Are you tired of social media?
As an early adopter of social media, I’m now finding it increasingly difficult to decide what I should be doing with it now. In the early days, it was a fun way to communicate and keep in touch with friends and family that I have scattered around the globe. Then, as I’m a ‘wanna be’ author of note, I tried using social media as a way of letting people know that I wrote books.
However, with the sudden advent and popularity of ebooks a couple of years ago, I found myself spending more time letting people know about my books than keeping in contact with my friends. Undoubtedly driven by the hype and all the expert advice I read about using social networking as a platform for ebook promotion, I put my shoulder to the wheel and started putting in the long hours that were necessary to build a broad social media platform. The key factor in doing so, however, was ‘engagement’, which was extremely time-consuming. But I put in the hours and ended up with a decent size network.
Over the course of the last year, though, I have noticed that this fundamental element of ‘engagement’ is rapidly disappearing and being replaced by either blatant advertising and ‘in your face’ pushy marketing, or habitual posting of the inane and thoroughly boring, as users try to keep their timelines active.
On my two most used platforms, Facebook and Twitter, there is now such a banal sameness about what is being posted that I am struggling to stay enthusiastic. Facebook has become a stream of silly little images with stupid sayings, pictures of cakes and worst of all, streams of online game results.
Twitter, on the other hand, is now where I am bombarded with ‘buy this and that’ every twenty seconds. It has become so bad that when I follow a few new users, I’m guaranteed to receive a bunch of automated Direct Messages ‘welcoming’ me by telling me to buy something. Hardly what I’d call fun or engagement.
So has social media lost its way and just become a huge space where people just try to sell their wares? Or use it as an enormous public toilet wall where one can scribble any inane nonsense?
To be honest, I’m getting tired of both uses.
With engagement disappearing and automation becoming the norm, the decision that is perplexing me is how I will use social media from now on. Or should I bother continuing to use it at all?
26 thoughts on “Social Media Fatigue”
Thanks so much for this post!
I’ve been struggling with this issue myself. And then I remember that I have made a handful of deep connections. Some have inspired and fueled my creative work, and some have generated income. It’s kind of like golf for me… I may hit a slew of bad shots, but the one great putt or drive keeps me coming back.
That being said, I have significantly reduced my time online, and am making it a point to spend time connecting with people I know and love.
Being both an introvert and a skeptic, I never got involved with social media to the point of fatigue. I’m seeing a lot of articles lately, that tell me I was wise. Getting heavily involved is going to take time and energy away from what’s important, the writing, without enough benefit to make it a sensible investment. My primary socializing has been and remains blogging and being a part of the discussion on other people’s blogs. I also have a presence on Goodreads, and my participation there is much more as a reader than an author.
Growth of book sales is very slow, but I’m a niche writer, so it’s doubtful that flooding cyberspace with demands to be noticed would make much difference, even if I were the kind of person who enjoyed doing that.
That’s interesting and not the first time I’ve seen this question posed. I don’t have an answer but I do think writing my blog and engaged in the constant process of writing. It’s also been a great outlet for connecting with other writers.
You make a lot of valid points here Derek. In my own case I spend roughly 3/4 of an hour on Facebook per day, unless I am ‘chatting’ to a (real) friend. As for Twitter, apart from the tweets between your good self and me, I normally leave it alone. :)
Meant to add that Goodreads is gradually going the same way as Facebook. :)
Maybe some users are going that way, but I don’t see GR as a whole slipping in that direction. Despite the over-publicized uproar in various groups, my impression is that most members are pretty conservative (sensible) about how they use the site.
Here’s hoping you are right about Goodreads Catana. It would be a shame indeed where it to become just another Facebook.
Actually Catana, Goodreads has become one of the worst for me. Firstly because of their insane new rule that an author can only have 5,000 followers, but secondly because my ‘notifications’ of activity are now close to 90% plain old fashioned book flogging and invitations to events to buy books. It’s so bad in fact, that I’ve given up trying to find out if someone has reviewed one of my books, because it’s lost in the streams of self promotion.
