Social media in particular can be a writer’s best friend, or her doom.
I am old enough to remember working in an office where I had to share a clunky desktop PC that only displayed pixilated green type on a black screen and was not connected to anything other than the electrical outlet. I remember a world before ubiquitous email, incessant social media updates, and text messages that follow you everywhere.
Though I sometimes recall those less technologically bound times wistfully, as a self-employed writer of the twenty-first century, I know that I could not do my job without the Internet. No way. No how. I work with almost all of my clients on an almost 100% remote basis – conducting all our business via email, Skype, conference calls, and cloud-based document and project management services. I do my research on the Internet – finding sources, tracking down facts, and checking details. My days are made up of writing blocks punctuated by frequent digital communication.
I think most of my professionally writing colleagues would agree on the value of the Internet.
Where opinions start to differ (sometimes violently) is on the subject of social media.
Facebook, Twitter, goodreads, LinkedIn, blogging, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ not to mention dozens of writing-focused groups, forums, and communities – social media is a vast territory. All those platforms, all those third-party tools, all the people and updates and alerts and notifications. It’s enough to drive you mad or leave you paralyzed in fear, gently rocking under your desk.
Many writers eschew social media as frivolous. They consider it to be little more than a new-fangled procrastination tool, a digital escape hatch that sucks the unwary into a rabbit hole of wasted hours. These people contend that a writer should spend her time working on her craft and building up her body of work, not wasting words on status updates about her cat.
While I understand their position and can vouch for the addictive nature of social media (especially for people like me with slight OCD tendencies), I still believe that social media is a valuable (almost indespensible) tool for today’s writer.
In my “day job,” I am a freelance professional writer and business owner. I write blogs, columns, articles, case studies, branding frameworks, website copy, ebooks, manifestos, and all kinds of other materials. I have been doing this work for six years, and I attribute approximately ninety percent of my business to social media.
That’s right. If I trace each of my client relationships back to its origin, ninety percent of the time the seed for each relationship will be found in some kind of social media interaction.
Think about that.
I have invested (and continue to invest) a lot of time and energy in social media, but I believe it has paid off in spades. It has helped me make the connections and nurture the relationships that sustain my business. There is a method to my social media “madness” (it’s definitely not all LOL cat photos and snarky quotes), but there is also a very personal and creative element to it.
I’ll share about that in a future post, but for now I’d love to know your thoughts:
How do you feel about social media? Do you engage? How? Where? If you don’t engage, why not? What are your biggest questions about social media for writers?
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.
Image Credit: I wish I knew – this was floating around Facebook and seemed the perfect thing to complement this post.