Social Media Ennui

I have a confession to make.  I’m suffering from some serious ennui about social media, publishing, reading blogs…

Why the blah?

Someone said in a recent post (I think it was Bob Mayer, though I couldn’t find the particular post) that there’s a really high turnover in self publishing.  A huge chunk of the people who are doing this today will not be doing it in a year or two.  And to a large extent that’s true.  I’ve been at this for two years (longer if you count the platform building) and the people who were around then are not the same ones around now.  A lot of the people I talked to back then are not the people I talk to now.

Self publishing has exploded and it seems as if every Tom, Dick, and Harry has jumped on the band wagon.  Know what that means?  It means that they’re all blogging about self publishing and writing and saying the exact same things that we all said 2 years ago.  Except in exponential quantity because there are so many more of them.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Many of the Twitter hashtags that I follow have become glutted with promo, self-congratulatory back patting (above and beyond the “I made my word count goal for the day”), and RTs of ludicrously obvious articles like one I kept seeing bandied about the last week about how you should publish with Kindle or you’re missing out on a huge segment of the market.  Seriously?  You think that’s not obvious?  You think there’s ANYBODY out there doing self publishing who’s not publishing at Amazon?  And all you people RTing the article, you honestly think that’s quality content?  And you can’t be bothered to change the hashtag, so I get the same bloody article FIFTEEN TIMES in my stream?

Last year when I ditched my feed reader, I began relying on Twitter to tell me what was awesome to read.  Well that’s backfired.  Frankly, I haven’t seen a truly interesting blog post in more than a month.  I haven’t had many great conversations either.  Whereas I used to hang out on Twitter all the time for my writer fix, I find myself retreating to my circle of GoogleTalk buddies who aren’t busy trying to sell me something.

I’ve actually unsubscribed from a lot of the so-called “expert” blogs I followed religiously for years–because it seems like they’ve all run out of new stuff to say and are on repeat or permanent guest blogger replacement.

I’ve had a myriad of auto DMs from people who make me want to immediately unfollow because they say “Connect with me on Facebook” or “Like this blah de blah” or “Check out my website/book/other thing” instead of trying to start an actual conversation.

I’ve had half a dozen random emails from apparently professional freelance guest bloggers offering to guest blog on my site and write about anything that I want–who are obviously not actually writers or part of the publishing industry and have spent no time actually looking at the content of my blog to see that I don’t allow people who are not writers or part of the publishing industry to guest blog.

I’ve had weird contacts on Facebook and Goodreads from people who have “friended” me who think that then gives them license to whap me over the head with offers for free books or “check out this thing” or otherwise try to start a conversation as if we’ve been bestest friends forever when really we’re total strangers who have never shared a scrap of conversation.

I’ve seen scores of people off on a crusade to brand their blog–who are totally missing the point, as all they’re managing to do is create dozens of homogenized sites, following the exact same formula, including posting schedules with cheesy ass names, and offering no particularly good content, nothing to actually inform or engage with, and sure as HELL not paying no attention to all the things you ought to do to make your site easy to use and appealing (Hello?  If you have books, make them easy to find, and for God’s sake have an email subscription option–you Blogger blogs are some of the worst offenders for lacking this feature.).  And they’re all buddies, so they’re all RTing the same content all over the place with the same hashtags and running the rest of us who have a clue off to saner waters. Thank God for places like The Bookshelf Muse who always offer cool and interesting content.

Hand I'm bored

Image via Wikipedia

I’m bored, y’all.

I’ve had this gradually building state of BLAH over the last few months and I don’t quite know what to do about it.  Yesterday I trolled around and tried out a bunch of different writer hashtags.  It was all more of the same.  I’ve got a very distinct sense of Been There, Done That, and I’m about ready to just pull out and go write my damn book.  Which, you know, I should be doing anyway, social media aside. I won’t actually go away.  I’ve worked too hard to build my platform to let it founder, but there’s a definite desire to cut back.

I will no doubt manage to offend some people with this post.  There will be others who applaud me for speaking my mind.  Them’s the breaks.  I know there are many in the latter camp, as we’ve all been talking about the same thing for the last few weeks.  I just felt like putting this out there into the void.

