Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Social Media and Your Writing

Are you successfully working the social media scene to your advantage as a writer? It can be a great resource, but it can also be a great hindrance, depending on how you use it.  I recently read this great article, Practice Good Facebook Etiquette, by Real Simple magazine and it has excellent pointers for using social media successfully. While the article is specifically about Facebook, it can apply to all avenues of social media.  In addition to this article, I have a few reminders which will help your social media experience work for you and your writing.

What you say in social media stays in social media.  In other words, don't say it if it's not to your advantage because once you write it down out there, you can't undo it. Even if you delete something, it's still "out there" somewhere in cyber space.  Nothing ever truly goes away.  Facebook has recently extended their timeline system to go back even further than they did before and people are up in arms because they claim their private messages are no longer private. That's not the case; it's simply that they said things publicly a few years ago that they might not say today; they are wishing those messages were private.  Their words are coming back to bite them and they are not happy.

Social media mistakes can cost you. More than one person has lost or not gotten a job due to their actions on social media websites.  In social media, you're not just ruining your reputation with one or two people, you're ruining your reputation in front of the world.

Kindness counts.  It's not that you have go out of your way to be kind (although we all should!), but the problem is, unkindness shouts ignorance on social media, and people take note. Social media is not the place to "right all the wrongs" you may or may not experience in life.  In some ways, social media has opened a door for people to avoid confrontation in their relationships and lash out instead. I know of a church which had to take down its Facebook page due to inappropriate comments from its members.  I have a friend in another state who won't even get on any social media due to the actions of the people who were members of a church he left.  You do not want to be the reason someone takes down a page or stops doing social media altogether.

Remember why you're on social media.  If you are using social media to promote and advance your writing career, keep in mind that every single person who reads your posts is a potential customer.  I have learned a great deal from direct sales expert Julie Anne Jones. She uses social media to her advantage, is always positive and yet very reachable. She not only invites business associates and potential clients to her Facebook business page, but she invites all to be personal "friends" as well. This allows clients to see her life, her family and how she balances that with her business. Julie Anne might just be learning how I use her model as an example to my writing students! Kudos to Julie Anne Jones!

Don't base your interpersonal relationships on social media. I've had to "unfriend" or block certain people due to inappropriate behavior of their other friends,  even though I consider them friends in non-social-media places.  Others may have done the same to me, I have no idea. I don't know who has blocked or disassociated with me because I don't watch my list to see who's still there or not. I simply do not base any sort of relationship on social media interaction.  My relationships with people are real, not cyber-produced, so I prefer to have real interaction with the people in my life.  Bottom line: Never take anything personally on any social media outlet.

Happy social media interaction!
~Tricia


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