An Anti-Social (Media) Week

So last week I took part in a highly classified research study. The study was funded by some very important group that I believe is run by Elon Musk. Participants were asked to avoid social media for a week and report their results. Those that made it the whole week received a free flamethrower, or rather a “temperature enhancement device.”

Okay, I’m lying, I just got really busy and sort of “forgot” about doing anything on social media for a couple days. Then a couple days turned into three days, so I figured I’d made it that far, why not go for a whole week to see how things went.

The results were not surprising given how much I dread and suck at social media.

Taking Some Advice

The experiment coincided with having just read David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Digital (the newest version). I’d read the first edition but found it a little…how do I say this without being mean…pointless. Yes, pointless because the book was a few years old and things have changed like crazy in the self-publishing world since.

The newer version though had a much better structure, was full of concrete tips, and offered plenty of useful information. Maybe I was more receptive to the info this time, but the newest version simply presented everything so much better than the original and I would say is now one of my top favorite books on book marketing.

One of the points David made was that social media is basically a waste of time for authors who don’t already have a big fan base. Sure, you should be on there, but stressing out over getting likes and follows and tweeting incessantly is taking time away from writing and probably not generating many sales (very true in my case).

Since I dread most social media tasks, this advice felt like it was written just for me. Facebook is creepy and has become a dead zone for me since I can’t afford to boost everything I post. With Twitter I get stressed out that I’m not tweeting enough (and jealous of those who seem to be able to tweet every single thing they do and make it sound oh-so clever).

Also, I’m basically really boring and I have serious doubts anyone cares about what I’m doing with my day, so I’m very reluctant to tweet. And while Instagram does have that built in reward of easily getting likes from random strangers, I’ve yet to see any traffic coming to my website from IG.

Plus, for the most part, it’s all a phenomenal waste of my time. I know some tweeters who can come up with clever posts throughout the day and don’t mind sharing every aspect of their life. And I know some of these are scheduled, but still they had to take the time to write and schedule these things.

So what happened in my week off of social media?

  • After about three days I stopped feeling the need to check in on social media to see what people were up to and to be sure I liked and shared a few things just to get a little attention. I thought this would take a lot longer, but yeah, three days and the addiction subsided.
  • I felt a lot less neurotic about I-gotta-post-something-now! This meant less time searching for news items to share and memes to retweet.
  • Nowhere on my schedule did I put “Tweet” or “Post to IG,” and let me tell you, I didn’t dread the approach of those times when I normally do post.
  • I worked. I got a lot of writing done, I got a lot of marketing work done, I made a huge dent into the outline for my series that will come out next year. I felt REALLLY good about my productivity last week.
  • I got so much work done because I didn’t feel the distraction to check in and part of my mind wasn’t thinking, “How can I make this sound clever for a tweet?” or “What kind of picture can I take of this for Instagram?” My brain was fully devoted to the task at hand, not the tweet I could write about it.
  • I did find I missed seeing what a few people were up to. For example, I follow a guy in Australia and I love seeing his photos of the beach and his dog and that kooky Australian wildlife. But did anyone ask, “Hey where are you? Why haven’t you posted in a while?” No.

So what now?

Face it, I suck at social media. I don’t like doing it. I’m not so interesting or clever that people want to hear what I’m up to every few hours. And for the most part, I find it boring. Sure, I like seeing what the people who do interact with me are up to, but those folks are few and far between (and most of them interact with me through my blog anyway).

So does this mean I’m ditching social media? No. I do know it’s important to have a presence “out there” and as I said, I do like checking in with what some people are up to. And hey, when I did go back onto Instagram, there was Australia guy with a lovely video of some wild cockatoos!!

And there are those rare moments in my week when I do suddenly feel like a social media butterfly and have things to share (this is usually sometime on Saturday when I have finished most of my writing work for the week). But am I going to be scheduling posts into my work day? Am I going to get down on myself for not sending out ten tweets a day? No, because I could be using that time to write and to market in more efficient ways.

I’m taking a more “organic” approach to social media. I’ll probably aim to post once a day if I have something to say, I may try to take part in some of the fun weekly events like Throwback Thursday or Travel Tuesday, and I’ll still keep checking in on my “friends.” But spending my time writing and getting books out and marketing my books in a non-social media way seems to be a far more effective use of my time.

Now, where’s my flamethrower?

Thanks for stopping by everyone. Finn McSpool will be hopping by on Saturday with a little Easter tale (or tail?). See you then!!

