Jennifer and her online presence.
When I first became a writer, I was told I had to market myself and have an online presence. I’d already joined Facebook with a personal page, and I soon added an author page, which I’m only somewhat successful in directing people to. I soon followed with Twitter. Later, I added Google+, Foursquare and recently, Pinterest (although I haven’t done any publicity about that). And of course, I have a website and a blog, and I contribute to other blogs, such as this one, weekly or monthly.
That’s a lot of time to spend online.
Social media is fun. It gives people who mostly stay home a social outlet to interact with others, similar to the water cooler at an office. At least, that’s what I’ve used to justify my almost constant time spent switching from one form or another throughout the day.
Lately, however, I’m noticing that I spend more time than I should in a virtual world. I’ve also noticed I’m not as happy as I used to be. Now, there may be other reasons for my lack of happiness, but I think it’s time I started to do something about all of this. And perhaps there is a connection between amount of time spent online and happiness.
My website is essential for me as an author. My personal blog is essential for my mental well-being—it’s one of the places I vent, I kvell, and I publicize my writing achievements. It’s a mix of personal and professional, so I talk about everything that interests me—writing, religion, politics, parenting, the news. Maybe I shouldn’t mix those things together, but it’s who I am, and I’m not changing that.
The blogs I contribute to are important as well, because those are writing blogs and allow me to reach an audience I otherwise might not reach.
I like Facebook. I shouldn’t. It’s a huge time-suck. But I like it. It allows me to meet people, chat with old friends and be entertained. It also allows me to join online writing groups. And my author page is another way for me to get my writing out there.
Twitter is, for me, a necessary evil. I’m gaining a lot of followers who are reading my blogs and more importantly, retweeting my blogs to others. My readership is slowly increasing. I still don’t like it, but I’m learning to use it more efficiently and effectively.
I’m being very snobby with Pinterest. I’m only following other writers. I’m not posting much, but it’s a great way to create a visual storyboard for my books. And I find fun book hideaways and writing quotes.
I just deleted my Foursquare account. I tried it for awhile to see what it was like. Other than checking in to different places, I can’t find a use for it. Why do I need a record of restaurants I go to? Why do I care where others go? If my friends find a great restaurant, I hope they’ll tell me. Or better yet, take me there (especially if chocolate is involved). But there’s not professional point and it’s making me feel a bit stalkerish. So, I’m done.
Google+ is probably my next thing to get rid of. I tried it, can’t really figure out a purpose to it and am really just posting things because I think I should. But I haven’t seen a benefit and I’m connecting with a lot of strangers, without getting to know anyone. Oh, there, I just convinced myself why I should delete my account. J
Like anything, I think the key to all of this is moderation. Once I’ve pared down WHERE I am, I’m going to pare down HOW OFTEN I’m in any of these places. I suspect I’ll find myself a lot more productive.
And hopefully, happier.