When you try and gain exposure as a writer, something very surreal can happen.
In an attempt to reach readers, you can get caught up, and tangled up in a spiraling, deep hole of Social Media. I have learned this recently, and am trying to crawl out of it. But it’s not easy.
It started when I joined a few Medium pages and groups on Facebook. I developed some new contacts, who I really enjoy. Then I did the Twitter. I went hog wild and clicked “Follow” and ended up being suspended by the Twitter Gods.
Here is that story:
So, I made a Twitter…or did a Twitter? Anyhow, I joined Twitter a couple years ago and haven’t really looked at it…medium.com
But the funny thing is, since my stint in Twitter jail, I seem to be able to follow as many people as I want. I don’t really understand the whys or the hows. I just accept it. So, once again, I went crazy, adding all sorts of like-minded writers-adding over 2000 people over the past week. (I have a bit of OCD).
Through this experiment, I have learned a few very valuable lessons.
> You DO gain followers. Many of them will read your work. Non Medium people don’t know what “claps” mean, however, and non-members cannot help you to earn money. You are getting more “reads and views” though.
> Your phone goes ballistic with people following you back. In fact, last night while on a dinner date, my partner felt my phone buzzing in my coat pocket beside him on the booth bench and said,”Who the heck is texting you? They are making your phone explode!” Yep, it was Twitter people following me back. Thank goodness I had my phone only on vibrate, as we were having dinner with one of his clients. I ignored it and caught up later.
> It becomes extremely easy to get caught up and stare at your phone ALL DAY LONG trying to return reads, see comments, check Medium, check re-tweets, look at other people’s posts, check Facebook pages for invitations to post, read and respond to messages, and so on and so on. It becomes very overwhelming.
> Writing becomes secondary if you allow it to. I have been so caught up in reaching out to readers, that I cannot find the time to write. Even as I sit and write this, my phone is continually lighting up with messages and re-tweets, and the like. I am positive that this is a good thing, but my anxious self-feels the need to stop mid-sentence……and read my phone screen.
> It’s like Pandora’s box. Suddenly I have all of these contacts, but there is no way in hell I can find time to read everyone’s work. It’s a catch 22. I feel that I need to respond and return reads, and re-tweet other people’s work. But it has become to be so much and so daunting, that I have to force myself to turn the emotional investment off and take a breather. I could LITERALLY spend my entire day reading, clicking, clapping, highlighting, reading more, responding, replying and seeking out websites that writers have created. As much as I love reading, I need to learn self-control. My laundry is calling my name, and my partner feels like I ignore him now. I need balance.
> The Layers…oh man. This is the part I have been struggling with the most. You add people, and they send you to their page. That page wants you to add a new app. The new app redirects you to like-minded writers. Those writers all have their own sites and apps. They tell you to add a new app because it’s better, but then that app is linked to another, etc. On Facebook you join groups, then people add you to their pages, then those pages link to other pages! It is exciting but by the time you have joined them, hours can easily pass. It becomes an endless world of non-communicative communication, and hours spent chasing after reads. It’s exhausting. I have spent more time over the past few days adding people, apps, websites, subscriptions and all of these other “things” just to get my writing pieces out. In the end, I am sure it will benefit me (somehow) but right now, I can’t even. It’s a crazy world, this sea of writers. I just don’t want to drown in it.
> Posting on Facebook for friends and family becomes a thing of the past. I posted a silly weather meme this morning and some of my friends and family asked where I have been lately? I simply have had zero time to reach out to the human beings I actually know and love.
> My actual job is suffering slightly. I cannot focus at work in the way I need to, in order to stay on top of my writing stuff. It’s okay. I’ll sort my priorities out, eventually.
> I am grateful that there are so many ways to expose my writing and so many like-minded people in our world. Now that I have made the decision to dive further into Medium, I am realizing so much about other writers, ways to become exposed, and how much work it is to stay on top of everyone and everything that is available to all of us. The trick is to NOT allow it to consume every hour of every day. I have never been so attached, face first, in my phone in my entire life. It’s been a crazy few weeks.
> I still don’t understand Twitter that well. I can see when my name is mentioned and I make attempts at scrolling through, what I assume, is my newsfeed. I don’t know if I Tweet properly, and when people re-tweet me, I never know if I am replying to them. I have an Instagram as well, but I avoid posting writing on there, because of the people who can read it. I also never post my articles or blogs on my own personal Facebook, because I don’t feel like I need certain people reading my thoughts. I am thankful for the other options that are available.
> This week, I am taking a step back, ignoring the “light-ups” on my phone and writing. I have 4 chapters left of the book I am working on and want to complete it this month. I also LOVE to write my articles, blogs, and poetry on Medium and need to focus on that as well. Oh, and my actual Job needs my attention this week too.
It’s very easy to get caught up in spreading yourself all over Social Media. It’s is also extremely easy to get caught up, and spiral into the depths of the back hole, and not have time to do the thing that you WANT to share in the black hole.
I have found that, as much as I want to splatter my name all over the internet and become a respected, known writer, it takes a LOT of work, patience and so much time. I need to continue on, at a much slower pace, and take the time to appreciate what other writers are sharing. I need to absorb my own thoughts and practice.
And I need to figure out what the hell a TwitWit is.
Here is my Twitter: Feel free to follow me, but please don’t be offended if you tweet me, or retweet, or whatever else you do on Twitter. I may be busy with my job, or writing. Or, I may be shoulder deep in the laundry or entertaining my partner.