Wednesday, 21 March 2012

My Social Media Roundup (or Breakdown)

As the days tick by and the publication of my debut novel creeps closer (24th May!), I can’t help feeling increasingly embarrassed by the threadbare nature of my web presence (or ‘platform’, as I believe I’m supposed to call it). The received wisdom is that I should be on every online social medium going, bigging myself up with trumpets and yelling about my wonderful book. And plenty of people are telling me to do just that. It’s interesting though that my publisher’s advice was simply to ‘do one thing, and do it well’. And as more and more on-line voices (here, for example, and here) speculate that you can’t sell books on social sites anyway, or that blogging and even facebook have peaked, the advice to keep it simple and strong sounds appealing. And yet, the trumpets…

I’ve had a quick scout around my platform (ugh) and thought I’d share the sorry results with you.

  1. I have a blog. Obviously. I like blogging, even though I don’t post as often as I once did. Whenever I think of something to write, my internal editor usually shouts me down with either ‘Bragging!’ or ‘Boring!’. But he hasn’t killed it off yet, and won’t -- I have met some very interesting people here.
  2. I’m on facebook. And I (sort of) like it there. I started facebooking (French word) in order to keep in touch with my scattered family, but I’ve since expanded my ‘friend’ criteria to include anyone involved in writing, art and publishing who’ll have me. And yet, I still have personal stuff on it, and a brother who thinks nothing of tagging photos of me with underpants on my head, etc. I haven’t managed to divide my personal side from what might be called the public at all. I wonder if it’s too late. Or maybe a facebook page for me as a writer is the answer. Though that might be a very lonely place.
  3. I am on Twitter. I don’t really get it, and rarely have any sense of a conversation, but I’m hanging on in there. @ThomasHTaylor. Any advice?
  4. I have joined LinkedIn. But my eyes immediately glazed over.
  5. Google+ as above.
  6. I have signed up for Goodreads. But can it really help raise my profile to tell the world what I’m reading right now? Maybe I haven’t explored it enough. I only joined last week.
  7. Other things. I’m dimly aware of sites like Bebo and Gothise, but don’t expect to see me there soon – I’m all social media-ed out. I have noted, though, that some kind soul has expanded my Wikipedia entry, with a bibliography and everything! Thank you, whoever you are. I had planned to do this when Haunters was published. Honest.
  8. Website. More about this soon.

So there we have it. My on-line platform. All I need to work out now is do I expand it as far as I can, or trim it down to one node of ‘excellence’ (ha!)? Whatever I decide, I see little room for any trumpets.

Any thoughts? And what about your own ‘platfoms’?


  1. You can't do everything! How about twitter, blog and mirror your updates on your facebook page? I'd forget Linkedin - it's quite a corporate thing I think? When these three become a breeze then maybe get onto Goodreads or Tumblr?

  2. 1. Keep the blog going.
    2. I'm not a fan of using Facebook for such things, but there is no getting away from the fact that it's amazingly popular, so.. I'd suggest perhaps creating a separate Facebook page (not a profile) where you promote yourself as an author and post only writing related things there.
    3. Twitter - I know that many people don't get it, many others do, and even more abuse it. It can be very useful, but only if you find a use for it. The main issue is finding interesting people who are worth following and interacting with, or useful hash tags from where such people and topics can be found. Use the Twitter search perhaps to try and find more useful topics and see where that gets you?

    Just some thoughts.

  3. Essjay, thanks for that. I'm kind of doing the blog/facebook/twitter thing already, though twitter is the weakest. I really should make more effort there. I'm still slightly baffled by quite what Goodreads if for, but Tumblr has appeal.

    Ian, thanks. I think a blog closely tied to a website is probaly all anyone really needs for a platform.

    I'm in two minds about how to handle facebook. Right now mostly I just use it to lark around:)

  4. Best not to overthink it, Thomas. Do what comes natural on Facebook etc. but just try to ignore your Internal Editor when he (or she?) accuses you of bragging (I don't think you have it in you to brag so I shouldn't worry).

    I took a while to get the hang of Twitter but once I learned to dip in and out, not to worry what I might have missed, and stopped worrying about long spells of not saying anything myself, I started to find it pretty useful and entertaining. Especially good for accessing the collective wisdom, intelligence and experience of people you actually know when you have a question you want answering.

  5. Definitely keep blogging! Can't wait to see your new website.
    I don't quite get the whole google plus thing. And have you heard? There's this new website called pinterest that a lot of writers are participating in. I am not going there. I do twitter, blog, and facebook (but that's more to keep in touch with friends and family). I think that's enough.
    Good luck with the social networking!

  6. Dave, over-thinking is probably the best way to characterise it. Thanks for your comment. That's a wise point, in itself, that you make about twitter granting access to collective wisdom.

    Anita, thanks for that. I have heard of pinterest, and actually I know someone who practically OWNS the site, she uses it so much (anything to say, Mum?), but I haven't gone there yet myself. maybe I should.

  7. Anita beat me to Pinterest - it almost appeals if only because it sounds like Pinteresque :)

    I think the advice to keep simple, keep it strong is the best - if you spread yourself all over the place you simply can't keep up with yourself, unless, as Essjay suggests, you just copy the info as is onto the other sites - repeating yourself rather than writing new content for each site (which is exhausting!).

    I find different platforms have been better for introducing me to other people but I'm unsure if the reverse is so.

    Love your blog, love your fb page (makes me laugh many a day!), but twitter - what's all the fuss about there?

  8. Many thanks, Rachel. Pinteresque:-)

    I think, after all this advice, I'm going to just stick to one or two things I actually LIKE doing. And twitter...

  9. I keep branching out into the latest social networking thing and then getting bored. Like others, I keep coming back to my blog and the occasional Twittering. Facebook leaves me rather cold but it's obviously where a lot of the action is.

    I also automate as much as possible. Any blog posts get automatically tweeted, that sort of thing. No point typing the same thing twice (or 3, 4, 5 times).

  10. Thanks, Simon. The automated thing still eludes me. I must look into it.


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