Friday, April 06, 2012

Social Networking—Take Time to get Your Feet Wet

We live in an exciting time as writers. We have more ways of interacting with our readers and each other than ever before. In addition to email, there are blogs to read and comment on, Facebook and Twitter to connect, not to mention the new options of YouTube and LinkedIn. But this excitement can also lead to overload and burnout. Here are some tips to help you ease in without overwhelming valuable writing time.
  • Set Priorities – I recommend you pick one or two applications to concentrate on before you move on to others. For example, I started with a blog and Facebook about the same time, but waited until I was comfortable keeping them current before I added Twitter and LinkedIn into my routine.
  • Set a Time Limit – I could spend all day moving from emails, to Facebook, to blogs, to Twitter, to . . . well you get the idea. I set specific times to do my social networking. There are exceptions, but for me to actually write—which is the point, after all—I have to stick to a schedule.
  • Realize There’s a Learning Curve – When something new comes along—I have to give myself permission to not be an instant expert. We hear buzzwords like intuitive and user friendly and immediately think there’s something wrong with us if we don’t pick it up easily.
  • Don’t Fall for the Hype – I’m guilty of being one of those who’s excited about new ways to connect. In the spirit of encouragement, I’ll tell those around me, “You’ve got to try  ____________________!” There are lots of cool applications out there—but none of them is the right answer for everyone.
  • Accept that Social Networking Makes EVERYONE Feel Overwhelmed – I don’t care who they are, or who they work for—no one can keep up. The business is just changing too quickly. Feeling overwhelmed is part of the picture, just accept it and go on.

I love social networking—and I get a lot of business through it—but even I have to be careful and not let it take over my life. Seth Godin, one of the most popular bloggers on the Internet recently posted a blog  about ways to keep this monster in check. If he struggles with this issue, there’s definitely hope for the rest of us.

Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, and has a popular writing blog, The Write Conversation. She has two bestselling books, an eBook, Social Media Marketing for Writers, as well as a devotional available in print and eBook format, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle.


Ane Mulligan said...

Managing social networking, instead of letting it manage me, I use it instead. Good info, Edie!

Edie Melson said...

Ane, you are so right. I think that's the struggle for anyone using social media today!

Jim H said...

Edie--"overload and burnout" couldn't describe it better.

Set priorities: after fulfilling the obligations of a full-time job, helping my wife around the house, and being a friend to those who need an ear or a helping hand, "social networking" via computer falls way down the list. Yet, we have to do this to be successful as writers. Or do we? Can you tell me what the ROI is?

Set a Time Limit: Not hard to do. By the time I get to it, it's evening, and there's only so much time left. When I start nodding off at the computer, I call time.

The Learning Curve: Another time issue. Too bad we don't have USB ports to our brains. I'd love to tap into someone with social networking savvy and do a data dump.

The Hype: Oh, so true. Pinterest is the latest. I opened an account, but have pinned very little. (See Time Limit above)

EVERYONE is overwhelmed: I am comforted. Let's go to Linked-In and give each other a hug.

Jim H.
Wanting to "connect"

Linda Yezak said...

I've stretched myself as far as I dare, and haven't been good with some of the sites I should be most diligent in. I've always wondered how others do it. Nice to know they're doing about as well as I am.

Thanks for the reassurance!