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Social Media Madness, the writer’s digital Waterloo

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series 31 Days Blog Challenge

The stereotype is that writers are a super-introverted, angst-ridden, egotistic lot who have no time for social engagement. That may be true for some, but there are just as many good writers who are, by nature, friendly, extroverted, and eager for social contact. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle…depending on our mood, our deadline, and our peek-a-boo muse.

Today’s writers daily dodge a world that invades their book-laden sanctuaries twenty-four hours a day as they focus on blank screens and bang keys in the name of story. But computers have their own tales to tell. Social media delivers the story of the digital age and we all know how much writers love a good story.

The allure of social media is strong. The ease and user-friendliness of this new technology is unparalleled. A few years ago all writers had to contend with was the interruption of email. Now Facebook and Twitter compete for their attention in real-time. A few technology-drenched writers have even attempted to write novels within the context of a series of short-burst Tweets.

The days are long gone when writers had to make an effort to contact the world. In the past writers would haunt libraries and bookstores; they’d travel to find people and stories. Now stories and people come to them digitally-delivered. Sounds good, right?

Not so much. The digital world is as densely populated as the real one. The number of information delivery systems expands daily. Writers faced with multiplying questions on how best to adapt to this ever-changing world are overwhelmed. Every morning they are faced with an instant decision: Write? Or engage?

If you are technologically challenged, forget about all the multiplying venues. Stick with the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and maybe LinkedIn.

The ease that Facebook provides to allow a person to connect is a great tool and one writers should mine. The writing world thrives on connections, always has. Networking is not a new concept. Although not as dynamic a tool as the others, LinkedIn helps writers manage their resumes, bylines, and availability online and readily available. Twitter spills research, inspiration, and ideas onto desktops around the world. The trick is in their management. Many tools already exist that can help writers stay on track and away from overload.

So what’s the problem? The danger is that writers will allow themselves to be swept into the torrential stream of social media. Restraint is important. Understanding each tool and how it works is the best defense. Discipline is key. Those who can make social media work for them and not fall prey to its distraction will gain a distinct advantage in the ever-shifting landscape that makes up today’s publishing.

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  • http://www.thehiredpen.biz Lisbeth Tanz

    Vikk – so well said. It’s so easy to be swept away. Love your use of imagery here because that’s what it feels like some days!

  • Egalit

    Somehow reading your blog frees me from the “guilty” feeling of “I should be writing, not playing.” Because reading this blog is a form of writing because it contains so much information that is helpful; much food for thought…and done in an interesting way. Keep on writin’!

  • http://www.downthewriterspath.com Vikk

    Thanks, Lisbeth!

  • http://joolsstone.wordpress.com/ Jools Stone

    Hi Vikki, you were kind enough to pay me a visit and drop a comment, so here I am right backatcha!

    I agree with this definitely, getting active on fb and twitter is one of the best things I’ve done this year. It can ease the long, lonely wait for editors’ replies, you get regular – sometimes instant – feedback on your writing and you ‘meet’ all sorts of interesting people that you would otherwise never encounter. Of course, they also provide almost unlimited distraction too, not always a good thing! But the pros outweigh the cons easily in my messy little notebook anyway.

  • http://www.downthewriterspath.com Vikk

    Thanks, Elaine. I truly appreciate that and do hope what I share has value for others.

  • http://www.herbalcoolingtea.com Ben Sanami (FB Liangcha)

    Hi thanks for your comment on dave risley. So I owe you one here.
    I actually replied to a question for a friend on linkedin about this. although most people would choose facebook, twitter and linked in as their big three I am finding linkedin to be not much effective as facebook, twitter and YouTube. today everyone likes to watch a cool video I guess.

  • http://www.downthewriterspath.com Vikk

    Hey Ben, Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I think the video will take out LinkedIn pretty soon. Now I have to add video maven to my wannabe list.

  • claudine

    I love this post because it strikes so close to home. I’m always looking for the magic formula: how much time should I write daily? how much time should I spend on social media? how much time with puppies and so on. I wish I knew so I could spend more time wishing I’d do it right.