Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I've Got a Theory: You're Only GREAT at One Type of Social Media

As writers, we're supposed to have a strong online presence, and we've got so many choices. (I'm pretty sure there are about a million more types of social media than there are types of word processors!) Although online presence can mean a lot of things, for most of us it probably includes some combination of a blog, twitter, facebook, and possibly google plus. (It feels weird to type their names lowercase. About as weird as it feels to write them uppercase. Since their logos are lowercase, we're SUPPOSED to write it lowercase, right?)

Let's get one thing out of the way. We can't be good at everything. Your talents might lie in the areas of social media, so everything you do is fabulous. Your talents might lie in other areas, and every bit of social media is hard work for you.

Regardless of that, though, I stick with my theory-- You are only great at one type of social media.

Why? Because blogging uses an entirely different way of thinking than things like facebook and twitter use. Orson Scott Card said, "Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any." I think you could very easily change this to read, "Everybody walks past a thousand blog ideas every day." Or "Everybody walks past a thousand tweet / status update ideas every day." And we, the social media savants that we are, :) have trained ourselves to notice those ideas.

So I guess it all comes down to this: When you walk past those thousand ideas, do they come to you in the form of a tweet or status update, or do they come to you in the form of an idea for a blog post?

It's likely the form it comes to you in is the type of social media you gravitate toward. The one you are quicker to update. The one you are more religious about checking. The one you work harder at to get followers.The one that comes to mind first when you think "Social Media" or "Online Platform."

Is this a bad thing? Certainly not!  And I'm not saying to only go with the one you're best at. I am saying it's a good thing to put the most effort into the one that works best for you. IT'S ALL ABOUT WORKING YOUR STRENGTHS.

For me? I can't even pretend that facebook and twitter are where my strengths lie. How about you? Which is you favorite? Where do your strengths lie?


Kelley Lynn said...

I definitely think in terms of blog posts, but I really love facebook for staying in touch with friends and sharing pictures.

But if I want to get across an idea, or say something 'meaningful', definitely a blog post.

Francesca Zappia said...

I've noticed that every time I get involved with a new type of media, the ones before it seem to pale in comparison. I've been on facebook for years, but as soon as I got a twitter, I facebook seemed boring. And then I got a blog, and twitter seemed too quick and informal.

I still use all of them, but my blog is probably my favorite.

J+S said...

Hey, could I hire you to tell 95% of my friends on Facebook that they are not good at it and they should stop posting? :)

Gordon Gossip

Unknown said...

LOL J&S - Wouldn't that be grand? How about I tell your friends and you tell my friends?

Peggy this is an excellent post. You are so right. I think in terms of novel ideas, then blog posts, then google+ posts, then twitter... in that order. Facebook for me is only for close friends and family most of the time.
Thanks for pointing out what should be obvious, but isn't.

Unknown said...

I'm on like every type of social media but blogging (which was first) is still the one I like best and use most.

Jessie Humphries said...

I am best at eating chocolate chip cookies! I am only a blogger. I cant strip my pride (yet) on facebook or twitter. Mostly because what J+S said above. :).

Carrie Butler said...

I've been on Facebook since 2005, so the enthusiasm is gone there. As for Twitter, I haven't been very consistent yet. Hmm. I've been on Google+ for a little over a month, but I'm not sold on it. Ya know, I think I'm going to have to go with good ol' Blogger. :) Great post!

Abby Fowers said...

This is too cute. Twitter is definitely not my strength. I can do FB but haven't dedicated as much time. A lot of it comes to availability of time and priorities. Right now, that's my blog and my book. Soon homework comes in too! I still try to throw thing on FB and twitter but its sparse. You can only do so much, right?

And Yes, I am constantly seeing stories or posts or whatever when I go places. Thank heaven. I would hate to be so uninspired, although I do have those days!

linda said...

Ooh, interesting! I find that I gravitate toward blogs rather than Twitter or Facebook, but I do go through phases of temporary Twitter/Facebook-addiction and wanting to take a break from keeping up with Google reader. Thanks for the insightful post!

Golden Eagle said...

I haven't ventured out into social networking like Twitter and Facebook, but they don't hold much appeal to me right now--and I don't think they would be my strengths, at any rate. I like just blogging. :)

Tara said...

