How Much Is Too Much?

With social media these days authors can easily make themselves visible to the public in ways never dreamed of in the past. As fans we can seek out our favourite authors, follow them on twitter, read their blogs, visit their websites, friend them on facebook.

But is there a point where an author can make themselves too visible?

Recently a friend of mine commented that she was so tired of seeing a particular author on facebook that she considered hiding her from her news feeds. Don’t ask me why but her statement sent me into a giggling fit, maybe because I’ve often wondered the same thing about myself. Do people get tired of seeing my updates on facebook? Do they cringe when they see that little gavatar of mine pop up into their line of vision? When I publish a new blog post on facebook do they moan and groan, and want to stick their head in a sock? Do they hide me from their news feeds? Or do they simply ignore me and go happily on their way ‘cause let’s face it I’m just not all that fascinating? ;)

As with anything in life we have to find a balance. Deciding what that balance will be isn’t as easy as it might sound. Finding the perfect balance, the one that will make everyone happy is impossible. Just as we cannot satisfy all the readers of our books, neither can we all agree on how much social networking is enough.

The interesting thing about my friend’s comment the other evening was, although we are mutual friends of this same author, this author’s presence on facebook and twitter has never annoyed me. I enjoy seeing what this particular author is up to. So there you go. A perfect example.. I did say perfect, didn’t I?

What I take notice of more often are those people whom we never hear boo from until they have a book about to be released then they’re all over the place promoting and wanting us to support their work. I come from a small Nova Scotia community where we like to support people we know. I’m more willing to spend my money buying books from author’s whom I feel I know. Getting to *know* an author through social media takes time, and a certain amount of interaction on the author’s part. Putting posts and updates out there and then disappearing might not be enough. What I do know is that getting to know an author through social networking has certainly prompted me to buy books in the past so I guess it works. Most of us like to support those we know and like.

Perhaps I’m more of a social butterfly, but I do like interacting with my facebook friends. And nothing tickles me down to my toes more than getting to know people through facebook, twitter, and my blog. I’ve met some pretty nice folks these past few years. Now, I know all this social interacting is time consuming, and we can’t spend all of our waking hours getting to know people. Well, we easily could, but other important areas of our lives would certainly suffer like our family, our jobs, our writing life. And let’s not forget, in order to call ourselves writers we do actually have to write. In a perfect world we could stretch a day out for a long as we needed to get everything done, but we already agreed that perfection is a very subjective thing.

So I’m wondering how the rest of your feel.

Do you have people on your facebook and twitter who make themselves too visible? Or do you think it’s every author’s right to promote their books in whatever way they see fit and the rest of us need to accept it and get on with it? And have you found a balance when it comes to your own social networking time?

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20 Comments

  1. I admit, I’ve hidden posts by some individuals because they post too often about things I don’t want to hear about. I’ve also hidden a few posts because they often posted videos which take forever to download with dial-up.

    I do think it’s possible to be too visible just as much as it’s possible to be too invisible. Finding a balance is difficult.

    But every author has the right to be as visible or as invisible as they choose. The buying public will decide for themselves what is too much. I think Tim Horton ads are too much, on everytime you turn on the radio, but I bet Tims doesn’t see it that way.

    Personally, I haven’t reached my limit with social media, probably never will. I don’t use it — except for blogging — and use Facebook only for family stuff.

    I agree with you regarding supporting folks you know. Unknown authors who come out of nowhere and want us to buy their books and then disappear after their selling spree is over don’t do much for me. I like to be able to visit their website to see updates on what they’re working on, hear about them when they’re not trying to sell you a book and know some general information about them.

    Reply
    • I often hide those posts that show different applications on facebook that just clutter up my news feed. I guess it’s up to each author to determine where the balance is for them. We obviously can’t decide for the public how much they want to see us. In turn we all have our limits and what we consider too much or too little. It is such a personal thing. I try not to post too often and don’t always post my blog updates on facebook because I feel as though it will be too much. Also many of my *real* friends aren’t necessarily interested in posts I do about writing unless it’s to update them on some publication news.

      Reply
  2. I don’t post updates that often on. What makes me nuts are authors constantly updating & listing their book links. In my opinion – that’s spam, so they go on my “hide all posts by so & so”. Networked blogs is different – actually it’s rather convenient. As for balance – I only follow a handful of blogs, post on my own site when I have time or something to say, & usually ignore FB. When I have spare time – & this is taking into account quality time spent with my better half – I write. That’s an effort toward balance. What happens with promotion happens – besides, I’m not sure there’s much interest (nor should there be) in cyberworld about my current location, what I’m doing or thinking. (And if I did post that kind of stuff – I’d never have any readers.) Okay – now this is where I throw in book blurbs, & add the links to your page …..

    BTW – Update: Drinking coffee – reading Laura Best’s blog post, getting ready to drive to Sebastion Inlet (beautiful place – great surf) & I’m still wearing my Big Dog jammie bottoms while typing this here reply. I might even shave this morning. Now – wasn’t that dull? Didja’ll REALLY care?

    Reply
    • I don’t know, Dave,,Finding out that you were wearing your Big Dog jammie bottoms sounds awfully exciting to me..I guess that speaks volumes about my own life….. Finding what that balance is is definitely an individual thing, and something that will change from time to time as we decided how much time we can allot for all of it.

      Reply
  3. I”m giggling. I post a lot about my blog and my books. Is it too much? I don’t know. But I’m in agreement with you, Laura. I like hearing what other writers are doing. And then there are my friends, my kids, and my kids’ friends. I like to know how everyone’s doing. Oh, and I especially love the photographs.

