Friday, February 26, 2016

When You're Social Media Awkward

Oh, how much our world has changed in the past few decades. First came Aol mail, then messenger, and chat rooms.

Then there was Facebook and smart phones…. And the world was changed. 

The list of social media sites that have popped up over the years is a mile long. And ways it has changed our daily life is likely even more massive. It’s not just social anymore. It’s business. We’re told to take advantage. Books can find a readership on twitter, and Facebook, on Tumblr, or Instagram etc etc etc. If you’re not on social media you’re missing an opportunity! Or, at least that’s what they say. 

So many writers have slaved over their work for years, to all of the sudden be told they MUST have an online following.

And que epic freak out.

So how do you navigate these strange waters when you’re social media ignorant? Or worse—Social media AWKWARD. 

We’re not all social butterflies! You are not alone!

Not everyone is made for social media. Not all of us are clever and funny, not all of us are social media likable. We don’t know what to say, or the things we say come across… wrong. It’s frustrating, especially when we feel like our very careers depend on it!

So I’ve gathered a small list of tips to help those of you who feel lost in the oblivion of the internet.

1)  Experiment. Try different social media sites. Play around. Don’t be afraid to try something new! You might find something that really fits you. Not good with writing short tweets? Or you end up too long winded on Facebook? Try Instagram where you talk with images! Or join a writing site like WattPad where you post stories instead of clever posts! You might even find something completely different that you totally didn’t expect!

2) You don’t need to be a social butterfly in order to chat about your favorite fandom! A big Game Of Thrones fan? (or Orphan Black, or Pretty Little Lairs or Survivor… anything!) Awesome! Post about it (but be weary of spoilers). Share articles through the week that you find interesting. Pictures. Fan theories. Fanfictions! Books you find that fans might enjoy. Just make it something YOU are interested in. If you don’t know what to say to make friends, then just talk about what you want to talk about. It may take a little while… but folks interested in the same things will find you.

3) Not really into TV? That’s okay, you could do something simple like posting inspirational quotes. Or favorite book quotes. Or interesting facts you find online. Or music lyrics. If people know what to expect from you, and they have similar interests, they’ll keep checking to see what you have to say now.

4) Get involved! Find contests, or chats and jump in. You can volunteer to help, or join as an entrant. This is an organic way to meet people because you have a specific purpose. Things to talk about. Like-minded people will automatically be in the same places. Offer critiques to meet fellow writers. Suggest good books to find fellow book lovers. If you’re an artist, offer to draw their characters etc etc.

And if all of that doesn’t work, or doesn’t fit you. Here’s my last bit of advice.

5)   Stop stressing. Here’s the truth of the matter—you do not need to be on social media in order to sell books. No matter what anyone tells you—it is NOT necessary (even if you write non-fiction. There are other ways of gaining a platform.) Good books and word of mouth are what sell books. Sure, an online platform is very helpful. But being fake or spam-y online is worse than having no online platform at all. People know when you are being fake.

If you are not great at promotions, you could hire someone to do it for you (which might be necessary if you self-publish or don’t have any support from your publisher.) Or you could just focus on your next book. Each new book you publish will expand your brand. Expand your readership. So if you want to sell books and are awful at social media— it’s okay to just focus on writing great books.

 Everyone’s career is completely different. You need to find what’s best for you and plan around your limitations.

It’s okay to be social media awkward. You are not alone!


  1. Stacey - thank you for this - SERIOUSLY!

  2. This was such a refreshing post. I do like to blog and have made some nice blog friends on a similar writing journey to mine. And I love Facebook, but that's mainly to keep in touch with friends and family, and maybe meet some writers I admire. I'm always reading that I should take a business approach to social media, but I think I agree: The best thing is to write your next book.

  3. I love that first image about avoiding "actual human contact", lol. Great post, Stacey. I totally agree that social media shouldn't be stressful -- it's okay to NOT tweet or FB or whatever if it's not something we enjoy. Personally, I love the sense of community I've found through social media, and the info-sharing, but in terms of promoting/selling our work, it's not the be-all-end-all.