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66 comments

  1. You are not new at this anymore so I’m thinking your expectations have to change. Hopefully you get some good comments on this post and something will be helpful. Although you made a lot of good points above I think the best is that it’s time to write more. If you are not spending a good part of your day looking for the next helpful post than you can spend more time immersed in your writing, a very good thing!! In the least you got the ugly off your chest and now hopefully you can let it go.

  2. Exactly. Most of the people who won’t be around in a year or two are the ones who thought all they had to do was hit the social networks and they’d be making a fortune in no time. Most of those probably had more interest in making money than in writing. And a few who might have become good writers will drop out from sheer discouragement.

    I’ve avoided most social networking, and I find myself reading less and less “advice” and “how I did it” posts and articles. I try very hard not to write anything unless I can offer a new perspective, even if it’s a bit off the wall and unlikely to resonate with more than a few readers. Mostly, I just keep working on my novels and stories.

  3. I get bored easily, but I’ve tried to involve myself in promotions and things like that to offset that. I agree that there’s a lot of info out there that sounds the same. But there are some fun blogs to read if you can just find them. And some of the blogs that most people find interesting, I don’t. I keep wondering if something is wrong with me when I don’t get excited about some of these topics. Of course, most people probably couldn’t care less about the awesomely hot waiter I blogged about yesterday. LOL

  4. I feel exactly the same way, and I’ve only been online since January! One good thing about this is, as you say, less time spent on social media means more time for writing. I still want to go online and meet new people, but I’m devoting more of my energy now to finding potential readers, rather than other writer buddies, who I tend to find anyway without even trying.

    Maybe that’s the answer? Just back off altogether and chat to people we are interested in talking to. Who knows?

  5. I haven’t been at this nearly as long as you and I’m already rolling my eyes at all the repetition I’m seeing especially with blogs. I need to work on the social media stuff. There has to be a happy medium :)

    Good luck Kait.

  6. Well, first off, thanks so much for being honest. This is something that we don’t always see a lot of, and so it’s a diamond when you come across someone willing to speak their mind. And second, you are so sweet for mentioning The Bookshelf Muse! It can be a lot of effort to keep all the balls in the air with that blog, so it really means a lot when someone tells us that they enjoy reading it. :)

    I am finding twitter becoming harder to follow because of promotional stuff–the blog tours, the sneak peaks, the buzz created for releases. There is just SO much of it. I’m not going to fault anyone though, because I’m not in their boat–I don’t have a product to sell. It does make me worry a bit for when our Emotion Thesaurus book is ready for sale, because I certainly don’t want to add to the noise effect, yet I want to do right by my book and by those who supported us and asked for us to create it. This will be a huge challenge.

    With blogging, writers are all at different levels. I am still learning and growing, and know that to some my posts that are not Thesaurus related might not offer any huge epiphanies, but to others they offer value, so that’s okay. I try to find topics that do not get as much attention, or create a slant on ones that do, so hopefully that helps. To me, the key to posting about anything is knowing the audience, understanding what they need and then blogging to fill a need & offer value. This goes for writing or anything else. And I do believe that everyone has something valuable to say no matter where they are on the writing path, provided they have passion for the topic.

    With Promotion and even Social Networking topics, I think there’s a bigger danger of saying the same thing over and over. That’s where creativity needs to come into it–new ideas never end up as noise, and open the door to something else entirely. :) I would love to see more of this. :)

    I say take a break from Twitter or reading blogs, and think about what you need most. Because if you need it, other people need it too. Maybe it’s just to refocus on something else, or maybe these thoughts on how social media is spinning its wheels in so many areas will lead you to some great ideas on how to evolve the system. When something isn’t there, someone has to create it!

    Have a great week, Kait!

    Angela

  7. Hi Kait,

    I understand what your saying and it’s all true. But we all make our choices. I do not let anyone but friends and family on my facebook. With Twitter it’s different, I see that as a way of communicating with the out-side world. It doesn’t matter if they’re writers, politicians, entertainers or what ever, everyone has a view point. I believe in social justice and my twitter views are usually a statement, although once in a while I will drop a line about my book. The problem that self-publishers have is marketing our product (book). Marketing is very expensive and if we don’t sell a lot of books, most of us don’t have the funds to advertise. After all these years my website and blog is finally under construction, still pondering the idea’s of what that will entail. For sure I will not send people details of current TV shows, too time consuming and everyone has different taste. This will be interesting. I have to comment on your website, I love it.