I think I’ll go back to ICQ. lol
Derek, I think the problem here is that you’re using GR for self-promotion, and so are those who are loading you with notices. As I said, it’s not GR, but the way some people are using it. If you treat it like Facebook, then that’s how it’s going to appear to you. It’s supposed to be a site for reviewing and finding books, and that’s how I use it. I can’t even imagine having 5,000 “followers,” much less complaining about the limitation. I don’t mean to be critical, but you seem to be making your own contribution to the problem.
Actually Catana, I have to plead innocent with regard to Goodreads. I don’t use it at all for self promotion. I registered with the site not long after it was launched and simply approved friend requests as they came through for quite some time. So it was unsolicited. That is until I hit this silly limit. While I agree that it’s a site to find reviews and new books, I do think authors get a very raw deal. I hardly ever post except to thank readers for reviews, and the odd post if I have a free book promotion. But by restricting how many users can discover my books rather defeats the purpose.
My apologies then. I got the impression you were actively using GR for self-promotion.
No problems Catana. I’m just unusually grumpy today. :)
Join the crowd. The only thing keeping me halfway sane lately is working out ideas for a new novel.
Good post. I’ve read a few similar thoughts of late. I’m not talking about you personally, here, but in general – I think, rather than moan about it, you should learn to use it in order to get the best out of it. I agree, those stupid pictures with ‘funny’ or ‘profound’ sayings on Facebook are ghastly; so, if you don’t want to delete that person from your friends list, just hide their posts from your newsfeed. Like you, I use FB mainly as a way of keeping up with people from whom I’ve moved away; I am in a couple of groups on there which include a few people who amuse me and interest me, so this is the main part of my FB activity. I have a few authors as friends on there, but if they post their book links, I hide them. FB is not a sales tool. I do have an author page on there, but I post things of interest/that might amuse people/be good tos discuss on there, not promotion for my books.
Twitter is another matter. I know what you mean about the scheduled ‘buy my book’ tweets, the ones that don’t even try to make it sound interesting. I’m new to twitter (only about 9 months), but if it wasn’t for that site I wouldn’t sell half the books I do. Obviously my tweets interest people enough to buy my books – and I’ve met a fair few lovely and interesting people on there with whom I am regularly in touch.
I couldn’t agree more about the automated DMs saying ‘thank you for following me, please buy my book’, or those ghastly ‘events’ on Goodreads, which are yet another ‘opportunity’ to buy someone’s book. Awful. Anyone who does that sort of thing and doesn’t realise what an irritating douche it makes them look deserves to be unfollowed/defriended, whatever.
I wrote a blog post about this last month; I got so fed up with authors complaining that they weren’t getting many sales via FB. FACEBOOK IS A SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE, NOT A PROMOTIONAL TOOL!! I’d send you the link to it if it didn’t make me look as though I was trying to promote myself!
To sum up, yes, there is a lot of tedious, moronic and boring behaviour on all social sites. But you can choose how to use them; it’s up to you, really.
ps, you can find out if someone’s reviewed one of your books on Goodreads simply by looking on your page at the amount of reviews you have, or looking at the book itself…. I never read the notifications. I’ve got too many novels to write to start posting stuff in those forums – I’d rather write than write about writing…
Not so easy Terry. I have 16 books listed on Goodreads, so it’s just impossible for me to remember by keeping count on my fingers. I really have to say that Goodreads is a very, very unfriendly platform for authors. It uses authors, but gives nothing back to them at all. Especially the 5,000 follower limit. The only good news is that it’s one less social media platform I’ll bother using now.
You sound fed up, Derek. Maybe you just need to step back for a while. Things happen when you´re not looking.
I´m fond of Facebook, and of Twitter to a lesser degree. Good Reads is perhaps not so good for me, as reader or writer. Pinterest is fun but I still can´t warm to Google + and LinkedIn is a bit sterile with Xing almost Zilch. I´ve never tried to have Ks of followers and don´t follow Ks either. It seems I have some Klout, but who cares? Am selective about friend requests and following back. I don´t do games and I do very few apps. I dislike automating messages across platforms. I try out new things, but feel, there is little time for engagement when there´s writing etc to be done. So I´m small, selective and quite content with the way things are going. I´m also more interested in sharing, than selling my work, although I do try, sometimes;)
Interesting I only have this problem with facebook. I still
Enjoy twitter but unfollow or block people on a regular basis
Who just sent advertising or automated messages.
