Tweeto, Tweetas, Tweetat

OK, so maybe you can’t conjugate Twitter in Latin, but I gave it a shot. Social media…. Oh boy. When I first joined writing blogs and Yahoo groups (remember those?) everyone said that as a writer we needed to build a platform using social media to engage and “presell” readers.  Even fiction writers, we were told, needed a platform to sell. Brother… Writing used to be a solitary art. Anyone could theoretically  sit at a desk quietly and write prose or non-fiction that would be riveting, engaging, clock stopping – regardless of personality. Today, sometimes it feels like you have to be part of Ringling Brothers to get attention. 

I was dragged kicking and screaming and via a petition (swear to God there was a FB group for “get Kim on FaceBook”) to social media. I started with FB https://www.facebook.com/kim.stagliano and then found my way to Twitter http://www.twitter.com/kimstagliano.  Now I’m as addicted as the next person. And while the time spent there is productive in many ways, it takes a new discipline to log off and get to work, whether writing or doing those things called “household chores.

The thing I love about both FB and Twitter is that I can connect in a personal way with readers. That happens to be my style and I’m comfortable with the perceived intimacy.   And when you connect as a person, you’re not selling your book, but sharing info. I never ever want followers (oh that does sound rather Jim Jones, care for a cup of Kool Aid?) and friends and such to feel I’m giving them a hardsell. People can smell that insincerity a mile away.  I will tell you about my book and where to buy it  (Ooh! ooh! Here! here! Here!) but that’s rarely the jist of my writing or posting.

I will also point out that the attention can be overwhelming. Even my teeny tiny taste of being in the public eye has thrown me for a loop. And sometimes the relationship can become too colloquial. I’ve turned off FB instant messaging. I couldn’t keep up with it.  I don’t think FB followers need to try to friend my husband. I don’t divulge my every secret or day to day life on either FB or Twitter. And despite having written a fairly raw memoir, I don’t discuss my kids  except to praise and generalize for the autism community.  I still want some privacy. It’s an interesting balancing act.

How to you keep track of and protect your worlds in social media?


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12 thoughts on “Tweeto, Tweetas, Tweetat

  1. I’m with you — I find the whole privacy issue with social media a little disconcerting. I’m trying to keep Facebook as a venue for my family, “real life” friends, and my online writer buddies. (I suppose, when it’s closer to my first book’s release date, I can make an author page, but that still feels a little premature to me.) Twitter and my blog are open to all, and that’s where I’m comfortable being the more public “writer me.”

    • I set up my Kim page before I sold – then my book page. I’d love to switch people over but it doesn’t look likely. I do hide some folks – no need to “unfriend” but I don’t need to see everything. I’m grateful for the ability to reach out and help families though – it’s the best part of my work.

  2. I can turn off FB instant messaging? I might need you to show me how to do that sometime 🙂

    Great point about the privacy thing (something that became a very real issue for me this past week when I shared with blog readers that my husband — who has been a favorite “character” on my blog for over a year — is no longer in the picture). Such a strange thing to have to do, but the support has been overwhelming.

    Tawna

    • Tawna, that’s a good point – readers get to know us and our families and it’s hard to share when we have major changes. I remember when Mark lost his job – I was just so despondent (twice in one year when the retail economy collapsed) and didn’t know how to share it – when – if – but the outpouring of support made it worth it. I hope you’ll find that too.

  3. I’m a stickler about my daughter, at least in my author social media (she’s all over my personal FB page). I don’t talk about her by her real name, or show her picture, or mention her school by name. I’m not saying I have to be that careful, it’s just my thing. I also don’t mention my husband by name, and I’m careful about what I say about him — especially since his co-workers read the blog occasionally. With friends and other people, I tend to name them if it’s something work-oriented and on public record (like the producer of a Barbie movie, or the crew of my trailer), but give them an alias if I’m telling a personal anecdote.

    My dog Riley, however, is a media whore.

    • I understand, the memoir format kind of blew that out of the water! And my goal is to support and encourage a community – autism/general life changing catastrophe – so it was imperative to use names. But I know just what you mean – I often rethink a Tweet and hit backspace backspace delete. Especially now that I have been laid out in the media in some less than flattering pieces – I have genuine safety & security concerns that I’ve addressed even recently. It’s surreal.

  4. I almost wrote about the privacy issue in my post – glad you brought it up. I think there has to be some balance in what we keep to ourselves, and I completely understand your decision not to talk about your daughters.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how a generation raised with these media feel different about privacy than we do, but I definitely feel like I’ve got limits – some things in my life I just want to be mine!

  5. Protecting myself is easy, I write about you — as authors/friends — and your books. After all a Fairy Godmother needs to keep her secrets! 😉

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