Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Not Suck at Social Media :)

This summer when we sent our 11 year-old off to summer camp, my husband hugged him, knelt down, and gave him some very simple advice.

"Be kind. Be brave. Be You."

I love that advice. The thing is, our 11 yo IS sweet. He's kind, compassionate, and gentle. It's his nature. He had a great camp experience, probably not because of our advice, but because it's how he lives anyway.

We should all live that way.:)

My blog posts tend to be about books. Books I loved reading, books I'm working on, or NIL, my debut that I'm SO excited for you to read in '14! But I rarely give advice, because I don't feel very qualified to give it. So today is a big ole exception.:) (Not that I feel all that qualified...I just feel compelled to talk. LOL) Lately I've seen harsh comments on Twitter and/or Goodreads that made me cringe...and too much spam. Lots of noise, I guess.:) There is always noise on the internet, but you can choose how much to hear and when to walk away. And when to chime in with something meaningful that is not just--noise. The beautiful thing is, it's all up to YOU.:)

Here's my basic guide to social media.* Because for me, it's not about the number of followers or hits, it's about connections. :) So here goes...

7 Ways to Survive Enjoy Social Media:

Be Kind. To others on Twitter, to the agent who passed on your query or MS. To the writer who put her soul into her MS and asked for your feedback. To the author who's book you read but didn't love. Remember words are powerful, and can sting. Use them wisely.:) And for goodness sake, resist the urge to publicly rant. Never use the internet (Twitter, FB, blog, etc.) to vent.

Be Considerate. To the agent or writer who has your query or MS. To the writer you offered to beta-read for. Remember they are sharing their time or precious work with you. Honor that. Give them the time they need, and use your own time wisely as well. Communication is key. Again, no public rants. EVER.

Be Present. If you join Twitter, reach out and connect. If you read a blog post that hits home, leave a (kind) comment. If you read a book that touches you, share your joy with the author. We all ninja-lurk from time to time, but if you only lurk, no one will know you're there.

Be Consistent. If you blog, try to post on a regular basis. (Guilty.... still working on this one.:D)  If you tweet, or use Tumblr, or Facebook, do it regularly. I'm not talking 24/7. Social media can be a timesuck too, but it's hard to forge connections with people if you're never there, or worse, only occasionally there. Find a balance that works for you and stick with it.

Be Brave. Join. Start. Send that query, join Twitter, jump into Goodreads, create a blog, whatever. It might be scary, or overwhelming, or intimidating, or all of the above, but be brave. If you write a 300 page novel, you can craft a 140 character tweet.:) (And incidentally, Twitter is awesome for encouraging brevity.:D) And it just takes one tweet to start.

Be Real. It's not a popularity contest, it's about connections. How can you really connect with anyone if you're trying to be someone you're not? So what if you're not blessed with Will Ferrell's wit? No worries, there's already one Will Ferrell. He's got that Ferrell mojo covered. :) Just like a writer must find his or her own voice, you've got to figure out what to blog about or tweet about that might interest/engage others. But you've got to be authentic, or what's the point?:)

Be You.  The most important one of all. I'll leave this one to you.:)

That's it.**

Did I miss anything? Oh, and if I had to leave you with a top three?

Be Kind. Be Brave. Be You. :)

*Although this post is geared toward writers--writers starting out, writers in the trenches, writers seeking publication, writers reaching out--I think it can work for anyone. :) 

**Of course, it was a list. You know how I love lists! As always, feel feel to ignore anything that doesn't work for you.


  1. Yes to everything. Great post.

  2. Love this post! Great advice--which you are very qualified to give! Your son must get his sweetness from you. <3

    1. Sara,
      You're pretty sweet yourself. :) *Commencing Valentines loveliest now* :)
      Thanks for the comment! xo

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