  8. I can understand and empathize. The blog stuff is natural – many of the blogs we follow as newbies – well, they can only serve us so long as we mature on the path. It doesn’t mean those blogs still don’t serve a purpose for newbies – there will always be people new who need to learn.

    The challenge is to find new mentors as we progress. Unfortunately I think in writing – those who are really successful – no longer have the time and/or feel the need to blog/communicate externally as much.

    And for Twitter – it really has evolved away from a conversation tool to really just a link broadcast tool. It’s the feed reader for the average person. And because of the volume of content – you kind of just have to keep republishing the links to increase odds it will get clicks (there’s hard data from bit.ly – the most common link shortener service that shows a link only lives about an hour on Twitter). I think it will get better as we get better clients to help filter the data but right now I make heavy use of lists.

    Mark

  9. Thank god someone said it. When I first came online all I really wanted was to find information to improve my writing, research the industry, etc. I didn’t blog. I wasn’t on Twitter. I had 9 friends on FB and they were all family. And I never checked it. Well, once a week.

    Here was all this new content, new like I was, not necessarily new to others. I love to share info so picking up Twitter seemed like a good fit. Read, tweet, all good. Sites I read religiously six months ago are mostly on auto-tweet now. I still like to share but I already how the story ends.

    Ones I barely visited, like yours, are my favorite reads. Why? Because there are a hundred blogs out there all giving the same writing advice in a chaotic unending whirlwind. Your site, Kait, the content, is always new and fresh. It’s real.

    I was talking to Kerry before Round 4 of ROW80 and we both realized that we had made it through the previous round without really writing any fiction. Are we writers if all we do is read and pat each other on the back? There is a local writers group where I live that does that, the only difference is that they smell like ben-gay and try to sell me chap books.

    Deep things to consider. I think you are a guiding light, Kait.

    Enjoy your afternoon tea. You’ve earned every drop of it today.

  10. Bored isn’t the word for me, but I am down on blogging lately. Burned-out I think is a more apt term for how I feel. I’m not getting enough writing done, and blogging just doesn’t mean that much. It also just takes too much time.

    When I real conversation does occur – it’s great, as you point out, but they are few and far between these days.

  11. It sounds like a lot of the things you’re describing are beginning blogger mistakes. As a beginning blogger, I’m sure I’ve made them. (I still haven’t quite figured out Twitter and hashtags.) There are definitely blogs with repetitive, boring content, but I find enough blogs with interesting, exciting perspectives that it doesn’t get me down, and I sort of hope that people whose content strikes me as repetitive will get it out of their system and start being more authentic. (Or maybe just dropping by the wayside, as you describe.)

    Then again, I’ve only been here since the summer. So talk to me again in one and a half years.

  12. As others have said, lots to think about here.

    I don’t blog about creative writing, because I am new; I would end up recreating my lessons from freshman English, and I so do not want to do that. I blog (barely) about things I find interesting that I’ve studied or researched for stuff I have written or am writing, and figure that I’m not wasting much server space if no one wants to read the posts.

    I split my twitter stream so that my friends (and I think I am becoming close acquaintances with some of the people I’ve met online) and the “read my book, review my book, buy my book” streams are not intertwined.

    I winced when I read about talking to people out of the blue on Goodreads or Twitter; I’m rather extroverted, and may well be guilty of that. I apologize if I have done that to you or anyone else–but I would like to know how to start a conversation with someone one knows only by reputation.

    There is a lot of recycling going on out there, and most people doing it are not bothering to find their readers and target it, but are loading it all in the 50-inch gun on the battleship.

    Enjoy the tea.

    1. Well there’s a big difference between striking up a conversation where you are obviously trying to get to know people. I’m totally cool with that. It’s the people who start off with a sense of false intimacy that really rankle. I think a lot of people don’t realize that the same sort of social rules that apply in person apply on social media as well. Be polite, be interested, try to find common ground.

      1. LOL, glad you clarified that. I was just going to comment that some of my favorite ‘meets’ via Twitter or my blog were people that just struck up conversation out of nowhere. Generally, I skip the promotional stuff, but I get tired of seeing it too. I had to quit doing the #teasertuesday thing because it suddenly became spammed with the same few who were getting RT’d by seemingly hundreds of friends and it wasn’t fun anymore after that.

