I don't know about you, but I find social media tricky. I've got accounts on facebook, twitter, myspace--heck, even on linkedin (for the "day job" connections)--and I've got a personal blog. But I haven't come to grips with what (or how much) I'm comfortable saying and that means I tend to post very little.
It isn't like I'm flummoxed by the tools. I worked in high tech for major players for nearly 25 years in the technical side of the house (as opposed to the marketing/sales/management side). If it was only dealing with the technical bits, I'd be just fine. If only...
What I can't seem to get past is the idea in my head that unless I have something really witty or clever or important to say, I shouldn't post anything. I mean, why would anyone want to read what I've posted? I know, I know, that's not how it works. You start posting small observations and gradually build a network of people who follow you and who you follow. I've tried at various times to get into facebook. I'll start posting and commenting and then something happens in real life that distracts me. Then I'll go a long time without posting (or reading) and when I come back I have to fight that block all over again.
You know what's really weird? I don't apply the same standard to what other people post. I mean, I read posts about people's cats and dogs and what they had for breakfast (yeah, I'm exaggerating just a little) and I don't think, hey, why'd they post that? So why is it so hard for me?
I think in part it may be because as writers we're told to regard social media as a marketing tool. But it's really counterintuitive--in order to use social media effectively as a marketing tool, you have to not use it as a marketing tool. Confused? I hear you. Really though, all that means is that you don't continually just post marketing-type blurbs about your books, instead you use social media as it was intended to be used--to make connections as a human being with other human beings.
I mean, let's face it, how many of you have done this: you start following a favorite author on twitter only to realize that every single tweet from this person is yet another rif on "buy my book, it's out next thursday!" Eventually you wonder if they ever say anything else and stop following them (and maybe you don't even buy their next book). Come on, show of hands. Yeah, me too.
It's striking that balance between being a very private person and knowing I need to reveal something of myself in my posts that I find difficult. In a sense, it's similar to what I struggle with in my writing. Hmmm...I hadn't really made that connection before this. I'll have to think about that some more--right after I tweet about it, of course!
How about you? Do you struggle with social media, too, or do you find it easy to use?