Monday, July 11, 2011

The Perils of Social Media

A few weeks ago I did a blog about professionalism and I thought it was a good time to discuss social media.

I didn't create a Facebook account until after I sold my first book, knowing it was a good tool to showcase myself as an author and for some promotion. I don't post very much only when I have news to share. It's quite all right that I have family members who have friended me on Facebook, because they know this is for my writing and that is about all I post from my Facebook account. My writing, I keep it professional. That doesn't mean I won't post a "what am I doing" type of status, readers want to know more about me.

I didn't join twitter until about a month ago when I bought a smart phone. My account again is for my writing. Because I was twitter phobic, I started following people and reading what they tweeted to get a better understand of this form of social media.

I didn't think I'd like twitter, but I do. I'm learning more about other writers and the publishing industry than I thought I would. And I'm enjoying myself.

Yet, there are a few things that have turned me off and that has to do with what authors are posting. Here are a few things to think about before you post:

  • Never tweet or Facebook anything you don't want to be in the digital cloud forever

You're tweets and FB posts don't disappear they stay out there

  • Think before you tweet or FB post

Is this something you really want to say to 5,000 people or more who in turn tell everyone they know (especially if its negative).

  • If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all

Remember your followers on twitter and FB don't necessarily know the publishing world, they may complain about how your books are released, the prices, both print and e-books, etc. Be gracious and let them know you share their concerns but you have little control. Do not get upset at them for complaining to you, they have no other outlet. Offer to email them a more detailed explanation, but don't tell them that complaining to you as the author is the equivalent of complaining to the moon because it's full tonight.

  • Always remember you may have followers who will talk about what you tweeted or FB

One of the things I learned in my years in customer service is that an unhappy customer will tell 5 people they were unhappy, and then they will tell 5 people, and so on. A happy customer is more than likely to tell 10 people they are happy, and recommend your book or your facebook page or website or whatever.

As authors we are in the public's eye more than ever with social media. And as professionals we need to make sure we stay professional.


Andremartin said...

social media thanks, this is well written! I wonder what the equivalent of a "fishing
rod" is, in information technologies... i guess he's saying its those 5

Isabel said...

Amen! Well said, Marie. I share your concern for what people post online, be it Twitter, FB, etc. I have seen some posts/comments throughout my years online that leave me scratching my head and, if I may say, a little embarrassed by the commenters. It doesn't take a whole lot to upset people especially when a comment is taken out of context or misinterpreted.

When in doubt, log off.

Sharon Hamilton said...

Always seemed odd to me how some writers have so much trouble writing blogs, Twittering or FBing things that are appropriate. As you said, the professional attitude is what makes a reader want to read our works. Anyone can get lucky now and then. But "flashes in the pan" rarely make history. Or write a book I can't put down.

That's the way I hope I will be perceived.

Great post.