I suppose Facebook would be my strength, but that's mainly because of friends and family. I'm a shy person and meeting new people/starting an actual conversation with a stranger *gasp* nearly gives me an attack of the vapors. LOL.

I enjoy blogging but it seems as though I've not had m uch to write about this summer. Well, other than long, rambling nonsense that I rarely post. ;-)

Shilpa Mudiganti said...

I am really bad at Social Networking. Whenever I tried, I failed miserably like my defunct twitter account and once-in-a-blue-moon facebook logins. Now I do not even try! I try to maintain my blog because that is something I really like doing...if that gets some social chatter in to my life, then, Yay!! :D

Nicole McLaughlin said...

AGREED! It's really hard for me because I also use social media a lot for my job as a photographer. It's huge. So keeping up with blogs for both writing and business, plus business facebook page and of course just my personal facebook page is tough! I can't do twitter. I just don't have the time or desire. I think your post just made me feel better about that decision! :)

Jeff King said...

I only blog… and I do that for a selfish reason, to become a better writer.

If I foresee getting published, I will endeavor to boost my online presence—and that’s goes for social media as well.

It takes a lot of time to be dedicated to social media, and I have barely enough time to write these days.

Lan said...

It's all an addiction to me :( Depending on what's going on in each medium, I will gravitate towards that more. But book blogging is probably my true love as it's easier to connect with like minded people. Twitter scares me for the fact that there is just no filter and without that, I would have cyber diahrrea for sure.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Kelley-- I'm right there with you. Except I'm not so good at keeping family and friends updated; I mostly just keep updated on them. :)

Francesca-- Haha! I think it's probably that way for a lot of people. New things are always so shiny and cool!

Jennifer-- HahahaHeeheehee! It's not just your fb friends. :) Maybe there should be a global facebook etiquette edict!

Nina-- I think you're right. We probably all think of ideas in a certain order. Mine's about the same as yours, except for google+. I guess I need to get better on twitter before I tackles something new!

Clarissa-- Me, too. Blogging = first and best. It sounds like you're on more social networks than I am!

Jessie-- Haha! Okay, let me give you my own facebook edicts.

1. Don't have an argument with someone by posting it on their wall, because it shows to everyone. And don't continue the argument someone starts on your wall. Especially if the argument is with someone that LIVES IN THE SAME HOUSE AS YOU. Seriously. Just walk into the room they're in and talk.

2. Don't say something really vague, like "Today is the worst day ever," or "My life is about to change forever." And then when someone takes the bait and actually asks what's up, don't say "I don't want to talk about it."

Follow those two rules, and you're golden.

Carrie-- You sound totally like me! Or at least how I imagine I'll feel in several months when I actually brave Google+.

Abby-- EXACTLY. On ALL of it.

Linda-- Maybe that's what I need to do! Have temporary addictions to other social media, leaving the others behind. Brilliant! Maybe that would get me comfortable on all of them.

The Golden Eagle-- I think your plan sounds heavenly. Focusing on one makes that one so much better!

TaraNator-- It's definitely easier to post when you know it only goes to friends and family. At least the attack of the vapors (haha!) isn't quite as bad when its just starting up a conversation via comment on a blog. At least it's that way for me. :)

Shilpa-- I think that's totally the key to social networking. Do what you enjoy! That's what you're going to come across best at anyway.

Nicole-- I have a friend who is a photographer and a writer, and it's a LOT to keep up with! I say you shouldn't feel guilty about not doing any type of social networking you don't enjoy AT ALL.

Jeff-- I think you hit the nail on the head. Social networking DOES take away writing time, and it takes a lot of finesse and making choices not to do some things to balance that.

Lan-- It sounds like you are one of those people who are good at all types of social media. Good on you! Blogging is my true love as well, and twitter scares me, too! (Just like the title of the post that just went live. :))

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I love blogging, so I focus on that the most. I do use facebook, mostly for friends, and I'm on Google+, but don't really get it yet. I tweet at times, but I'm not all "It's the best thing ever" about it. ;) Blogging for the win!! :D

Peggy Eddleman said...

I am right there with you, Chantele. Except for the Google+. I think it'll be a while before I can get talked into another one! Blogging definitely ftw!