Bad behavior isn’t reserved to toddlers: How to handle yourself in social media.

Sticks and Stones with Amy2I’m sure you have all seen those horror stories about authors, artists, or whomever acting absolutely terribly in response to someone who didn’t quite care for that artist or artist’s work very much.

Many of us have laughed and joked saying WE WOULD NEVER behave that way. Fate has a very funny way of testing our resolve in ways we never really expected, however. And it’s not just revolving around bad reviews. It’s how you present yourself, and essentially, your work, every time you get on a social media platform.

We will leave the whole “bad review” thing for a different blog post. For now, I want to talk about things like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pintrest, Google+, and the like. But what could possibly go wrong on there? You may be asking yourself. Let me tell ya!

I’d like to start off with an example. And this I really DID see. My jaw dropped and I was so thankful I wasn’t a friend of this person. Obsessorella (names have been hidden to protect the innocent) made a post in one of the groups I’m in. I’m not going to quote it verbatim, I just want to give you the gist of it.

Basically, Obsessorella let everyone know that if they were a “friend” of hers that she pretty much demanded they read, review, and promote her book. If they didn’t, she would delete them. There, she said, were other platforms for people to get to know a person better and if they didn’t love her work as much as she did, then Obsessorella did NOT want them anywhere near her precious Facebook page.

WOW. For starters, I’m pretty sure Facebook is one of the BEST places to get to know someone. And the post I read from her told me quite a bit about her. One, that I could NEVER be her friend. And two, I will never read her work. And it’s not just because I didn’t think I would like her work. Heck, I may even LOVE it. But I will never take the chance. For starters, that is a pretty lofty demand. How can any author demand everyone they know to adore their manuscript as much as they do? You can’t possibly expect that, can you? NO. YOU. CAN’T.

I write a lot of kinda disturbing stories. Guess what? My mom doesn’t like that type of stuff. My sister doesn’t like that stuff. Does that mean I bar them from Facebook because they don’t love my one-armed massacre? How about my murder/suicide in space? My woman trapped in a vault during a zombie apocalypse? (Well I was hoping to catch them with at least one of those, but alas…) But still… UM, NO. They aren’t going to read it, but they will support me in other ways even if they can’t tell anyone what the book is about.

So this leads me into my next part. If she is only wanting people who devote their lives to the promotion of her book, does that mean the ONLY thing she is going to put up there is about her book(s)? Sorry, Obsessorella, but I don’t think I want to be spammed, and neither do the people who may actually like your stuff. Sure, they like the book, they may love it and sleep with it under their pillow, but people who are following authors on Facebook aren’t just doing so to see random quotes put up from a book they have already read. They are hoping for new information, glimpses into the lives of authors they admire.

So should you interact with your followers on all the social platforms? To me, I think it’s pretty simple. BE YOURSELF. You wrote the book. You got the followers. You did something fantastic. Now let your followers see the real you, not just your book cover and the characters inside. Those are great things to have on your site, your Twitter, your Pintrest – but that isn’t the entire package. You complete the package.

Have a book that you read and loved? Share it with people. Met a cool celebrity while at a convention? Post that pic! Tell about the experience. A funny thing happen on the way to the forum (excuse my nerdiness…)? Make that your next status. And the great thing about all of this? It gives the people something to look forward to. They don’t know what you are going to put up next. They will want to search your site to see what’s there, instead of them glimpsing through and knowing that every day there is only going to be a link to a review for your book, what blog it’s on, yet another reminder that they can buy and review your book at any time at these retailers.

Another great thing to do. Share and share and share. Help, support, promote. Not just your work, but others. We are all playing the same game, trying to get the word out about the baby we love: our book, our services, our poetry, our music, our art… Give and give, and you may see that what you give will come back to you. Call it karma, call it kindness, call it whatever you want, but it happens.

So, please, when you step out onto that platform, remember… people are watching you. People are waiting for you to make their day a little better. People want you to make them smile, think or look at something differently. Be positive. Be happy. Be thought-provoking. Be helpful. Be kind. Be you.

Amy Eye is a regular contributor to Dandilyon Fluff and a professional editor, book designer and formatter for several publishing houses and for her own editing business, The Eyes for Editing.  Visit her regular column here, Sticks & Stones.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher, and author with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She co-publishes Space and Time magazine with author husband Ryan Aussie Smith. For more information visit SpaceandTime.net
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2 Responses to Bad behavior isn’t reserved to toddlers: How to handle yourself in social media.

  1. Your posts are like mini writing classes… I love your perspective and the easy and fun way you bring what you’re teaching home. Can’t wait ’til next Wednesday!

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