Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is "Keeping up with trends and changes in social media."
I was late to the social media world. At the day job at NASA/JPL I was often an early adopter of new technology and new applications (I worked on the business side of the house, not the science and technical). I remember consciously deciding at a certain point that would be one of my career strategies there and it did lead to my being involved in a lot of interesting projects and teams. But at home, I kept the internet at bay and my daughters probably have still not forgiven me for not letting them be active in the social media of the time.
Once I joined the author world, one of the first things I was told was to start a blog, put up a Facebook page and have a twitter account. (This was in late 2011.) I did all three, discovered I loved blogging and twitter was my absolute thing and Facebook was meh for me. Over the years since I’ve maintained my love of twitter and it’s definitely my primary social media tool, even as the nature of the platform and the discourse there evolves.
I’ve gotten much more into FB because of various scifi romance and other groups I’ve joined, and the many author/blogger/reader friends I’ve made there. I also reconnected with my high school graduating class group last year and that’s been fun of a different kind.
I enjoyed blogging – I had even done a blog on business-related topics behind the NASA/JPL firewall for about a year long before I became published as a romance novelist. I still enjoy the activity and also still write for the AMAZING STORIES MAGAZINE blog, although my much beloved USA Today Happy Ever After blog where I was a contributor sadly closed down at the end of 2018. And I’m still here at SFF7!
The thing I discovered about blogging was that I had to be careful not to pour too much energy and creativity into the posts, in order to be fresh for writing my novels, which after all is what pays my rent. I do three or so posts a week on my author blog – one of which is the weekly New Releases post, one of which is a weekly snippet hop and then maybe a third post about one of my books or a fun quiz or the like.
I eventually realized at the old day job I’d stopped being an early adopter but I didn’t worry about it too much because by then I knew I was on my way out the door of that career, moving on to becoming a fulltime author and frankly I saw no need to get up to speed on the latest thing. Out here in the author world, I make an effort to try new-to-me things. Yes, I freely admit what's new for me is old hat for many others! I’m edging into Instagram and getting a feel for it, I think. I tried Pinterest but the copyright issues of using other people’s images frankly bothered me and I’ve drifted away from it. I never did Tumblr. I did Google+ half-heartedly, signed up for MeWe mostly to ensure that I had my author name (and wow, every day I STILL get 3-5 invitations from ‘guys’ wanting to be friends)…I tried doing a podcast in 2018 with two lovely ladies but found it stressful and my local internet provider’s technology didn’t support it adequately….I tried Books+Main but their requirements for posting images and ‘bites’ was a pain and the audience of readers there for scifi romance pretty much didn’t exist – the people running it are lovely and tried to be helpful but ultimately it just wasn’t a good use of my time…
Really what it boils down to for me is whether I’m going to enjoy using the new social channel or media, am I a good fit for it and vice versa and does me spending time on it help me find readers. I stay open to new things, I listen to my daughters about what they’re seeing as social media trends, I pay close attention in the various author groups and I do consciously experiment with a new social media opportunity IF it feels like something I want to do with my time.
I’m a voracious consumer of online news in a wide ranging spectrum of topics so I do see discussion of what apps are up and coming, what Gen X, Y and Z are into (GenAlpha is only about 8 years old at the oldest so we probably don't overlap much) – I stay current but I don’t prioritize sampling every single thing to come along.
I’m happy with what I’ve got in my life at the moment, social-media-wise, but open to swiping right on new opportunities!