    2. And the Facebook and Goodreads people I’m sort of weirded out by are the ones who are popping up “Hey, how are you?” I’m sorry, who are you? Did you want to talk about books or writing, cause I could do something with that. This…this reeks of telemarketer trying to pretend friendly…

      1. Kait, that makes me feel a lot better, since I usually lead with how much I loved someone’s book. I haven’t gotten too many of the fake-friendly ones, but yeah, I feel you on those interactions.

        And yes, Lauralynn, I’ve had some creepy blog comments (yikes!)

  13. I’ve mentioned before that I read *tons* of blog posts. Seriously, it’s not unusual for me to have a hundred tabs open at once. Yet how many of those are “good enough” to RT? Zero to five a day. That means 95+% of the information I’m exposed to is redundant or worthless. And that’s with me already NOT clicking on links that seem like they’ll be redundant or worthless.

    I haven’t used my RSS reader in over a year, and I can’t keep up with Twitter either. Actually, I’ve been using people’s link roundups more often to make sure I catch the good stuff. And as you said, even the blogs that used to be must-reads now seem like they’re repeating too much information. *sigh*

      1. I’m totally with you both. For awhile I was trying to read tons of blog articles about writing/publishing to weed through them and find the great content to share with others. I would spend so much time doing it, and then come up with hardly anything actually worth sharing! Now I’ve switched to sharing interesting articles about economics and psychology instead, which seem to be easier to come by, plus even if I don’t share them, at least *I* am learning something new by reading them.

  14. Very good post Kait. At first I was a bit worried about my own habits, but you have kindle quashed my fears.

    When it comes to twitter and hashtags, I have no real idea what I am doing, and so I use the hashtags that I see others using to promo my posts and novel. I never really even thought about the people who follow certain tags and get spammed down with constant promo and sales pitches.

    1. As a general rule when you RT something, it’s smart to change the hashtags to get it into OTHER streams that people are following, not just the originating stream you saw it in. Kristen Lamb is constantly talking about the amplification of Twitter followings and it’s from her that I learned about changing hashtags.

  15. I think this sort of the thing is part of what drives some people to say that blogging is dead: there are so many new blogs, and so many people aspiring to the same kind of success, that it becomes very difficult to stand out or have anything new or original to say. I imagine it gets especially difficult, after years of writing about a particular subject, to bring something fresh to the table.

    But I think new people coming into writing and self-publishing and social media will find a lot of the material to be new to them, and will naturally settle into their own little tribes and learn from one another.

    Anyway, good luck navigating a way out of your ennui,

  16. I remember a couple years ago when i first started blogging and got on Twitter; or even before that when I first discovered agent blogs. Shiny. new. I devoured the posts about query letters and how to write them. But now I don’t even click on them b/c they all say the same thing. But somewhere out there are the newbies just jumping and devouring them just like I used to. I think it’s a natural evolution. And yes, Twitter is a lot of self promotion because some don’t realize that it’s not the best way to promote. But some of it is expected.

    And some of it is the pressure lately put on writers to build platform – I think all those articles sucked the fun and the life out of social media for some people.

    And I try to remember that I used to be where they are, so I try not to let it bother me. I just don’t read the blogs I find boring. I have a separate Twitter stream with all my friends and nice bloggers that I do have conversations with. So the retweets and promotions are books I have an invested interested and I want them to do well. So I help.

    I think we all need breaks every once in a while! I definitely go through cycles of being into and not being into it. Best of luck!

  17. I think it’s natural to start getting bored because of repeated content after you’ve done it a while. I’ve been blogging for almost 2.5 years now and I do find myself having blog reading fatigue because most of it is repeated information. I also have given up on my google reader and use twitter to find links which is a bit hit or miss. (Like Jami, I do appreciate the link round ups people do on their blogs and I also follow people like Elizabeth Craig who sift through the noise and retweet the great links.)

    And I’m all for writing supporting other writers, but yes, seeing constant pats on the back to each other in your stream is a little much. I was just saying the other day that I wish there was a way to thank ppl for retweets without having to use DM or having it show up in your stream. (And as for Goodreads, my initial message when ppl request to be a friend says: I love connecting with other people, but please don’t send me a message asking me to buy your book.)

