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 and then found my way to Twitter  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?

12 Replies to “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.”

    1. 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.


    1. 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.

    1. 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!

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