...smiles and hugs from lenny

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Pre-Order woot woot! Yeah for Possesion! It's been a pleasure to follow you on your journey Elana!

My biggest social media rule is leave the negative OUT! That is a no no. I get turned off by bashing or negative things on a blog. It just sets off a firestorm. I blog because it is happy and fun, and you all make me smile :)

*claps* for Bambi moments!

Tina Lynn said...

I think you pretty much covered all the bases. I also, personally, shy away from politics and religion. I have a shooper sekrit anonymous blog for my political rants :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I asked my indie to order a copy last night. :)

Candyland said...

We're somewhat on the same page today. My number one rule is to be yourself. I totally agree about fakes. Authenticity is important.

And TOAAAALLLYYYYY going to preorder! I'm SOSOSOSO excited for you!!!

Shari said...

I LOVE your top five and especially the one about picking what you like the most because it's daunting to keep up with all of them.

Congratulations on your book. I am really looking forward to seeing it on the shelves. Then I can tell everyone. "Yeah, I comment on her blog." That should really impress them.

Catherine Denton said...

I love that you say you say to pick what you're comfortable with. I think I've struggled with that one. And how exciting that your book can now be preordered!!!!
Making Life a Work of Art!

Anne said...

Being everywhere is impossible yet I still try. I think the trick now is to not let missing a blog day chew at my insides...

coffeelvnmom said...

Great points, especially number 5. It's so true. My problem is, sometimes I don't know WHAT to comment on someone's blog, and I think that happens to a lot of us.

And congrats on being at the point you are with pre-ordering and all - you have definitely earned what's coming to you, Elana! It's so exciting - your success is an inspiration!

Jessica

WindyA said...

i LOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEE Twitter. I knew I'd get you to convert. *rubs hands together and laughs* It was only a matter of time!

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

I can preorder it? AHHHHH--so exciting!!!!!!!

Also, I love your five. They're the five I live by too. I guess another, though you've kind of already covered, is that social media is SO worth the time and effort. It's a LOT of work to do it right. But the connections and friendships that can be made are worth every ounce of that time and effort.

*Huge hugs for all your exciting news* :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

These are all so true, Elana, Esp. #2 and #4. I love it when you do online presence posts!

P.S. I pre-ordered my copy of Possession yesterday!! Woo-hoo!!! :-)

Natalie Aguirre said...

How exciting about your book. I love your advice, especially to do what you can. I know I don't do as much as others right now, like have my own blog, but I'm trying to stick with the advice to keep it at what I can manage. I do spend a fair amount of time being a good friend and following blogs. Hopefully when I get ready to start a blog, it'll help me have friends.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

So glad twitter is growing on you. It's grown on me too. Love seeing you tweet more. I'm not being obscene, just honest. ;o
~ Wendy

Anne R. Allen said...

Congrats on Possession. Savor the moment.

Great list. All so true. Especially the part about not trying to do everything.

Julie Wright said...

I learned number two the hard way. I only wish now I had the ability to pause and poner before I SPEAK OUT LOUD, the same way I do with social media . . . still learning

Julie Wright said...

that should be ponder. I really do know how to spell

Heather said...

EXCELLENT advice! Every bit of it. Thank you for sharing these gems of wisdom that you've collected along the way.

Susan R. Mills said...

Great list. I agree with every one.

Colene Murphy said...

Amazing list and advice! Thank you! And great progress on your Nano!

Donea Lee said...

GREAT news about the pre-order status!!! I can't wait to get it in my hands and read it! :)

And thanks for the great advice on social media. I feel like such a novice with all of it. I hope I haven't posted anything embarrassing??!! (will check later, of course) For me - I'm going to focus on blogging for now. Baby steps... :)

Conda V. Douglas said...

Excellent advice on social media--the main thing I remind myself: The writing comes first, everything else is gravy.

The Golden Eagle said...

Great advice on social media--all them them should be thought of when you're online!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Check on all accounts!

ali said...

The only thing I'd add to your awesome list kind of goes along with your last one. FORGIVE YOURSELF if you fall short of your expectations, short of perfect. Some days/weeks/months you'll do great ~ respond to all your commenters, visit all their blogs. Other times you just .... can't. You need to trust that because you're being GENUINE and AUTHENTIC that if you miss a friend or two, they'll forgive YOU and you'll still be friends :)

And POSSESSION? Mwahahahaha!

Carrie said...

So exciting that your book is available for pre-order.
I think only doing what you can and what you like to do is important.
I find myself doing fewer status updates lately but I've been working on my NaNoWriMo novel so that's ok.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Congrats!!! So happy to see it up for preorder!! Yahoo. Let's get those preorders in, baby!

And excellent advice on social media. Definitely rules to print, post, and live by. I do blogging, FB, and Twitter, and that's pretty much it. I fail miserably at all them, never doing anything with any regularity. But I suppose this is in line with just being myself. I can only do things my way because I suck at doing them someone else's way. (Doesn't stop me from chastising myself, though. Sometimes my way really stinks.)

Melissa Gill said...

Great tips about social media. I really like the one about playing where you'r comfortable. Right now for me it's blogging, but I hope to be able to work out twitter at some point.

Wowza, that's so exciting about pre-orders for Possession. I'm going to get right on that on payday.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Good list! I'd add to number 5 that it helps to set yourself a time limit - and don't feel bad when you reach your limit and you haven't gotten to everyone you had wanted to get to. We're only human.