One Final Note:

Although I’m staying on Twitter and Instagram (and may even revive my Pinterest a bit) I am deleting my Facebook account this Friday. This has been a long time coming since FB has changed their policies over the past year to make it nearly impossible for my followers to see my posts without me paying (I can understand paying to get my message out to non-followers, but not to the people who have asked to see my stuff in their timeline). Plus, the latest data breech BS has really pushed me over the edge of wanting anything to do with Facebook.

So, if you do follow me on Facebook, please please please either start following this blog instead or join my mailing list if you’d like to keep in touch with what I’m up to.

 

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31 thoughts on “An Anti-Social (Media) Week

  1. The Snail of Happiness says:

    So, who/what are you planning to point that temperature enhancement device at?
    I like interacting with my friends on Twitter and Facebook… and that’s it…. I’m only in it for the pictures of new lambs, knitting, crochet, happy friends and creative goings-on. I unfollow accounts that bombard me with sales, although I do like to know when a friend has a new book out or sausages for sale… I’m a rubbish consumer!

    Like

    • TammieLP says:

      But just think how happy you’d be if they came out with a new book about sausages!! I do like Twitter for interacting and seeing what people are up to, and I’m never one to turn down a cute cat picture, but the week made me realize how unfocussed I am with my work time if I’m thinking how to turn what I’m doing into a tweet or post. I feel my interactions should be done because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. As for that flamethrower…sausage roast, anyone?!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    Social media can definitely suck away our writing time. We have to be very careful about it. I don’t schedule tweets, but I try to have some content every day. I try not to overdo it. People don’t need me clogging up their feeds.

    Like you, I’m thinking of leaving Facebook. Haven’t decided yet. If I do, I’ll probably try Instagram, but I just can’t add another account right now.

    Glad you had a chance to step away. I’m sure it was liberating.

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    • TammieLP says:

      Oh shut up, you are the Twitter Queen!! You were one of the people I was thinking of as I typed this with your day-to-day life tweets that are always so clever and well-liked…I guess having snarky sons helps!! The week was very liberating, and a good mind cleanse. I did feel so much more organized and focused, and it’s been a while since I felt so on task with everything.

      Instagram hasn’t really driven much traffic to my site, but it is fun. I mostly see it as a sharing thing with friends rather than trying to use it much as a marketing tool, whereas Twitter I try to interact and market (to little effect – haha).

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  3. weekesgaehl says:

    I feel ya, dude. I’m so bad at it, and it makes me pretty depressed. But for me it’s more the fact that most everyone I’m ‘friends’ with is exclusively posting about their children–and consistently getting a million likes per post. It embarrasses me. I wish I could delete my personal Facebook, but a) weirdly it is my biggest referrer for the blog (although no one ‘likes’ or comments on the posts on Facebook (besides my mom) or follows my blog, so I assume it is people from my high school silently reading my stuff and making fun of me) and b) it’s the most important space for collaborating with other actors. But I’ve definitely been neglecting things lately and haven’t been missing it!!!! Well done to you–please keep us updated on how it’s going. I’m glad you’ve been able to be more productive, and it does sound like it’s been the right decision for you.

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    • TammieLP says:

      Bah, babies/kids are gross, no one should have to endure pics of other peoples’ spawn! At least you’ve found a use for Facebook. I never could get into it even though i know there’s gobs of writer groups on there. I just can’t play the game of paying for people to see my posts that FB began last year (before that I was getting a fair bit of traffic from FB to my website). It does seem the consensus is that those who are away from it a while DO NOT miss social media…although there is that sense of guilt that you’re not keeping up with the Tweeting Joneses. I can’t get back into social media yet, though. Maybe I should aim for one post a week, then slowly build up to once a day…or not :)))

      Liked by 1 person

      • weekesgaehl says:

        Auuuughghg I can’t even keep up with WordPress! Time to rectify MY week hiatus! I hope you haven’t been too devastated by your Facebook loss over the last couple of days…. πŸ™‚

        Like

      • TammieLP says:

        Um, oh yeah, my life has been SOOOOO horrible without it. Facebook who? Seriously, I haven’t missed for a second. I’m terrible about keeping up on WordPress too. I actually have to schedule in “comment on other peoples’ blogs” – which is why I hate trying to keep up with people who post a billion times a week, they throw my whole plan off!

        Liked by 1 person

      • weekesgaehl says:

        Hahaha me too!! And I know I’m annoying because I can’t manage to consistently post on a certain day……. sorrrrrrrrrrry! I try but then always fail! Can’t plan around moi!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TammieLP says:

        That’s alright. Your posts are entertaining enough that I’m still eager to read them even on my “off” days! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

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  4. Book Club Mom says:

    Great post about the time wasting element of social media. I like using social media for my blog but I never use it for my personal life – I don’t get it! Congratulations on making the break and getting so much work done!

