We’ve talked about why writers should be involved in social media. But there are some pitfalls along the way that you should be aware of when venturing into the world of social media. They are centered on where you draw your energy from.
Contrary to popular opinion, being an Extrovert doesn’t mean that you’re an outgoing, life-of-the-party type person. Extroversion really means that you draw energy from outside yourself. From outside stimulation.
What the best and most abundant source of outside stimulation? Yep, it’s people. This is why Extroverts get the reputation for being outgoing, party people. Groups of people cause a lot of activity which stimulates an extrovert. It energizes them. Naturally then, an Extrovert is drawn to gatherings of people – the mall, a ball game, a party, any place where lots of people hang out.
Imagine, if you would then, what the writing life is like for an Extrovert. Writing involves sitting alone somewhere for long stretches using the mind to create on paper. All that quiet time by themselves with few external inputs drains their energy away.
This is why you find Extroverted writers writing in coffee bars or at the mall. Or they write at home with the TV on or loud music playing. They write at the kitchen table with their children playing around them. Having a lot of outside stimulation keeps them energized and compensates for the draining effect of engaging in a solitary experience like writing.
Participating in social media sites then, should be beyond easy for an Extrovert. Social media sites are social! People talk and discuss and tweet and Like and share links! Hundreds of people, sometime thousands, all talking and sharing together. It’s an Extroverted writer’s paradise of free-flowing energy.
So How’s That a Bad Thing?
While social media sites are tailor-made for an Extroverted writer, it can be easy for that writer to go overboard with them and spend all of their time interacting on Twitter or Facebook because it makes them feel so good. This can lead to little or no writing progress.
An Extrovert can tell themselves they’re “networking”, which is good for their writing career, to justify the time spent.
However… if no writing is happening, it’s not that good for their career.
What To Do If You Just Can’t Stop Tweeting
If you’re an Extroverted writer who is battling to keep a balance between getting writing done and spending time on social media sites, try these suggestions:
- Set a time limit for each site and log off when your time is up. Use a timer if needed or a program that will cut off your access to a site at a certain time like Internet Access Controller, Software Time Lock, or the Leechblock add-on for Firefox.
- Assign each site to a day of the week and only visit it on those days (and for a limited amount of time). Twitter can be Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Facebook can be Tuesday and Thursday.
- Limit the number of sites that you participate in based on the amount of upkeep needed to stay active. Booktagging sites like Goodreads or Shelfari can be checked weekly, so you can be on several of those without a huge time commitment. Facebook and Twitter do better with daily check-ins, so pick just one to use.
- Use automation between sites to avoid the temptation to log in to each one every night. Third-party applications like Ping will let you post to many social media sites all at the same time. Apps like Socialite (Mac only) will let you manage your social network accounts in one convenient place without having to log in to each one individually (and get tempted to stay).
What methods do you use to make sure your time is balanced between writing and social networking?
Next Up: How Introverts Can Overcome Social Media Avoidance