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.