    Like

    • TammieLP says:

      Well, it wasn’t intended as a total break, but I am finding it VERY hard to drag myself back into the social media realm. Although being super busy is also keeping me away. I think I’m actually more likely to use social media for personal bits (but not too personal!) than my work stuff since the tweets rarely lure anyone over to my website. What a fun game society has invented!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. crawcraftsbeasties says:

    Oh yes, I’m going to throw in my vote with the “down with social media” camp too! I could happily live without it, and when I was under the weather with Death Flu last month, I very nearly deleted all my accounts in a fever-fuelled moment of madness/clarity. I notice the same as you – most of the people who follow me on social media found me through my blog, and that’s still where my best online interactions happen. And forget trying to lure strangers into my web of Beastie-ness using “tried and tested” digital growth strategies! The only time I ever see an uptick in my Facebook numbers is after a market, thanks to the hand-drawn speech bubble sign on my stall table that says “Find us on Facebook”. Surely it doesn’t get more analogue than that! πŸ˜‚ So yes, channel your energies into writing books, where it belongs. Much as I enjoy your tweetings, I’m probably not going to buy a hardback special edition compendium of them. Hmmm… Unless they’re all Osteria-related humour cartoons. Those are awesome! πŸ˜€

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    • TammieLP says:

      Damn, “Tweets of Tammie” with gold gilt edging and a hand-tooled leather cover was going to be your Christmas present! I have “met” a few people through Twitter who I do enjoy interacting with, but never through FB (although maybe it’s because I don’t go around with a banner announcing my Facebook page…something to consider!). Now, after my week off, I’m having a hard time climbing back into the social media snare. I believe “kicking and screaming” might be a good way to describe it. Luckily, things are starting to bloom in the garden so I can just keep posting flower pics. And OC humor, of course…if I can remember to do so.

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      • crawcraftsbeasties says:

        Oh, that’s good… A nice flower pic should break up my otherwise mundane Twitter feed! And don’t even get me started on interacting with people on Facebook… I do most of my daily (ahem πŸ™„) social media stuff on my Android tablet, which means I need to use Pages Manager, the clunkiest, space-wasting-est app in the universe. And, for some reason, it won’t let me interact with other people’s pages or profiles as CrawCrafts Beasties, so I can’t reciprocate when they like or comment on my stuff. Oh, and there was that really fun time when it didn’t notify me that a customer was messaging me about their order as well! It has me wondering if ANYONE actually likes Facebook, and if we all agreed to a mass exodus, could we just get it out of our lives forever? πŸ€”

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      • TammieLP says:

        Oh I know your pain. Even on my computer I have to constantly force FB to “let” me comment/like using my business page profile, and trying to use that stupid thing on my iPad is a nightmare. And the joy of missing messages, WTF!? Add to all this an article I just read about a memo from a FB exec who said they knew their aggressive growth strategy could cause bullying, allow fake news to influence elections, AND made FB an excellent way for terror groups to organize. I am going to be more than happy to hit that delete button today!

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      • crawcraftsbeasties says:

        And the revolution begins! I’m actually a little jealous… I’m only remaining on the dreaded Face-Books because I have a handful of loyal customers who follow me diligently there and nowhere else. I think I’ll be shifting my analogue digital growth strategy (ie, signs on market stalls) to promote other networks in future though. Perhaps I can lure people away that way… Even if it is just to Facebook-owned Instagram! πŸ˜†

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      • TammieLP says:

        Ugh, I know Instagram is part of the FB empire, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that (since they collect so little data) they’ll not turn too evil. And I hear ya about losing the followers. I know I had several on FB I was trying to convert over to my blog or newsletter, but couldn’t. Ah well, hopefully there will be new ones to make up for their loss. Still, I think the analog way might be best. Maybe I’ll go get various t-shirts printed up with all my book covers complete with QR codes that send people straight to the purchase page on Amazon.

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      • crawcraftsbeasties says:

        Honestly, you’ll probably get more sales that way! Sorry you lost some people, but hopefully they’ll see the light and find you in one of your other online places eventually. Now go forth and enjoy your (largely) Facebook-free life!

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      • TammieLP says:

        Meh, I’m not really worried about the loss. I figure if they couldn’t be swayed onto some other method of interacting, then they weren’t that interested, right? I know there’s gobs of promo groups and writers’ groups on FB that I probably should be taking advantage of, but honestly, I don’t miss it one bit. FREEEEEDOOOMMMMMM!!!

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      • crawcraftsbeasties says:

        NICE! And I wouldn’t miss the groups, really – I joined a few back in the day, but I never have the time to go on there and interact with them. I mean, who does? You’d never get anything done!

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