I’ll admit straight away that I’ve written about the various social media platforms before (here). I’ve written about everything before. But I wrote about them a month into my blogging career (which is almost exactly 2 years ago – I might write a post about that in early February, I’ll definitely be scratching around for ideas by then…).
And I didn’t know jack-sh*t in those days. I mean, I don’t think I quite understood how all the various platforms worked back then. Of course, I knew Facebook like the back of my hand – who doesn’t (actually, there are still a few souls out there who, understandably, avoid it like the plague)? But my aim back then (as a newly self-published author and blogger) was to have a social presence on everything. It’s all in the game. It’s my job to publicise myself on the internet; to spend much of my life on social media (much to my husband’s chagrin). But all the other social media sites were fairly new to me back then – now I can pick and choose. Some platforms I literally couldn’t do without, some I can take or leave, others I won’t touch with a barge pole.
You may be a social media junkie or you may utterly detest that kind of thing. I use it more than most – I have no choice. So, I’m going to briefly discuss the social media platforms with regards to their usefulness to me as an author and a person (because authors are people too). I never say never; if you know something I don’t, I’ll happily eat my words. But I’ve been in ‘the game’ for nearly two years (writing, not prostitution). I won’t bore you with details regarding what each site is for (I’ve put Wikipedia links in each title, I’m so good to you), we’d be here all day…
Won’t Touch with a Barge Pole
Reddit:- There’s only one site on my ‘Won’t Touch’ list. Reddit. It’s elitist, prescriptive, unfriendly, antagonistic, and a thoroughly horrible place to be. I have no clue how many followers I have, or if one even has followers. I can’t remember. I dislike it so intensely, I’ve forgotten my password, so I can’t even look for research purposes. I’ve never had any hassle there, but I know plenty of people who have been ‘told off’ for not posting to Reddit’s strict guidelines. I hate Reddit. I loathe it. Sorry if you don’t, but that’s just the way I feel.
Take it or Leave it
Tumblr:- Now Tumblr means no harm but I just can’t get into it. It’s just another way of having a blog, I think. And if you already have a blog, why do you need Tumblr? So your blog is just duplicated somewhere else. My blog is automatically shared on Tumblr, but I only have about 2-3 followers (can’t remember my password to check). But as with all sites, you only get out what you put in. And I don’t put anything in.
Stumbleupon:- If I’m honest, I don’t even know how to use Stumbleupon. I have 2 followers – which pretty much reflects my lack of effort.
Pinterest:- I try to like Pinterest. I do. It’s definitely grown on me. Whenever I see useful stuff on the internet about writing or exercise, I will endeavour to ‘pin it’. But it doesn’t seem to be terribly helpful to a writer, as such. I have 20 followers – nothing to write home about.
LinkedIn: – Now, you’re probably thinking ‘LinkedIn is for business; people get headhunted or find jobs on there. Adele doesn’t need to be on LinkedIn‘. And you’re probably right. My blog has a setting which will automatically share my posts on other sites the moment they are published (Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter…and LinkedIn is one of them too). I have no dislike for LinkedIn; I keep my profile updated, I chat to a few authors over there. I have 40 ‘connections’ – not too shabby. It’s harmless, it’s innocuous. But as an aside, did anybody in the history of the world ever get a job through LinkedIn? No. Never.
Literally Cannot Do Without
Twitter:- I’m in a very small minority when it comes to Twitter. As an author and a blogger, I just have to have a Twitter account. Anybody who is anybody has a Twitter Account. As we speak, I have 631 followers – pretty nifty. I check my Twitter account on a daily basis (which can’t be said for the two aforementioned categories). But do I actually like Twitter…? Well… I mean, it’s alright. But it’s a pretty cold and loveless place to be. All my author friends are over there, and some of my real-life friends too. But it doesn’t send a huge amount of traffic to my blog. Maybe that’s because it’s too fast-paced, it certainly is for me. The timeline moves too quickly, and I never spot any tweets from the people I really interact with. I’ll always have a Twitter presence, but I don’t have to enjoy it.
Facebook:- Now, I like Facebook. I’ve been using it long before I ever deigned to call myself an author. I have two accounts; the real me, and the writer me. Facebook is great for sharing photos, sharing blog posts, and conversing with friends in the ‘messenger’ app. I don’t have a tonne of ‘FB friends’ but it sends the majority of my readers to the blog. Without question. The author me has 129 friends on FB (the real me has marginally more), but that’s because even the author me is a bit more careful who I’d befriend on FB. Still, no writer could do without it. But Facebook has it’s dark side. During the British General Election and Brexit (and to a lesser extent as a British person, the American General Election), Facebook was an unpleasant place to be. Everybody had an opinion, not necessarily the same one. It got ugly over there; people fell out, people deleted one another as friends. During these rough times, I had to retreat to Google Plus and Instagram where there was little to no political agenda or aggression. I like Facebook, I couldn’t do without it. But I know people who hate it; they hate the constant stream of photos of people showing you how wonderful their lives are, and how much better an existence they lead than you. It’s all fake, of course. Most of us only post the good things that are happening to us, not our bleak days (I tend to post photos of fridges [private joke]). Facebook is fine. It certainly has it’s place. But if you use it, take it with a pinch of salt. Or use another platform from time to time.
Google Plus:- I’m a big fan of G+. I’m one of a few rare Brits over there (it never really took off in my country). As an author, it has been a lifeline. I’ve met the majority of my author compatriots on G+. To date I have 522 followers – also pretty nifty. It doesn’t quite send the large amounts of readers to my blog that Facebook does, but that’s partially because I’m now friends with my G+ buddies on Facebook too. So they’re more likely to see I’ve published a blog there first. But it’s easier to chat to my author friends on G+. This is where my connections are made and I wouldn’t be without it.
Instagram:- This is a surprise one. I only joined Instagram exactly 40 weeks ago (that’s as precise as I can be). I couldn’t see the point of it. I’m not a hugely talented photographer. What pictures could I possibly share that would be of interest? How could it be helpful to a writer? Well, that’s where I was wrong. I only have 146 followers, but I’m still a relative newbie. Instagram doesn’t send a huge amount of readers my way, but it’s such an affable place to be. There is no political agenda. There doesn’t seem to be that ‘look at how wonderful my life is‘ ethos that Facebook has, either. I’m a fan. And the filters you can use to spruce up your photos are sublime!
Now, not everybody reading this blog is an author or somebody who requires a big internet presence. So a lot of these sites will be of no interest to you. In fact, this entire blog may be of no interest to you. Oh. But to those people all I can say is, if you like using social media at all, there’s more to life than Facebook. I’d recommend G+ and Instagram to anybody. Give it a whirl, you might even see me there. But then, you’re going to see me everywhere. I’m pretty much unavoidable (apart from on Reddit).
PS: I can be found in numerous other places too, I just couldn’t be arsed to put in any more links which virtually nobody will bother clicking on.