Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Social Media PSA

Yesterday on the Huffington Post, Laura E. Kelly, a person described as a "social media author consultant and editor" suggested that Amazon's Kindle's new social media feature was going to make the lives of authors much harder. The new feature allows readers to ask questions of authors right from the book, and the question would go to the author's twitter or Amazon page.

Presumably, suggested Kelly, authors would be completely drowned and distracted by this new and, she seemed to fear, completely unnecessary method of reader-author connection.

This article really baffled me, especially since Kelly is credited as a social media author and consultant. If what I'm reading is the case and the article wasn't satire (if it was, then I guess the joke fell flat), it seems that Kelly thinks the new feature is going to really overwhelm authors, even those who are already "dutifully tending their blogs, their Facebook page(s), LinkedIn profiles and Twitter feeds."

Let me say this nice and loud:

Social media is for engaging with others!

So guess what? This new feature enables that! Kelly takes the point of view that this is going to be a real nuisance. She says the "social pressure will mount." Then the "time pressure will escalate." Then finally, your head will combust with the "inevitable irritation with your readers."

Hang on. Looks like we need a quick reminder-poo.

Social media is for engaging with others!

Kelly then notes, "The majority of authors probably won't have to deal with any of this. How many people are reading their books anyway (and then feeling moved to reach out to the author)? The writers who need to worry most, of course, are the successful ones. Authors with a following. Authors whose readers crave two-way interaction with their literary heroes. Authors who have annual deadlines for delivering books and no spare time."

Listen, if you're a super successful author with a following and deadlines and lots of other magical sparkly things, then you probably have someone working for you to handle your social media connections.

And if you don't, then maybe--just maybe--you're one of those authors who actually gets the point of social media and uses it accordingly--to connect and engage with other people. Talk with them. Share ideas. Actually reply to their tweets. Answer their emails. Engage with them.

And when things get crunchy time-wise, you scale back, just like you have to do with everything else in life.

Sheesh.

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