Pruning my social media tree

Image via Natasha Hanova WANA Commons

I am a postulant learning at the feet of the Social Media Jedi Kristen Lamb, and she has taught me the importance of using social media to help build my author platform.  From reading her blog and her excellent book We Are Not Alone I’ve gained an understanding of just how social media works and how to make it work for me.  And I’m trying.

As you can see from the sidebar, I have a Facebook author page and I check in on Twitter.  And of course, there’s this blog!

Recently I branched out into trying to navigate Google+, but right now I feel like I’m standing in a field full of crickets all chirping at maximum volume.  The only good thing I can see about it so far is that it, A) doesn’t take a lot of time, and B) it’s supposed to do something for my Klout score.  (Also that the crickets aren’t real, because if they were I’d be doing some crazy ninja-master moves and would probably end up in a nice institution where I could get some “rest.”)

Ah, Klout.  I don’t know how important it is, or even if it IS important, but I have a Klout score.  It’s pretty dismal, to tell you the truth, but I don’t sweat it.  (My score might be better if Klout would actually, you know, update occasionally; but that only seems to happen when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars.  But I digress.)

Google+ and Klout together take approximately 3 minutes of my time each day so they’re not that big a deal to me.  Facebook and Twitter are another matter. I allot one hour each morning and another each evening to those two media.   I try to update my Facebook author page at least once a day, but with the way Facebook has changed the rules only about 1% of the people who “like” my page ever see those updates.  And I rarely see updates from the pages I “like.”  It used to be fun seeing those updates and keeping up with things/people that interest me, but lately the crickets from Google+ are encroaching upon Facebook fan pages.  I’ll keep on with it, though, because some people do see the page updates.  (My personal page is another matter; that baby is hopping!)

While it’s getting quiet on the Facebook fan pages, Twitter is still going strong.  But I recently found it necessary to trim a lot of dead wood off my Twitter tree and kick some tweeps off my branch.  I enjoy Twitter when it’s social, or as Kristen put it, like a giant cocktail party.  But more and more I’ve seen my Twitter feed cluttered with chants of Buy my book!  Read my blog!  Use my editing service! Here’s a list of everyone who has followed me in the past week!  Um, no, y’all.  That’s spam as Kristen brilliantly pointed out on her blog.  And I get enough advertising shoved at me through television, radio, magazines, my Kindle for cryin’ out loud, and my email.  I don’t need it smothering my Twitter feed, too.  I like to use Twitter to get to know the people I’m following.  Of course, sometimes I get to know them a little too well.  Like last night.

People are passionate about politics.  I get that.  I’m one of those people.  But I don’t talk about it or post about it because there are those out there than just cannot control themselves when the subject is politics and I don’t care to have them rant and rave and wave torches and pitchforks and spew hate and vitriol all over my feed.   And unfortunately, a lot of that happened on Twitter last night.  From both sides.  So I started ruthlessly chopping and pruning my list of those I follow when they edged over into hystrionics, whether I agreed with them or not. It’s not like I went through with a scythe beheading all political speaking tweeps.  Not at all!  The ones who were respectful and sometimes funny I kept on the list.  Like I said, I’m interested in politics, too, but not if someone’s bashing me over the head with it.  In fact, there’s a blog listed on the sidebar here written by someone I admire an awful lot.  But she and I are complete polar opposites when it comes to politics.  I’m certain that when we go to the polls we just cancel out each others’ votes.  But I still enjoy her blog posts even when I don’t agree with them because she’s insightful, knowledgeable, often funny and usually respectful.  (And she blogs about a hell of a lot more than politics!)  Same for her tweets last night.  She and others like her are the tweeps I kept.

While I was at it, I also hit the unfollow button on everyone on my list who only tweet self-promotion.  Now, I like hearing about fellow authors’ new books and reviews and blog posts, but I also like hearing about their kids, their dogs, that weird guy with the box on his head they saw in the subway, and like I said earlier, getting to know them.  The spammers got the boot; the social tweeps stayed put.

Why was I following those other people anyway?  It’s because of a bad habit I got into of automatically following anyone on Twitter who followed me.  I don’t do that anymore, but there was still a lot of dead wood left over from when I did.  Maybe I’m committing some horrible breach of Twitter etiquette (Twitiquette?) by not reciprocating follows, but so be it.  By doing that I ended up with a lot of unpleasant people messing up my Twitter feed and now that they’re gone I don’t miss them a bit.

So now my social media is a lot more enjoyable.  And do feel free to follow me on Twitter or on my Facebook author page.  I promise not to bombard you with pleas to buy my book, read my blog or vote for my candidate or die posts.  After all, it’s social!

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