Can Social Media Tools Make us a Social Tool?
Social Tools can make life a lot easier. I cannot imagine trying to keep up with all the people I follow on Twitter without the aid of TweetDeck or HootSuite. This said, those tools offer some little extras that are enticing, but I am here to warn you to stay away from the shiny.
No Need for Multiple Identities on Twitter
Yes, I know TD and HS allow you to have multiple identities. Don’t go there. You need only ONE identity—the NAME that will be printed on the front of your books. If you can’t get it, be creative. Add a “writer” or “author” in front or behind. Use initials. Add a number, an underscore, or even a state designation. I am @KristenLambTX.
ONE IDENTITY, PLEASE.
Writers complain all the time they don’t have any time for social media, but then they have more personalities than Sybil running around making a mess. We only need to hear from YOU, not your book (we can’t emotionally connect to an inanimate object) and not from your characters.
Remember if we are following you, we might follow the other identities too and then we are just being buried in redundancy.
DO NOT TWEET AS A CHARACTER
Tweeting from the perspectives of characters is a gimmicky time suck that fractures our brand and attention. Additionally, anyone interested in following your characters has likely already bought and read the BOOK. This said, this activity does nothing to gain new readers, and for those of us who haven’t read the book? We have no idea what’s going on. And, once we realize you’re conversing with yourself, it seems creepy and weird.
I know there was a best-selling thriller author who I followed. He was constantly talking to someone from the CIA. This didn’t seem weird because Barry Eisler talks to REAL experts all the time on Twitter. The person this author was talking to had a blacked out picture and a bio, but it really looked like some expert from intelligence who wanted to remain anonymous. Months later, I went to buy the author’s book…only to realize I had been following and talking to his character.
I was mortified, then ticked. I unfollowed both and, needless to say, didn’t buy the book.
Multiple Identities Can Get Us In Trouble
There is no humanly way to keep up with multiple identities AND write books. Often, people who use this tactic, resort to automation. Yeah, we love talking to computers. I call Sprint daily so I don’t feel lonely.
People are on social networks to socialize. If we wanted to buy crap we don’t need, we’d be on the Home Shopping Network, not the social network.
Don’t Make Us “Friends With Benefits”
Automation and preprogramming is taking without giving. We expect others to be present and vested, whereas we are too busy to hang out on Twitter. Thus, what we are telling others is that they are Friends with Benefits. All the benefits of friendship with none of the time and emotional sacrifice.
No we don’t feel used at all.
Automation easily gets out of hand, especially when programmed using hashtags. We had an author coach with four identities (all her picture, but different variations of her name) programmed to blast #MyWANA daily, multiple times a day with slight variations of the same messages. Let’s just say, we didn’t buy her services.
We were too busy looking for digital pitchforks and torches.
Triberr is great if we use it to keep our favorite blogs in one spot. All too often, however, it’s been a major source of link spam. TrueTwit (aptly named) might keep you “safer” from spammers, but it opens anyone who clicks that link to validate they’re human to being phished and hacked.
Note: NOT that hard to unfollow and report a bot. Don’t make people jump through hoops.
Avoid the Allure of Algorithms
Yes, I know fan pages can tell you what you posted what time of day what image recieved the most shares and from where, but ignore this. Are you on Facebook or ovulating? Just talk to people. When we pay too much attention to numbers, we get into gaming behavior. We keep trying to duplicate the “magic” and there is no “magic” to be duplicated. Even if there was magic (which there isn’t), all it takes is a slight “tweaking” of the algorithm to change everything.
Just ask anyone who’s been a member of Klout more than six months.
Social Tools are great, but if we focus too hard? A Social Tool can make us a Social Tool. We spam others and automate and wait until Thursday EST just after lunch to tweet about kittens in league with satan because that seems to get us the most followers.
Ticket to CRAZY TOWN.
No Social Media Day-Trading
The WANA Way is a long-term investment. It’s the 401K filled with mutual funds. Keep adding little by little and one day, you will cash in BIG, but only after investing in people and relationships over a long period of time.
Social Tools are Social Media Day-Trading. We are locked to the numbers and gambling on this behavior or that, or adding more identities to make the numbers look good, and NONE of this will have long-term effect…unless one counts wrinkles, gray hair and a twitch in our left eye.
Use Tools to Build Community
I use HootSuite so I can engage with all kinds of people. If I used regular Twitter, there is NO WAY I could keep up or forge friendships effectively. Just because a tool offers a lot of shinies, doesn’t mean they aren’t a
bug writer zapper.
What are your thoughts? Have you had trouble with tools? What ways to you use them effectively without devolving into a bot?
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of March I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!