My friends all know I’m one of the last holdouts for signing on to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the rest of the social crawl that’s constant on today’s cell phones, tablets, and other devices.
My friends have also shared their reasons for using these phenomena; and, while I understand them, I’m still not convinced. Still, I recently decided to jump into the twenty-first century by signing up for the sites listed above as well as Good Reads and Amazon.
Why this sudden change of heart?
Because I’ve written a middle grade novel that I am committed to, and the agents I’ve queried all recommend building one’s “platform,” as it is called. They want to know how many people “Like” you; how many of them visit your website; and — probably more to the point — how many would love to buy a middle grade novel.
As part of my “homework,” I signed up for a newsletter by one Dan Blank who offers “valuable advice on how to grow and engage your audience.” I haven’t received the first issue yet, but Mr. Blank wrote me a thank you for signing up with the following request. “Reply to this email and tell me one challenge you are trying to work past . . . “
I responded: “My challenge is to embrace Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., as I find these outlets elevate the trivial, attempt to create bonds where there really aren’t any, and take time from what I am truly passionate about . . .”
I asked for suggestions on how to change this attitude, and (with his permission) I’m reprinting the salient part of his answer here.
My gut is that you have to find your OWN motivation here. Just feeling that you HAVE to do this because agents require it will be nothing but frustrating . . .
Social media is much like email, or a telephone, or a public event. YES, there is a lot that is trivial, but it now encompasses nearly everything. Years ago, I found a way to use Facebook for something deeply meaningful to me:
I did this out of joy and enthusiasm, not obligation. That is a key distinction to finding moments of serendipity on social media. Thanks,
I went to the link he sent me, studied it thoroughly, and see his point.