Wow! How sad all of this is as I start writing my first book!
I have always hated FB because of people just putting up news articles, those damn game results, and pure nonsense. My book reviews are posted and that’s pretty much it. I do like Twitter because I can pick what I want to read quickly and I have found some good articles from followers.
I don’t pay attention to the ones who are annoying, I delete them! I’m not hung up with the number of followers I have and can’t believe you can buy followers!
Derek, I feel bad for you and other authors who are disgusted with the social media. I certainly can understand and I’m learning from all of you every time I read The Vandal, which is terrific btw!
I hope things turn around or maybe in 10 years it will be better ( figure it will take me that long to write my book!) if not maybe I won’t go the self publishing route. It sure sounds depressing.
I don’t think it’s so sad Mary. Maybe I was having an off day when I wrote this post, but it is getting very crowded on most networks now. I think one needs to decide how to best use it. I love the interaction with friends I have made. However, as a promotional tool it is extremely time consuming and it seems that automation is now so widespread that you have to decide whether to use it or be lost in the crowd. I’m still working on that balance.
As far as self publishing sounding depressing, I don’t think it’s is any better or worse that any other form of publishing. It’s always been a battle for writers throughout history to get published and then hopefully be read. At least with self publishing you can now get to past stage one now!!
So good luck with the book look forward to reading it …. even in ten years. :)
Thanks Derek! Well drop me a friendly greeting once in a while as I hope to be considered one of the friends you love to interact with. :)
Don’t leave us Derek! You are one of the “Good” ones.
I am quite selective lately with new followers and have been regularly dumping those who just spam, or give endless “inspirational” quotes, etc. ~Anne
When I first started all this about 10 months ago, I spent hours on the computer with Twitter and Facebook. Got to the point where I was losing track of friends and not writing at all, so I took a huge step back, reviewed the situation and decided to stay on FB, Twitter and Triberr, but limit my time daily to an hour for all three. I don’t see how we can get a name for ourselves and entice people to at least try our books without social media so unless someone comes up with a brilliant alternative, I guess we’re stuck.
PS. Derek, I’m reading Louis now.
It’s a real Catch 22 Darlene and one I don’t have an answer for. But it’s impractical to be spending 24/7 on social media when there are stories to write.
And I hope you enjoy Louis!
I share your feelings on social media, Derek. I don’t do FB at all, I am on Twitter but have completely lost interest in my timeline which seems to be just one long promotional parade. I send one or two tweets every couple of days promoting my free book and it seems to be enough. It is far more important to me to get the next book out than to spend hours on promotion. I think it is better to rely on word of mouth from people who have enjoyed by books. Just my humble opinion.
The problem is so many people will convince you – whether you’re a writer, artist, musician, you name it – that you MUST facebook and you MUST tweet and that without them you can’t possibly sell a single book. trouble is at least 50% (and probably far more) of people in the self employed-let’s-advertise-on-facebook also work a a day job. then they come home, clean the house, cook dinner, take care of kids/spouse/pets/parents and THEN they try to draw/write/practice music etc and THEN they have to spend hours on social media… only so many hours in a day. The main people who have time to connect and engage tend to be people who have the free time to do it in – maybe they don’t have that day job, or maybe they don’t have those kids/spouse/family to take care of every night etc etc. but everyone else is already overloaded and then social media is force fed as the “only reliable way” to make sales so automation and fast, nugget sized quips become the norm. As for images there was a very interesting marketing study done that found that user respond much better to images than just word posts – and I’ve noticed it in my own stream. the posts that get shares, like and comments are images, however, how does posting these and engaging people to share/like/comment on – for example – a cartoon bat sell my books? A person might have 600 FB likes, but that doesn’t mean sales, and it doesn’t mean those people are even seeing your posts. I recently broke down and made a FB author page and frankly I can’t say it’s increased sales any. That’s a study I would be interested in seeing done, though, whether social media really does impact sales or not. Alas between everything else, I don’t even have time to contemplate it.
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