    Then from the blogger perspective, I’m constantly worried that I’m going to end up recycling concepts on my own writing blog. I think that’s why I’ve cut down my number of posts over there and have started putting more time into my author blog which is more reader-focused and on fun/light topics. It gives me kind of a brain refresh.

    Maybe there is just a life cycle in blogging like anything else. The longer you do it, the more jaded you can get and the more “been there done that” it’s going to feel. I have a feeling many people are going to “reinvent” their platform as they go along.

  18. Oh snap! I’m just starting mine up and my greatest concern is that everything I’ve talked about/will talk about has been done before. Lots of times. How can I make it any different? Sometimes I wonder if I should just write serial stories on the blog instead of blogging about writing. But I know how you feel.

  19. Thanks for this post, especially today, because wow, Twitter. I signed up yesterday because I wanted to have my buddies from NaNo and ROW80 around me to support, and for support, while I am tackling the 50K word count. It’s been just over a day and I can see how the other stuff sneaks in and can be overwhelming. I am definitely sticking with just following ROW80 and NaNo folks, some other people I’ve come to know in and outside of the blogosphere, friends, humorists and random celebs (like Nathan Fillion because he so rocks…Firefly/Castle ftw!). Otherwise, my head might drown as the bloated stream rolls by. (And me being as shy as I am, I literally get all nervous about tweeting anyways and never know what to say; so half the time I just sit back and watch the tweets fly by–not wanting to intrude on other people’s conversations. It took me forever just to get up the courage to tweet you about Once Upon A Time) I’m not sure what the answer is, or if there is one one, but perhaps a #nopromo hashtag or list so the stream is just conversation and not self-promotion! I would totally vote for that! :D

    Oh and by the way, I’ve started “Red” and it’s awesome. I had to put it down to go into work this morning and was all bummed out. Going to get to more of it later tonight hopefully!

  20. EXCELLENT post! The second I see the words “Check out my _____” I turn away. I am not a self-pubbed author . . . more of a beginner type who is getting stories published in literary mags and enjoying a nice readership on my blog. I have noticed that many of the other writers I follow are part of the self-pub group and the self-promo is completely out of control. I’ve unfollowed many lately. And I’ll continue to do that as I’m not on Twitter to be tweeted AT and sold to.

    One of the most offensive practices is writing a tweet with a link to a book or a blog post with someone else’s handle attached at the end to their attention. Looks like this: “Come see what we’re discussing over at the blah-blah-blah blog @NinaBadzin.” Those people aren’t usually not a spammer in the traditional sense, but they tweet, but they tweet like spammers!

    Sorry to go off on my own rant. Yours really was better. ;)

  21. Great post, Kait. I think… Well, I’ve only in recent months gotten into a regular blogging schedule, and it’s made me take another look at people who do this semi-seriously, and others who just… fall by the wayside. One thing that’s extremely frustrating – authors with websites and blogs whose last update was c. 2008.
    I might be slightly immune as I *still* haven’t gotten on Twitter. Except to read Diana Gabaldon’s #DailyLines.

  22. Good points, Kait. I’m fairly new to social media and am a natural introvert, so sometimes it’s overwhelming and I worry about offending people. It can be difficult to find people to strike up conversations with on Twitter. There does seem to be pressure to RT others’ successes in hopes of reciprocation, but I feel that if we talk about a book we’re reading or an author we admire on Twitter or our blog, that’s much more useful than simply RTing promotions for someone we’ve only just met. That’s not to say that those people we’ve just met won’t become authors we admire. Okay, I’m rambling…

    As for blogging, I worry about being repetitive. Perhaps we’re all hearing similar advice and so are taking the same approach. Perhaps we forget that online, as in real life, we need to be our real, authentic selves. I think that’s the appeal of your blog and of many others I enjoy. Like our fiction, blogs need to be entertaining and engaging. Thanks for this post!

  23. Kait,
    Thanks for the awesome post. One of the things I think is going to happen to a lot of these new writers out in the either right now is that they manage to write one book. Self Publish it, promote it like there’s no tomorrow, then turn around and take forever to write their next book. One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve seen is wait until you have several books available to really begin marketing yourself, that way you end up hooking your audience with your writing and not just your marketing. In today’s publishing world you can’t expect to get rich on one book, you need to be very productive and get your name out as a writer, not a marketer.
    Good luck with your books.
    Write On!
    AM Burns

    1. I don’t agree with that. Waiting until you’ve already written several things to begin your platform isn’t smart. You should begin platform building and making legitimate connections with people while you’re still writing. And you should consistently market. But not to the exclusion of writing the next thing. I am often saying that this is a long haul game, and it is. People need reasonable expectations for what they can GET out of the marketing of that initial work such that they’re not putting all their eggs in that basket to the detriment of getting the next thing written. The point is that you need to build CONNECTIONS and RELATIONSHIPS…not set up a professional marketing plan as if you’re selling toaster ovens instead of books.

