Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.


Social Media vs Social Life

If you’re relatively new to blogging or social media, you might feel uncomfortable talking about yourself or your business, especially to strangers. You might even think it’s rude. Or perhaps you think it’s more important to develop your craft and professional relationships in person rather than waste time trying to build your virtual presence. “I’m so great, the public will find me,” you tell yourself. Fabulous! Except the public won’t find you because the public doesn’t know that you exist.

Here are some typical excuses I hear from people as to why they’re not on social media (and my responses):

“I’m too old to start social networking now.”

Are you dead? No! Unfortunately, that means you’re excuse is a non-issue because You’re. Never. Too. Old.

Yes, this stuff takes time to figure out, but the more you do it, the faster you get. And the sooner you start the better.

“I network in person at events, lectures, parties and bars.”

And how much time are you spending doing that? How many new people are you meeting at each event? Don’t get me wrong. It’s great, perhaps ideal, to meet people the old fashioned way. You should be out there with real people!! But you should also be out there virtually with people you don’t know.

“But that’s just it, everyone’s on the internet so why would anyone notice me?”

What happened to “I’m so great, the public will find me”? You are great. You are unique, and you do have something to offer, whether it’s your art, your service, or your opinions on how to make the world a better place. The world needs to hear from you!

“I don’t know where to start.”

Start with the basics. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Instagram. Get an account on at least three, not necessarily all at once, within several months, not years. If you don’t want them to be personal, make them about what you do. But get on there and add everyone you know to your network. There’s also Pinterest, MySpace, GooglePlus+ and many others. But if you’re new to social networking, I would only have a few accounts to start off.

“I AM on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, but I don’t know how to use them.”

That depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to promote your business? Are you looking for work? Are you trying to build a fan base? Are you trying to get the word out about something important that will Make The World a Better Place?

You can use all these accounts to slowly build your case. Not by screaming at people all day long “Buy my product or service!” “Read my book!” “Listen to me! I’m trying to make the world a better place!!” Rather, by sharing little bits of information and gradually letting the world know who you are. Networking online is no different than networking in person. It’s all about sharing information, learning about others and finding commonalities. Remember, relationships take time on the internet just like in real life.

Also, there are seminars (usually free) on how to get the most out of almost every social media service. Do a little research and you will master it in no time. It’s not a science beyond your capabilities, and everyone has had to learn from scratch. As far as I know, no one is born knowing how to tweet or use Facebook.

Speaking for myself, I don’t have the time, energy or money to attend every event in my field at the moment. Honestly, I’d rather not talk to people. I’d much rather be writing my television pilot, editing my book, writing this blog or preparing for the play I’m directing this spring. When I’m not doing those things, I’d rather be hanging out with my dog, friends and family, or experiencing art. When I have something tangible to promote, you better believe I will be out rubbing elbows with whomever. Until then, I’m happy to pop up occasionally, and do the rest of my networking at home in my pajamas.

The point is, whatever it is you do, don’t be shy about promoting it via the matrix. As an older colleague recently told me, “There is no shame in shameless self-promotion anymore. The days of handing out flyers are over.”