I admit it. I'm a recovering Social Media addict. If you are an Indie writer I'll bet you know what I'm talking about. The mantra for self promotion chants a monotonous refrain of "Social Media" over and over. Sophocles would have loved it. He could have used it in a Greek chorus imploring the favor of the gods.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Amazon forums, reader groups on sites like Goodreads and Library Thing. I'm sure there are at least a dozen more I haven't heard of, and I don't want to. Tell me something, please. Do you really want to read another blurb about the next greatest book in whatever genre, including mine? Do you rush to open a new window, look the book up and buy it? Do you follow all the links, the blogs, the websites seeking your notice?
Be honest, now. No? That's what I thought.
Don't get me wrong. Some folks have learned how to use sites like Facebook to great advantage. They work hard at it, they spend time and money, they garner fans. They even sell books. I say, God Bless Them. But as a recovering social media addict, I know it's not for me, except in severe moderation.
Much of Facebook seems like endless twaddle to me (I've always wanted to use that word somewhere. Twaddle. Has a nice ring to it). To be fair, FB has a couple of very good writer groups I check into now and then. There are also one or two forums on Amazon that I enjoy, mostly composed of writers who have more to talk about than just their books. I follow one or two groups on Goodreads, for the same reason. I enjoy the virtual community, the sense of mutual support.
I've been reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King. His protagonist goes back to 1958, the year I graduated from High School. I remember 1958 quite well. King's book is in part a paean to a vanished time of real food, cool cars, no cell phones and no internet. It's also about racism, bigotry and Jim Crow. And because it's a Stephen King book, it's building a darkening tide of weirdness and fear. Pretty good, SK.
The point of my digression is that now isn't 1958. Now is constant bombardment from every direction by a massive overload of useless information, much of it through social media. It takes a lot of effort (WARNING: cliché ALERT) to sort the wheat from the chaff. Maybe too much effort, if you want to be a writer.
WARNING: OPINION ALERT
There's no denying some of those links and articles and blogs are informative, interesting and cool, but the Social Media internet is a voracious siren. It's time to tie ourselves to the mast and let the rocks slip by. We step ashore at our peril, if we want to focus on our writing. Without the writing, there would be nothing to self-promote anyway.
I have decided that about one half hour a day is the maximum amount of social media drug I'm willing to dope myself up with. Maybe someone should start a group on Facebook called Social Media Anonymous...but that might be addictive.