Social networking: an author’s best friend or evil distraction?

Wikis, writing forums, weblogs, microblogs, Facebook, Reddit, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace…the list of social networking platforms is endless.

As a self-confessed luddite, I have enough difficulty understanding what these things are let alone having a presence across all of  them. But everywhere I turn there is an agent, publisher or professional author reaffirming that it is a “necessity” for writers. Only the other day, an author was telling me (via a social media site no less) that a clause in her book contract stipulated she had Facebook, Twitter and weblog accounts.

Even though I have an author page on Facebook, I hate wading through some of the tripe that people regurgitate. Does anyone really care that their friend took a photo of their breakfast, found a video of a cute animal or rounded up twenty sheep on FarmVille?

And as for Twitter…
Even if I had a mobile phone (did I mention I was a luddite?), I’m not sure I could stomach microblogging. I have little interest in joining the denizens of Twitter-land who seem to deny the existence of punctuation, complete sentences and sometimes even real words. LOL  ; )

Oh, I long for the days when a semi-colon was a punctuation mark for linking clauses, rather than a pair of evil eyes winking at me.

As arrogant as it sounds, I blog because I’m proud of my publications and want people to read my stories. But at the same time, every time I post about my writing it feels like I’m standing on a roof top and shouting to the world ‘look at me, look at me’.

Especially in the wake of the recent cyber bullying of TV personality, Charlotte Dawson, I do worry about having a presence online. In real life, I live in a secluded valley in an undisclosed location emerging for sunshine as frequently as a sparkling vampire, but online I am everywhere for everyone and anyone to see and scrutinise.

I can see the benefit of spreading the word of publications as wide as possible, but some research suggests social media doesn’t equate to sales. I also don’t understand how people can contribute to all these social media outlets on a regular basis and still find time for their works in progress. I’ve found some articles that suggest if you use social media as much as the “experts” suggest you’d have almost no time to write.

So what are your thoughts: a necessity or distraction?

Either way, I guess I’ll continue to write pointless babble and pimp my stories.

So that was my pointless babble for the day and here is the pimping bit.
My flash fiction ‘Third time’s a charm’ is currently online at Daily Science Fiction ; )

P.S. I almost forgot the pictures of adorable animals. Well, here’s something for the 38 million people who “like” FarmVille.



  1. echidnaspov said,

    September 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Luddites rejoice!

    As an independant film-maker I face the same dilemma. Blog or shoot. There often isn’t enough time in the day for both.

    However, I can see the benefit in getting your work out there. Blogging is often the only cheap way of self marketing. There is a problem though: how do you cut through all the guff about cute animals and get your blog read by your desired audience?

    • Melanie Rees said,

      September 19, 2012 at 8:49 am

      Good question. That is certainly something I’m struggling with. Perhaps the answer is to post cuter animals than everyone else 🙂
      And smile and wink a lot ; )

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