And AWESOME NEWS about POSSESSION! W.O.W. So, so cool. Congratulations!

Misty Waters said...

Congrats on Possession!! Off to pre-order:)

Marsha Sigman said...

Great list! I keep planning on trying out Twitter but just have not found the time! I am still in awe that you email everyone.

lbdiamond said...

Social media can very quickly take over your day...it's important for me to have limits on it.

Krispy said...

Yay pre-order links! Must be so exciting! :D

Lovely tips as always. I would include don't let it consume all your time. Social media is a sneaky beast like that.

Jodi Henry said...

Blogging is my second addiction, writing is my first, yet they get in the way of each other ALL the time.

I'm Nanoing and killing the word count, and if I stopped bloggging I would probably be finished with my 50K by the close of next week...but I blog.

J

Karen Lange said...

Ah, good post! How did you know I was fighting the 'raging loser' feeling? Thanks for bolstering me today. But I still don't like Twitter. Is that okay? :P

Lisa Gail Green said...

All excellent advice!! Congrats on the pre-orders being open for business! That is so cool.

roxy said...

This post is awesome. I think it's so important to be positive and kind to other bloggers. Congratulations on Possession. I'm ordering it!

Myra McEntire said...

The fact that you are so genuine and kind is WHY you are so excellent at all forms of social media.

Just sayin.

Lydia Kang said...

It's really happening! So exciting!

I also agree that you need to reread what you post and make sure you're okay with anyone reading it. Your boss...your mom...your enemies...your friends...when it's on the web, it's public forever.

Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats! I can totally understand the freak out!! :)

I've avoided joining facebook. My plate is full - who am I kidding, my plate is overflowing and dripping on the floor - so I don't need to add anything else!

T C Mckee said...

I am so freaking happy for you. I can only imagine what seeing your book, like out there, really feels like. Thanks for the advice. Sometimes I want to comment on every blog I follow and there are just so many great blogs to read, but there are not enough hours in a day. I just try to stop by all of them at least once a week and catch up. Know where we can find a good clone?

Joanne Fritz said...

Wonderful post, Elana. You've said it perfectly. I hate twitter (so I'm where you were in February). Maybe someday I'll warm up to it. But for now, blogging and writing and occasional visits to fb take up too much time anyway.

Tell Indiebound to get crackin' and offer your book for pre-order. Not everyone likes Amazon or B&N...

Theresa Milstein said...

Tonight on FB, I see several bloggers are sharing your Possession pre-order status.

I think this is sound advice. Not everyone can or wants to utilize all the social media that's out there. I am still avoiding Twitter.

Janet Johnson said...

Yay for pre-ordering! I'd be wigging out. :)

And I have nothing to add. Good advice as always.

Anita Saxena said...

So glad I read your post. I facebook and blog, but don't do twitter. Lately, I've been wondering if it's something I need to do. But honestly with so little time for writing already, I feared twitter may not be the best use of my time.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I try and leave a comment if I visit a blog...I remember a post you did a long time ago saying that you just like to know that someone was there.

I lurk on Twitter. I still don't quite get it, but I met Mark McVeigh on it and we've become efriends.

Blogging is what I enjoy the most out of all the social networks. It has lead to some great off blog friendships.

Congratulations on your reorder status!!!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

preorder status...(sorry)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Good tips (as always). And yay, you, on NaNo count and pre-order status!

Melissa said...

Great tips. Your book is up for preorder! Oh my goodness! are you dying of excitement???

Rachel said...

Great tips and Can't WAIT for Posession!

Social Media is a monster--there is so much to do and all of it is so entertaining and time consuming. I am slowly learning how to handle the things I want to be involved in, but seriously, I want to be you when I grow up. Your ability to be in ten places at once and do it all so well is inspiring. Thanks for the great advice as always.

L.T. Elliot said...

Hooray! Possession's up for pre-order! Yay! Yay! Yay!

Your rules are excellent rules, btw. Authenticity is very important to me but it's sometimes hard to balance when you're not totally sure who you are. ;P

Holly Ruggiero said...

Me thinks I messed up my comment. I may have posted it elsewhere and incomplete. Oops.:)

Congrats on the preorder. It’s so exciting to see you on Amazon.

Alexander M Zoltai said...

Great post :-) Shared it on Facebook and Twitter...

Also added your blog to my BlogRoll :-)

Lisa Potts said...

Your baby is officially in my cart.
Congrats!

tahlianewland.com said...

I think you have the main points there, but we could consider another.

My hubby says - why do you do all that stuff. I say, because it's fun and I learn so much from others who filter all that internet info and send the sort of stuff I want my way.

If we understand how it works for ourselves, then we can write and pass on what might do that for others.

Debra W said...

I just ran across your blog and it caught my attention! Congratulations on getting your book published as the market is so competitive and fickle, these days!

I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for the thought-provoking tips. One of the rules that I have for myself is one that I am sure many bloggers have. I only write when I feel the need to. I have had a blog for a few years but I do not push myself to blog more than what feels comfortable and pleasing. I think that I would be doing my readers a disservice if I blogged only to fill space.

Great blog! I will be back to read more soon:)

Margo Gremmler said...

Pre-order. So cool! Possession's in my cart, too. (Is that kinda meta, btw?) :))

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget