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?