  24. 90% of my twitter posts are me talking to myself. It’s a hard mix to figure out how to insert yourself into conversations with someone you don’t know and not also come off creepy. Mine tend to run along the lines of “oh, you use/do that too!” and answering open questions.

    I don’t use hashtags unless it’s a ROW80 update or if I’m having issues with something, or it actually relates. As with the RT’s though, if I change the hashtag how would the hundred something people that follow me that might not know about it original find it? Must go find Kristen Lamb’s post and read it.

    Since I’m new I try and write posts that go with what I’m currently learning about or how I am working on something. It might not be new since I’m just talking about how I use whatever other blog/web posts I’ve found but I’d like to think it at least has some redeemable content. I have a couple things out but I don’t really promote them. Ever. It’s on my blog so…

    Even as new to this as I am, I am already getting bothered by spam on Twitter and the like. It’s at least shown me what I DON’T want to do.

  25. Obviously I’m part of the Google Talk circle bitching about stuff with you. I feel like I’m wasting time.

    On the reader/tweeter side, I rarely find anything new/helpful. When I do spend time on Twitter, I find people raving about blogs that don’t really say much of anything different than multiple others I’ve read and I don’t know why they were so hot to pass it on. I’m not posting my mashup every week because, frankly, I don’t find enough to recommend. Part of that’s not being around enough and not looking hard enough, but part is that time is limited and I wasted too much following links that weren’t worth telling my friends about. I have a fun conversation or nice interaction on Twitter maybe twice a month?

    And then there’s this whole social/performance anxiety thing backing up on me because maybe I suck. When I try to engage others, I get a response maybe 50% of the time. Maybe that’s because by the time they got back and saw my @, the moment was passed for them. Maybe it’s because they’re just on there to promote their stuff. (check out that lesson on they’re there their) A book blogger I followed mentioned loving an ARC she got. It was something I wanted to read and I responded and said as much. I kind of thought she would come back and say something specific about it to me, take the opportunity to gush a little more, respond in some way. But she didn’t. And it’s that kind of situation all the time now. Even though I’ve cut the list of people whose tweets I actually watch way down to people who have actually interacted with me in the past, there’s still a ton of self-promo in my stream. I long for the days when people would talk about their socks or what they were having for lunch. I just feel really done with it.

    I’m still chugging along with my blog. People are kind enough to comment and it seems like a few people get stuff out of my posts sometimes. I get some mentions on Twitter. I don’t seem to offer much that’s mashup-worthy, but maybe that’s because I’m not writing as much about self-publishing anymore? Dunno. Again, the anxiety thing: maybe I just don’t give good blog. But, even though I spend more time on it than I should, I enjoy writing my blog, especially since I started to allow myself a wider ranger of topics.

    I’ve put a lot of time and effort into requests from others to answer questions about marketing and self-publishing. It’s kind of them to think of me. However, I don’t think anyone is remotely interested in what I have to say on that subject anymore, myself included. I’m just done with it.

    I feel like I’ve put time into building a platform–not as much as you have, surely, especially since I wander off from time to time when it gets to be too much noise–but I’m coming to the point where I don’t think this platform, or at least a large part of what I think of as my platform, is actually helping with anything.

    1. Exactly. And this comes back to conversations we’ve had repeatedly about the disconnect between what we’re told will attract readers (via blogs or Twitter or wherever) and what we observe and suspect about readers (normal readers, not book bloggers)–i.e. that they don’t read blogs and what they want is a good damn book, an author’s website that makes it easy to find info about other books, with extras like deleted scenes, short stories, character profiles, etc., and easy sign up for newsletter notification about when the next thing is coming out.

