Here’s what I knew about social media: nothing.
I’m 59, which means I’ve been able to live my life without having to use any of the platforms. I learned to use email – that was simple. Everyone uses it in academia, and typically that is how students communicate with their professors. In addition, email approximated the timeless practice of writing notes and mailing letters. Except, the process was a lot faster.
I learned about online course platforms to bring my teaching into the 21st century. That task wasn’t too bad either. I was able to develop a wide range of activities for the delivery of information to students. So, not only do I use traditional face-to-face lecturing, I also have asynchronous online discussions, group projects, portfolios and so on. In addition, some assignments involve the students recording presentations on YouTube and uploading them to the online course platform.
All well and good, and the variety of activities serves the students well.
Now, though, with Birth Offering slated to be published, I had to learn an entirely new set of skills – all of which had been unnecessary for a happy life up until this point. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus. Sheesh.
“Get you kid to create a Facebook page,” more than one person said.
“But, doesn’t marketing need more than stupid pictures of me?” (Or some variation of this…)
“Nah, nope, I don’t know…”
I was overwhelmed with the task. So I started seeking help.
Thank God my wife’s cousin creates web pages for a living (Webbones). She created the website (thanks, Susan).
The social media would need a lot more work, though, for one simple reason – the stuff is very confusing to me. Not the least of which is the rationale for even doing spending time doing it.
I signed up with Shari of Where Writers Win to train me in the art of social media involvement. Her guidance has been outstanding and I’ve learned about all of these strategies and then some.
There have been some clear positives to these things. I’ve networked with other authors. I’ve obtained some ideas about how to write blogs (although I find this rather difficult to maintain on a daily basis). I’ve made contact with potential readers who are horror fans. Goodreads has been a very pleasant adventure. I’ve gathered some good book recommendations and I’ve had interactions with horror authors. Google Plus and Facebook have resulted in similar experiences.
The downfall of engaging in social media is the sense of drowning in quicksand. Time disappears. Hours are swallowed in a black hole regardless of the form of social media. To make things worse, the process of developing a connection with other people “out there” is slow and often painful. Like most other authors trying to do engage with potential readers, I do have a day job with takes most of my energy. In addition, I still want to write my own fiction, and of course I have a family with whom I like to spend time.
A number of bloggers recommend being choosy with the social media. That is, go with the form that you enjoy and not worry about the others. I haven’t figured that one out yet, and I need to learn how.