A recent discussion on a forum I frequent resulted in a friendly debate about social media. The original poster cited an article claiming it was useless. Others chimed in to question the source, the methods, and the proof in proverbial puddings.
Me? I’m with Eric Clapton. It’s in the way that you use it.
Nearly all of my readers who didn’t simply find me on amazon itself have come to me via the web. Some were twitter encounters; some facebook; a few goodreads; many via blogs that list free/cheap reads and other blog reviewers. Some of those tweets/postings were my own, many (probably most) were from others.
Yet a lot of writers claim to get no benefit. Why?
Not to be mean, but it’s not us, it’s you.
In most cases, if a person tweets nothing but pimpage, I unfollow/defriend and never look back. In a few cases, the person in question was someone I LIKED, so I didn’t want to be rude or insulting. I kept him or her in my twitter follows or facebook friends. I see these authors post the EXACT SAME PIMP once or twice per day. They don’t interact. They don’t converse. They are, to put it bluntly, ANTI-SOCIAL. The “social” in social media is the difference.
I follow some writers I admire, but do not know personally. They post links to their work, articles about themselves and their friends, photos of covers, and more. I’ll click that link EVERY SINGLE TIME. But I also laugh at their jokes, become interested in their charities, and think about the things they say. There is a reason I read Joe Konrath’s blog, but have only read a few of his books. There is a reason I read Patrick Rothfuss with cultish-fangirl fervor, and will also await his somewhat rare blog posts with relish. There is also a reason I could give a shit less what my actual friend, Suzy Author is posting on twitter. She posted it yesterday. She’ll post it tomorrow. It looks EXACTLY like this:
It will look EXACTLY like that every time Suzy shares… and it’s the only thing Suzy EVER shares. Twice a day, clockwork, Facebook and Twitter. Suzy is not a real person, and that tweet was created in Paintshop… but I know a dozen Suzys and Sams, and only my personal affection for them keeps them in my feed at all.
Not only will nobody ever click the link… they are very likely to become utterly turned off. The flip side of that practice—one of anti-social rudeness, if we want to put a fine point on it—is an engaging, pleasant relationship between author or publisher and reader. I’ve purchased books in a single, casual CLICK simply because the person recommending it was somebody I respected. But I’ve picked up a title or two because everyone HATED the book and I was curious… or because there was a kerfuffle over the subject and I wanted in. But the common denominator isn’t that I LIKE the people involved… it was that I found them INTERESTING.
Social. For those who are vague about the meaning:
so·cial adj \ˈsō-shəl\
: involving allies or confederates <the Social War between the Athenians and their allies>
3 : of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society <social institutions>
4 a : tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others b : living and breeding in more or less organized communities<social insects>c of a plant : tending to grow in groups or masses so as to form a pure stand
5 a : of, relating to, or based on rank or status in a particular society <a member of our social set> b : of, relating to, or characteristic of the upper classesc : formal
6 : being such in social situations <a social drinker>