      I’m certainly not going to abandon my platform. I like my blog. I talk about whatever the heck I feel like. Sometimes that’s writing and publishing, sometimes it’s Operation GIT, sometimes it’s what I’m reading, or stupid student stories, or who knows. The thing that I do that people seem to like is that I am absolutely me, all the time (which, hey, it’s nice that people like me). I’m pretty much the same here as I am in real life (except I swear a bit less). I think that’s largely what’s missing for me from a lot of blogs I read lately–everybody is trying so hard to impress other people that they have this air of fakeness because they’re afraid to be themselves. It’s the personal connection I want and I wish other bloggers would try it. There’s a happy medium between writing widely valuable content and talking about what you had for lunch. Be REAL.

      And for the record, you give great blog.

    2. Susan, you don’t suck. LOL Actually, there have been times when I’ve seen you tweeting and I’ve replied back to you or said something to you with the @ and you haven’t responded. So then I was thinking you didn’t want to talk to me. What it probably means in both of our cases is that the tweets passed by too quickly and we got missed. :) That’s the problem with Twitter…things go by so fast, that we miss things people say and people miss what we say.

      1. There is often fail with Tweetdeck and Hootsuite and other clients where we flat don’t get @ or DMs. It’s why I get a summary of all my mentions or DMs via social oomph, so that I can be sure to respond to everybody who I might not have seen in Tweetdeck.

    3. Susan, I’m relieved to see I’m not the only one who’s anxious. If you’re anxious, I feel less like writer-recluse, one unanswered tweet away from building a fort out of sheets and settling in for the winter. :P

      In regards to Kait’s reply, that’s some of the best blogging advice I’ve ever received. Maybe we’re all scared to be authentic selves online because we think that’s the wrong way to blog. I think I’ll try harder just to be the quirky, thoughtful, mildly rebellious gal I am with my family and friends as I venture out onto the World Wide Web. The main reason I do this is to meet fellow writers and readers and share experiences and connect. It’s not worth doing if we’re not enjoying it, quite frankly. Okay, maybe I’ll try to be a little more appropriate than I am with my friends. Fewer dirty jokes, not so many curse words…

  26. Thanks guys. I really didn’t mean to turn the thread into a give a me therapy session. :)
    I agree with Kait. Voice is a big selling point for me in whatever I read. I guess part of the irony for me is that I’ve been blogging for 5 years, starting with a personal blog that really helped me learn to open up and find my real writing voice for fiction. I remember how hard it is in the beginning. I had the luxury of finding myself within my own space and coming out of it when I was ready. There’s way too much pressure right now for people to publish and promote content, regardless of whether or not they actually have anything to say, regardless of whether or not they have a genuine desire to entertain or connect on any given day. And I include myself in this. Some days we’re just posting because we’ve committed to posting. I hope the people subscribed to my blog skip over stuff I write that doesn’t interest them. I really hope they don’t feel obliged to comment or promote my post if I didn’t actually inspire them to do so.

    I’m thinking of writing a post about Blogging Ennui. But after Vampire Ennui and Social Media Ennui, I wonder if Kait owns the Ennui franchise.

  27. This post was a breath of fresh air, Kait. But that’s how all your posts are because you write genuinely with your own voice… and don’t pull the punches ;) Keep up the great job. Write what ever you love to write about. And be sure that we’ll love it too.

    I haven’t been on Twitter in days. It’s just so overwhelming. I tried to learn too much, too fast. And even in the two months of following the top writing bloggers quite obsessively, I noticed how less and less blog posts caught my interest of offered anything new – and most of them from the same people. Thank goodness for NaNo and a priority check.

    1. Ha! It’s funny you should say that. I was at a work reception last week praising an older colleague of mine and saying I want to be like her in another 30 years. They asked why and I said, “Because she doesn’t pull any punches and tells it like it is.” They all looked at me and burst out laughing because I do that anyway. LOL.

  28. Gah. Twitter drives me nuts lately. Between all the FFs, WWs, and the same thing being RT ten times to the same hash tags… -head explodes- I find myself tired of it. Which is sad, because I really haven’t been around the block all that much, but it seems that even in such a short time… I’ve read all the same stuff ten thousand times. There are very few blogs/people on Twitter I pay attention to anymore. -shrugs- More writing time I guess.

