Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Social Media Guilt

Last week I did something I don’t usually like to do. I posted a book review on Wednesday – the day I tend to post more craft- or writing life-related content.

Things like book reviews, awards, internet memes I try to keep to other days of the week. Especially because Wednesday is the day for this blog, ever since I decided slow blogging works for me.

But last week I didn’t, and now I feel guilty.


I had good reasons of course (it was the last day of the month to post an August review; no other content was readily available) but I still feel like I punted.

Social media is flexible, but sometimes that flexibility can bite you in the ass. That’s why we are told to have a blog, post regularly, and no matter what, don’t stop.

Other writers, far more successful in both blogging and publishing than me, like Elizabeth Spann Craig, Jody Hedlund, and Roni Loren have all talked about the demands of social media and ways they’ve balanced promotion, writing, family, and (gasp!) personal time.

Elizabeth Craig had a post today on this very topic, Juggling Social Media and Writing, about how she balances her social media demands, with some helpful tips we can all use.

Jody Hedlund also offers up some ways to protect your writing time in When Social Media Becomes a Time Suck. She also has examined the amount of involvement writers at all levels should have in How Much Time Should Writers Devote to Social Media? – I’m probably in the B-C range, based on her definitions.

Roni Loren uses blogging and other social media obligations as her version of Julia Cameron's morning pages. And in fact, this is often something I do too, where I’ll draft a blog post before starting my real writing or editing work for the day.

The good news -- there are ways to harness social media to your advantage and keep it from taking over your life completely. The bad new is social media will take as much energy as you give it and still want more from you. Which makes it that much harder to walk away from it sometimes.

If I’m feeling the pressure now, I can only imagine how it will increase if/when I transition from an apprenticing to a professional writer. When platform building transitions into promotion. And what of the spread of social media outlets? Facebook and blogs, and Twitter and Tumblr, and then Goodreads, and now Google+… There’s pressure to have some sort of presence on all these sites (and more still to come). When will enough be enough?

I still feel guilty -- about something that means only as much as I’m willing to let it, as much as I’m willing to buy into it. I think this dynamic is worth puzzling out – but that’s a post for another day.

What ways have you found to banish social media guilt? How do you balance your social media demands?

8 comments:

Laura Marcella said...

I can't really relate because I don't feel social media guilt. I tweet when I feel like it and have something to say and I blog MWF and have Facebook only for friends and family, and I don't ever post status updates on that. I'd be miserable if I was on social networking sites too often. I need time away from the computer and technology.

Hope your guilt doesn't last long!

Steph Schmidt said...

I don't balance my social media. It's something I really need to get on top of with how sloppy I've become at time management. I thought I'd handled getting everything in order last month. Guess this week is another fudge week to balance things, find a schedule that works.

anonymeet said...

I know how you feel! But enough is enough when you decide it is. You have to just take a deep breath and remember social media is a sideline, not the main focus. Some authors' platforms are key to their success. Other super successful authors have no social media platform at all. Does Suzanne Collins blog? Does Moira Young? It's meant to be enjoyable. When it's no longer fun, that's when it's time to take a break.

My strategy is probably not the best one, but it's one designed to keep me sane. I have one online presence - my blog. I don't Tweet, Tumblr, FB or Google+, even for non-writing reasons. If I had to split up my time any further to do those things too, they would all suffer, as would my writing, my paid job, my family. I'm going on the quality is better than quantity theory.

I don't have a posting schedule. I post at least once a month and other times when I have something to say. I know there's pressure to post regularly, but to me, that doesn't mean frequently. I also have to admit, I'm beginning to suffer form blog fatigue. I - and I'd imagine many of us - follow many blogs. It can be hard to keep up when there is just so much content thrown at you so frequently. I have really come to appreciate those blogs that post less frequently, because then I can keep up with the blog without it becoming a time suck!

Gail Shepherd said...

I just started my blog a month ago, with a commitment to post five days a week until I feel the blog is really up and running--getting enough traffic, settling into topics that people seem to connect with, etc. Right now I'm feeling my way, but it IS taking a huge amount of time. I begin my 2nd novel this month, following a plotting workshop, so I'll be cutting back to three days a week on the blog. Getting the blog up to speed has felt a bit like pushing a boulder up a hill at times, but on the other hand, I'm basically thinking out loud, about my reading, about writing craft, about authors I love--so it has to be good for me even if it does take time. And let's face it, if you're blogging, you ARE writing.

Gail Shepherd said...

I just gave you a blog award, bluestocking. Come and git it! www.gailshepherd.blogspot.com

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

It is a never ending beast, isn't it? I hopped over from Gail's blog and so glad I did. *waves to fellow campaigner*

I banish guilt because it's useless and I can (not everyone can dispense with it so easily), but the MUCH bigger danger for me is the addiction. So lately, I've tried to keep my writing time sacred. Not always successful, but as long as I have forward motion there, I know my social media addiction isn't disabling! :)
Great post!

Laura Pauling said...

Feel no guilt. As your readers we release you. :)

People might notice for a brief nano second when we alter our schedules a bit. That's it. :)

Bluestocking said...

Wow! I'm amazed at the diversity of comments this post generated! I think there's a lot more to talk about, but I'll need a post series to do it. Which means forethought and research and thinking... It will be coming. Thanks to you all.

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