As an author, how much social media is enough?

I have two designated days a week to write. That’s more than most.

One of those days is Monday and like most people find, Mondays fly by quickly. I usually do the washing on that day as well, and pop off to the gym in the morning. So I don’t get to my laptop until about 11.30.

Tuesday is a better writing day as I can lose myself in my thoughts after a quick morning swim. But there’s something I really don’t like invading my writing days – social media.

I know as an author it’s a necessary evil, but it takes away from our art.

At the time of writing this blog I’ve also been busy writing guest blogs, creating social media artwork and formatting my newsletter in preparation for a new book that is about to be released. So I think it’s been hitting me harder the last few weeks. And I can already hear that little voice inside me saying “This is part of what being an author means in the twenty-first century.”

But the other thing that makes it harder is that I’m in a different time zone than most of my followers.

This blog will be scheduled to post at 1 a.m. Monday morning which corresponds to Sunday brunch time US EST. I’ve learnt this is the best time to post. Along with it will be a Photoshopped graphic to promote it on Twitter and Facebook. More time to be consumed.

I also have to set up my auto-tweets to share the link, along with scheduling other content that I think would be of value to my followers. These tweets are spread out everyday for maximum impact.

I have brief moments to relate one on one on social media, but sadly Twitter, Instagram and Facebook work on personal algorithms. If we haven’t been in touch recently we won’t see each other’s posts. I checked my Facebook friends count and found it was 575, yet I keep seeing the same twenty or so people in my feed. Instagram also seems to show me just a handful of people.

When I have insomnia, Twitter comes alive.

If I wake at three or four in the morning, then my Twitter feed has lots of interesting interactions going on. That’s when I discover certain hashtags that pertain to author questions and join in, in real time. But if a glance in the evening, then most of the people I’m following are in bed so their tweets are random.

I also see live commenting on Facebook in the middle of the night, where authors discuss topics. If I look during the day, the algorithm is less likely to show me these posts so I lose touch with those conversations.

I know this blog sounds like a bitch session. 

It kind of is and it’s kind of not. I love seeing new and interesting people follow me on any platform. I love those moments of interaction.

I think my point is, social media is not a twenty-four seven thing to me, or at least not live anyway. Those algorithms have made it less interesting. So my auto scheduling is my only connection to meet new people and contact the old. It’s social media by remote control, but it works.

So if it’s a writing day, don’t expect me to be looking at my social media feeds. If I’ve managed my time properly, I’ll be writing.

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