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Social Media Is Impossible To Keep Up With

August 2, 2016
Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? Tumbl’r? I’m not bitter; I’m just lost. (image via Wikimedia)

Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? Tumblr?  I’m so lost. (image via Wikimedia)

Social media is a constant mess.  Facebook and Twitter promote pointless political feuds.  Instagram causes headaches.  Tumblr sets off motion sickness.  If a social media platform leads to a physical ailment, it’s best to stay off of it.  And I haven’t even mentioned YouTube yet.

As an aspiring author, I’m supposed to do more than write. Literary agents and publishers want authors who already have a social media following.  I guess that makes sense.  A social media following means guaranteed book sales, and nothing appeals to publishers more than guaranteed book sales.

I always thought that the book publisher was supposed to provide the hype and media attention to promote books, but I guess times have changed.  But if authors have already done the hyping themselves, then the publisher is just paying for the publication and then giving the author a low percentage of profits.

If I had a following large enough to attract a book publisher’s attention, I’d wonder… why do I even need a book publisher?  I could get money from a loan to publish the book myself and keep all the profits.

Whether independent or backed by a publisher, writers need to promote, and to do that, we have to immerse ourselves in various types of social media.  But most social media platforms suck.  Suck is an imprecise word, and I actually enjoy using social media for entertainment purposes, but as a writer, I don’t want to rely on it.

It takes a long time to get good at each social media platform.  I blog and I use Twitter, and these require almost completely different skills.  I enjoy blogging and I’m okay at it, and if I spent more time on Twitter, I might be successful at it too, but I don’t have the time.  I work at a job which has nothing to do with writing.  I’m married with two daughters, and I actually pay attention to them some of the time.  That doesn’t leave much time to create new content and self-promote it.  Even on a weekend or a day off, it’s difficult to find the energy/creativity to do all of that.

I’m not complaining.  I’m just trying to figure this out, and I know other writers/bloggers are going through the same experience.

Once you get good at some aspect of social media, there’s the chance/likelihood that the site will become obsolete.  I wasn’t aware of MySpace until Facebook had already destroyed it.  I didn’t start blogging until 2011.  I didn’t get a Twitter account until 2014.  I didn’t try publishing an ebook until 2013.   I haven’t even bothered to start a YouTube channel.  When it comes to social media, I’m way behind the trends, and that’s no way to be successful.

Since videos are easy to make, I thought about becoming a YouTube star, but I’m too old, I’m not attractive and my voice is monotone.  Then again, a lot of YouTubers are bland with unappealing voices.  I was surprised how bland a lot of prominent YouTubers are.  And they’re not that articulate either.  If I were younger, more attractive and articulate, I’d really have an advantage over them.

YouTube is awesome, but most new YouTube content has little appeal for somebody my age.  The majority of original videos are too long with 30 seconds of  substance per 7 minutes of video (I came up with those numbers myself, but I’m sure they’re accurate).  I’d rather read about what YouTubers are talking about than watch/listen to YouTubers talk.  Blogs take longer to write than it does to make a video, but it takes longer to watch a YouTube video than it does to read a blog post.  Therefore, YouTube is not for me.  I watch old content (football games and pre-1980s comedians), but not much of the new stuff.

The younger YouTubers often use apps like Vine and Musicl.Ly, all of which would be useless to me as a writer.  Being a star on one of those platforms looks like fun though.    It just takes a few minutes to create and edit a 6-second video that gets millions of hits.  That must be awesome, to make a 6-second video and become famous, but if I tried, it would just be creepy. Nobody could watch me on those apps without cringing.  And I don’t want to be associated with cringing.  Plus, nobody who uses those apps would be interested in buying my ebooks, so I’d be humiliating myself for nothing.

I’ve seen authors/bloggers with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, and even more accounts than that, and I wonder… how do they do it?  I guess when I see all those millenials staring at their phones while they’re in public, they’re managing their multiple social media accounts.  It probably takes up every moment of their spare time.  I’m not willing to stare at my phone in public, so I guess I shouldn’t have multiple accounts.  That might keep me from being a successful blogger/writer.

But at least I know where my children are.  They’re both watching YouTube videos.

*****

What do you think?  Which social media sites do you use the most?  Which ones are the biggest wastes of time?  Which sites help you the most as a writer?

*****

While you’re staring at your phone or tablet, you can read  one of my ebooks that has nothing to do with social media.

10 Comments
  1. I use a lot of social media websites on behalf of myself and clients. In fact, an author only just asked me to take him on as a client for that purpose. Like you, he couldn’t wrap his mind around social media and building a following on his own. I think I’m one of the few writers who has very little issues with social media, if at all.

    I use instagram, twitter, Pinterest, facebook, tumblr, Google Plus, deviantart and a whole host of others.

  2. you’re spot on. and your analysis goes for any professional, not just writers. I have no idea, how people can successfully manage five or six social media channels. I use facebook and do blog occasionally. And this is already too much, as it is.

  3. Facebook is the BIGGEST waste of friggin time in the world! I can easily spend hours on there and not even realise it, and my dishes sit in piles in the sink ugh. The most useful sites I find are instagram and twitter – just for you know, getting the word out there 🙂

  4. Twitter is genius, if everyone stared at it all day, but they don’t.

  5. What can I say? You’ve hit the nail on the head yet again. 🙂

  6. Young person speaking–asking someone to be active in social media in order to become well-known is either a serious case of horse-before-cart or complete lack of statistical understanding. How many people have legitimately decided “I’m going to get rich by posting snarky Twitter comments” and had it work out for them? In my opinion, nothing is more annoying than a social media user who is on the platform not because they enjoy it, but because they’re trying to promote their brand. It has no heart, and the content always sucks (only slightly worse than the people who are on social media because they want to restate the same joke/opinion everyone else has posted for the last month). The great ones are the contributors who do it “for the lolz.” They’re just there to goof off and make good content. You can tell the difference.
    And also, when I have my nose stuck in a phone, 9 times out of 10 I’m studying the flashcards I’ve stored there. Or I’m writing an essay on MS Word or playing Professor Wikipedia. My friends spend a lot of time on Snapchat, but they’re using it to send pictures to people they know, not to promote themselves.
    I know this is just one perspective among many, but I’m sure a lot of young people think like me. Social media isn’t an ad program (or at least it shouldn’t be)–it’s a place to share things with friends. If you force a connection you don’t want to make, it’s going to leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

  7. “I’ve seen authors/bloggers with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, and even more accounts than that, and I wonder… how do they do it?” I ask myself too. It seems just impossible.

  8. I’m no good at social media, and I say this after several half-hearted attempts at reviving my Facebook account. Don’t even get me started on Twitter.

  9. I just don’t like social media and don’t use them. Of course, I don’t sell any books!

  10. Deprive yourself of sleep, free time is time taken away, oh yea coffee is your friend. The only social media platform that I cannot get into is YouTube, I rather read than watch. You do have a point, to be successful in today’s society, you have to be a master at all social media properties. I master 3 out 4.

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