  29. I’ve been blogging and on twitter since late August so I’m fairly new. You’re right to be bored. One one hand we’re told not to write about writing and on the other hand we’re told to write about what we love ( I love to write along with a host of other things) and what I found through doing this is a big disconnect between myself and my blog. Right now I’m questioning myself A LOT. I took social media classes, I read all the writer/social media blogs but still I wonder: Is the blog about me the writer? Is it about my book? Is it about what I love? Have you ever tried explaining building a platform (to people who aren’t writers) for a book that isn’t published yet? How do you attract readers to a blog about what you love when you really want them there to eventually read your book that might not be pubbed for many months, maybe years? Is that even possible?
    Maybe us newbies are having such a hard time because most of us are introverts at heart and we’re forcing ourselves to be something we’re not on our blogs. I’ve read through every one of these comments — and it’s given me a lot to think about. Thanks Kait for keeping it real.

    1. Well, two things. 1) YOU are the brand. No matter what you write, YOU and your name are the thing that needs branding. That’s what you have when you don’t have books out. You have YOU and the reputation and relationships you build. Which is really what social media is for. 2) There are a whole slough of experts who disagree with me, but I don’t think blogging or tweeting or facebook sells books. Sure it will sell some just by dint of exposure, but most of the time, whatever you’re blogging about doesn’t tell readers squat about the books you write. I don’t know anybody who bought a book because of a blog they read by the author (unless it was an interview at a book blogger site). What blogging and social media does is SELL YOU. And THAT is the problem with many people out there…they don’t recognize that and put too much wasted effort into things that don’t really matter.

      1. I understand. I guess I’m doing some things right. I am branding “me” most of the time but I do see where I can improve. I’m not giving up on building my platform. The important thing like you said is to not put too much effort into things that don’t matter. I began to realize this a few weeks ago and it’s’ why I’ve been seeking out bloggers like you and Roni who accurately put the problems with writers and social media into words and aren’t afraid to share. Got to check out Susan B. and some of the other great commenters here too. LOL Thanks for the guiding light Kait! I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

  30. Yup. I took a two week break from updating for ROW80 because I just didn’t feel like I had anything to say, and I didn’t feel like saying anything if I didn’t. :) I got a lot more writing done during that break, and it made me realize that I’m going to try to follow my own schedule blogging from now on. I love the community, but social media can be such a huge time sink that we don’t get around to enough of what we really want to be doing — writing fiction.

  31. I had issues with the same thing, especially on twitter. I really liked twitter for the fun conversations more than anything. When I meticulously went through my feed and cleaned out all the link-blasters and quote-mongers, twitter became fun again. As for blogs, I’m cleaning out the stale and searching for new and engaging.

  32. This was a great post and I definately have similar feelings. I didn’t start following blogs and tweeting until I was well into writing, so I have never found the writing blogs to be very helpful to me. There are a few that I go to for motivational stuff that inspires me, but I’m not looking for craft advice on blogs. I do, however, love to read blogs about queries, publishing, and marketing. Those are the things that are new to me and I still find the posts fun. I am actually really liking twitter because of the way I follow people. I follow a few writers who are either my hereos or my writing friends. My hereos, are just for stalking purposes. WIth my writing friends, I like the actual conversations we have on twitter. The other people I follow are celebrities and people who say funny things. I also follow some news groups and organizations, so I can keep up with what’s going on without getting the paper or watching the news. But, I do see some of those promotion tweets and links to blogs that seem so obvious, like Your Characters Can’t Be Perfect. Duh. But a tweet about the best Angelina Jolie costume ever, with a pic attached, now that was entertaining! Maybe that’s what works for me. I see Twitter and blogs as entertainment, not educational. You have given me a lot to think about, especially as a tweeter.

  33. I think I felt that a few months ago. Hence, I started taking a different route. Part of it is also because I just got so busy with stuff so I got so busy I didn’t have time to read the blog posts. That’s when it hits me. Now, I’m approaching blogs differently.

    Blogging should be a place where we share our passions. It’s when we talk about the subjects that move us, so that we can share to the world. It doesn’t matter whether one person or five hundred reads my blog. As long as I am sharing my truth and my passion, I make a difference.

    I check on to my subscribed blogs from time to time. After all, I want to know what my friends are up to. :-)

    What are the subjects that you’re passionate about besides writing? Is there a subject that you can talk about for hours? To my friend, Charlene, it’s horses. To my uncle, it’s plants. My friend Bryan is crazy about art. For me, fulfilling dreams and following my heart.

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