Some days, social networking is the coolest invention ever--being able to connect with people around the world that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. And then there are other days in which I want to pull out all of my hair and pop a cap in my laptop (that's my Utah hood coming out of me).
Seriously! Who can keep up with all of this? Things change and progress everyday. Thus is the world we live in--continually growing and improving.
All I know is that I'm feeling overwhelmed and buried by a need to do EVERYTHING just in case I'm missing out somewhere. I have become a virtual Peeping Tom/Stalker checking all my sites every few minutes (no joke). I want to know what everyone is up to. I have a facebook account, a facebook author page, twitter, linkedin, goodreads, and now I have joined Triberr, where they speak of bones and bonfires and tribes (I'm still trying to figure out the ins and outs of that one). I also have google+ account, but I hardly use it.
But that's it. I refuse to join any more. I can't. I won't. I'm tapped out *throws hands in the air in defeat*. I can hardly keep up with what I am doing, and I have to hope that it will be enough.
Also, I have no idea if it is even working. I spend a lot of time tweeting, blogging, and posting and I have no idea if I'm simply just wasting my time or whether I'm actually making a difference in my little piece of the writing world.
Everyone seems to say that it's pretty friggin' important for an author to have an online presence. But if we're all building these platforms, all attempting to do the same thing, then isn't it counterproductive? We're all trying to be "special" and in the end I think we're all ending up...not. There is so much white noise out there on all these sites that in some respects it has become a broken system.
How many times have you looked at your twitter account and found post after post of, "Check out my book" or "Read this review", etc... My whole stream is full of these postings. Facebook is much the same. And for the most part, I tend to ignore them. It takes something standing out, being different and glittery, to catch my eye. But it's rare for that to happen.
But what else are we supposed to do? We need some way in which to connect with potential readers and if we don't have a facebook account or tweet every hour on the hour, then how is anyone going to know we even exist? (I want to exist! That's all I have ever wanted! Just let me exist).
And there you have it, folks. The catch-22.
We need social media sites to build a platform, because for the majority of us it's all we have in which to promote our work. Most of us don't have pockets lined with cash to place expensive ads on hot air balloons or purchase a 30 second ad during the Superbowl or hire a monkey to sell our books for us (click here for more on that). We have to work within our limitations and with what is available to us.
Even if what is available to us is kind of broken and rather annoying.What other options do we have?
For me, I will continue to blog and facebook and twitter because: #1 I love it and #2 I still think having a platform of some kind is a good thing, even if it isn't the best thing.
So what do you think? How important is a platform for an author? Is it a big ol' waste of time? And more importantly, do you think it is a failed system or does it have some benefit?