Friday, March 23, 2012

How much should we hold back on social media?

I've read more than one article lately on authors and how they present themselves to the public. Naturally, this is a subject I often consider while online. I don't want to look like a total jerk, but I want to be honest. I would never point someone out by name and insult them, but I feel I have the right to respond publicly if such is done publicly to me. I just always keep in mind that someone WILL read my words.

Many seem to be of the opinion that authors shouldn't say anything on Facebook, Twitter, etc., if it isn't positive. While I'm generally a very happy person, I find that unrealistic. In my opinion saying you're having a difficult or stressful day only makes you look human. That's not a bad thing. Who the heck is always happy? Now don't get me wrong, if someone posts nothing but negative comments, that's a big turn off.

I steer clear of politics and religion. Period. I don't think people need to know that much about me. Ha. Ha. However, I read a comment on one of these articles that said authors shouldn't even post their opinions about current news events. Really? The example they gave was the changes within the publishing industry. Um, that's kind of important to what we do here. Why not voice an opinion?

I also have shared much of my experiences here about publishing, both self-and traditional. I believe I've done so in a professional manner. However, according to the articles I read, I could have alienated my readers. That was never my intention.

Oh, and one post said you shouldn't even voice your opinion on popular TV shows! Now, I've done that a few times. Typically, it's only if I love it or hate it and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. To me, if we have the same interests that's another way to connect with my audience. I also like to read Batman comics. Will that hurt my sales too?

What do you think? If it's done politely, is it okay for an author to blog/post about how they feel? Can they be honest without turning off their readers? I like to think so.


Ranae Rose said...

Sometimes I think there's a fine line between what's appropriate and what isn't appropriate, and it's probably a little too easy to cross. However, I agree that some of the supposed guidelines you quoted in your post are too constraining. If we authors can't even talk about anything you like, what are we going to tweet about - our books? Nobody wants to read a stream of endless book promo. The twitter users I like following best are generally people who have a distinct personality and post tweets that show it. That way, I feel like I get to know them a bit.

To be honest, I hold back a lot on social media. On one hand, I want to be myself, but I don't want to cross into the land of TMI or alienate people. I have three social media 'rules' for myself: 1) No negative posts/tweets. 2) No politics or religion. 3) Don't use social media while intoxicated or in a bad mood (LOL!).

Personally, I hate when I look at my tweet stream and see people moaning and groaning over all the little issues in their life. I mean, guess what - I don't care that they burnt their dinner slightly or have a stuffy nose! Does anybody? I think of people who are constantly posting stuff like that as 'Eeyores'.

On the other hand, I absolutely love tweeps who brighten my day with their positive tweets. :)

Tracey H. Kitts said...

There is a very fine line, I agree. I want people to feel they are getting to know me, but I don't want to overshare.

Seeing people share "minor" things doesn't bother me in general. It's all in how it's presented. For example, if it's funny, I enjoy a good laugh.

When I say I DO occasionally have negative posts or tweets, I certainly don't complain every time I burn my dinner. (Actually, I'm a good cook. LOL) If I have a blog post that's negative, I only share it if I feel the content is relevant or might entertain (whereas I'll make a joke of the situation). Humor is how I deal with stress.

My "negative" tweets don't go much beyond, "Today has been really stressful. Send some positive thoughts my way."

Or something along those lines. And that's only when I'm having a really awful day to which I do not give details. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. As long as those kinds of things aren't posted every day. Someone who is ALWAYS "happy" or upbeat doesn't look real to me. I'm USUALLY happy. But always?

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

As a reader I like knowing that an author, whose books I enjoy, is human. You do this mysterious thing with words that I can't do and, when you finish, you have this book that I can read. It seems a bit magical. Hearing you are having a bad day, that you loved movie x, or hated TV show y, helps me realize that you too are a lot like me. That's a good thing in my opinion. It's also nice because by getting to know an author we readers can sometimes get insight into a book that we might normally get. Perhaps an author tweets/blogs about their big black cat and then we read about a big black cat in their book, it makes me feel a little more connected to the book.

Tracey H. Kitts said...

Thank you, David. :) I appreciate your comments very much. THAT is what I was going for. I want to show people (within reason) who I am and hopefully find a connection with my readers this way.

Many of my fans have become my friends because we actually have a lot in common. I think that's great. It makes the world seem smaller in a good way. :)