    Reply
    • I don’t see you posting an ungodly amount on facebook, Joylene. Of course I’m not on through the day now that I’m back to work. Maybe we’re just self-conscious about it. Like you, I’m interested in what other writers are doing..

      Reply
  4. I have hidden people who either post too much or are using social media to create too much personal drama.

    Reply
    • Guilty of hiding the drama for sure. I hate it when people use facebook as their personal soapbox or to trash others. It seems so wrong…Thanks for dropping by my blog, Cindy. It’s always nice meeting a fellow Canadian.. :)

      Reply
  5. Personally, I find it encouraging that a “real” writer has the same things going on in a day’s time that I do, yet they make the time to write. It helps me find balance…and I’m still searching for that…

    Reply
    • Hmmm…*real* writer…You’d be one of those too if I’m not mistaken, Patti… One thing I’ve found, despite all the writers I’ve met on my journey, is that no matter how well they’re known or how successful they are, we are all the same underneath it all. We all have ups and downs, we all need to clean the dirty dishes and as my oldest daughter likes to remind me, “Everyone poops, Mum, Everyone poops.” LOL! I’m so glad to have you as a facebook friend, Patti! :)

      Reply
  6. The nice thing about social media is that you have a choice on whether you want to interact with someone or not. While I like having my friends at my fingertips, I also like being able to disappear when I’ve had enough. If you’re at a party and someone won’t leave alone, you’re not so lucky!

    In terms of writing, you can’t ask for a better outlet to promote your work. Every time a link shows up on facebook or twitter, that’s one more click that might happen on my blog. :-)

    Reply
    • There are times when we all need a break from social media. as it just gets to be too much. It’s great to have that option for sure. Although I enjoy my blog and facebook is usually a lot of fun, I’m hardly ever on twitter.. In fact, often times I forget I’m on twitter.

      Reply
  7. I’ve slowly crept into cyberspace one step at a time, so it surprises the heck out of me to realize I now have a blog, plus Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and I’m contemplating Google+, even though I’ve yet to publish a novel. Since I don’t have a need to market anything, the ‘Follower/Friend’ numbers don’t matter. Instead, I like developing the relationships. There are a couple people in my FB newsfeed whose posts often don’t interest me but it’s easy to skim past them. I’ve only “unfriended” one tweep because I found the too-frequent tweets were always self-promoting, and it got tiresome. I rarely click on blog posts that are listed in FB because the people whose posts I regularly want to read are already on my list in Google Reader. My problem is the growing number of really nice people with informative and well-done blogs that I’m interested in!

    I think some of us are more social than others, but as C.B. mentions, social media allows us the freedom of participating or not, with whoever we choose, and on our own schedules.

    Reply
    • I’ve been sent an invitation for Google + but to be truthful I haven’t even had time to check it out. It seems a bit complicated (as with all things new) and I’m not sure I have the patience or the time to start with something like that from scratch. Perhaps when I get a bit more time to look it over.

      I’ve also unfriended people from twitter who were constantly tweeting, which is bad, since I’m hardly ever on there. So there definitely is such a thing as being too visible. Maybe other people are more forgiving.

      Although social media allows us the the freedom to choose, there are those who find it nearly impossible to stay away from it. I’ve known people who disabled their facebook account for that very reason, but still couldn’t stop themselves from going back and peeking to see what everyone was up to….lol! For some, it’s like a bug, one that gets under their skin and they can’t get away from.

      Reply
  8. I’m creeping into using social media more as well. I am on Facebook, but more to interact with friends. The majority are not writers, so they would get irritated with my constant writer musings.

    I have just dived in at Twitter and find myself using that more for writer connections, so I don’t feel bad tweeting about new blog posts there. I’ll RT articles/posts I like and then send out a link about something I’ve done maybe twice a day (morning and night).

    I see some RTing their own posts a lot more (like all day) and that gets irritating. I’ve also seen some RTing everything they see, which becomes a glut of trash because you don’t know if they really like it and are endorsing or just pushing their face out there.

    I’ve joined G+ and it sounds good with being able to send info to people by Circle, but I haven’t taken the time to link to a lot of people over there.

    Reply
    • Although I’m not on twitter very often, I agree with you Barbara, in that I won’t mind tweeting my blog post there, even though I don’t always show my blog posts on Facebook. For me, facebook feels more personal than twitter. I suppose it’s because there are so many following who don’t know us at all.

      Reply
  9. Funny you should post this because I sometimes wonder if my blog post updates are annoying to my FB friends who don’t blog. I enjoy seeing theirs pop up though.

    Reply
    • Even though I realize that people can ignore our postings on facebook I try not to show all my blog posts. I’m sure my non-writing friends would get the impression that I do nothing except blog all day long..lol!

      Reply
  10. Author

     /  August 13, 2011

    I think the best part is we have a choice when it comes to social networking. If you no longer want to hear someone blab on and on, you can quietly visit other websites. Much harder to do this in person!

    And you’re probably like me: sometimes it’s pretty quiet living in the country, and it’s nice to have access to such a variety of wonderful people right at your fingertips, any time of the day. I know I would’ve loved having Facebook and the like when I was younger, and twiddling my thumbs in the summer, anxious to get back to school. It’s just so lovely to keep in touch and hear so many great stories.

    I say, bring it on! :)

    Miss Julie

    Reply
  1. How much social media is too much? | Joe Perez - Blogging Awareness

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