Sunday, June 2, 2019

Talk Less. Listen More.

Found art. Literally. I was looking at my camera uploads to choose a pic for today's post and found this. No idea what it is or how it happened, but what a gorgeous mistake. Art can be like that.

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Author behavior tips for social media.

My first reaction was to mentally groan. Not again. But I suppose it is an evergreen topic. The challenge is to tackle a topic like this as if it's my first time addressing it.

There's a #protip for you author types out there - or for anyone who answers questions from people on a regular basis. You will hear the same questions over and over and over. The trick to being a gracious human being is to never hint that you've heard the question before, but to answer it as if it's as fresh to you as it is to the person asking it.

Of course, I've already blown past my own advice, but we could argue that I'm not truly a gracious human being.

It's amazing to realize that we are firmly a decade into social media for most of us. Maybe the most startling part to me is that it's ONLY been a decade plus a few years, considering how firmly it's taken over the world and our lives. Facebook opened to anyone over the age of thirteen in 2006. I joined in October of 2008. I joined Twitter in September of 2009. I recall using email - called A1 mail - sometime around 1989, which is when our university department adopted Gateway desktop computers, delivered in those iconic heifer-spotted black and white boxes. I tried online shopping for the first time sometime around 1993, and got spammed with internet porn for the first time when I tried to use Hotspot to search for Barenaked Ladies tickets.

Good times.

So, is the question really still about author behavior? I mean, we might as well have a topic about author behavior in ice-cream parlors or at car dealerships. We're all pretty much in this boat together at this point.

My advice, which works for ice-cream parlors and all internet spaces, maybe less so at car dealerships is: Talk Less. Listen More.

The thing about social media, especially for busy people, is it becomes a place to post stuff. Most authors remain on the social media platforms they no longer enjoy entirely because they feel like it's a part of their job. We have our Facebook profile and author pages, maybe a series page, some reader groups, and private groups. There's Twitter - sometimes several accounts there - Goodreads, Instagram, our websites, personal blogs, group blogs (*waves*), and probably several others. I have a mental list - I really should have a written checklist, but I'm resisting that - of places I should remember to post news, updates, and the latest book cover.

Post. Post. Post. Post. Post. Post. Post. Post. Post. Post. Post. Post.

There. I posted to all of my social media properties. Whew!

And I just did the internet equivalent of racing around and slapping up a flyer on every bulletin board around, whether I could find a spot or not.

Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk.
Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk.
Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. 
Talk. Talk. Talk.
Talk. Talk. 

Ever feel like the internet is just an unending roar of babbling voices? I sure do.

We change that by listening. By engaging. By asking questions, considering the reply, and giving back something to encourage the conversation.

Talk Less. Listen More.