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Social media – love it or hate, but most of us are living it these days. Of the social media channels listed above, I currently have six (I think I also have a MySpace account floating around somewhere, which is kind of scary). Facebook seems like the best platform to connect with readers, and it’s also the handiest place to find all those awesome animal videos I waste so much time on. Best way to get me to procrastinate? Find me some goats screaming videos.

I enjoy Twitter, too. I follow lots of interesting authors, publishing industry types, and historians, and also the accounts of museums, newspapers, political sites, historic English estates, and even a sheep farmer in Northern England (awesome account, btw). I actually pull a fair amount of research from Twitter, following links and info posted by various experts in fields that interest me. Sometimes those links take me down a rabbit hole, but you never know when you’ll find an interesting little nugget to spark a story idea.

Pinterest–used to spend a LOT of time there, but it began to feel overwhelming. Now I just use it to store pictures I might want to refer back to at some point. Oh, I also have a zillion recipes which I NEVER look at, so that’s kind of pointless. Let’s just say that my Pinterest heyday passed a few years back.

And then there’s LinkedIn. This is how I feel about it:

LIam Neeson

Yeah, it’s a bit too scary. The murky minions at LinkedIn always want you to add more and more detail about your work life (and sometimes your personal life), which is then open to perusal by an incredibly large pool of strangers. Um, no thanks. I’m a pretty gregarious person, but my dad taught me long ago to fly under the radar. I know LinkedIn can help people get jobs, but I also think it must be a really swell venue for serial killers to began tracking down their next victims. So my LinkedIn profile is full of holes and I intend to keep it that way. Plus, it’s just weird that people you’ve never met get to decide that you’re an expert in something–like blogging, when my blog has been collecting dust for months.

I guess in some respects I’m not bad on social media. Between my Vanessa Kelly and VK Sykes facebook pages, I have almost 13,500 “friends.” Of course, the vast majority of those friends never see my posts, so there’s that. But, hey, it’s a fun place to hang out and catch up with readers, and also look for cute posts by my friends and those ever hilarious goats screaming videos. On Twitter, I have over 7,700 followers, although I’m not sure that really means anything. After all, I follow over 6,000 people myself, and I’m sure as heck not reading most if any of their tweets!

The truth is, I’m pretty inept when it comes to social media. Oh, I can do the basics, but I only figured out how to do gifs on Twitter just last week. Sad, I know. As for memes and graphics? Hopeless is my middle name. I can’t do up a meme to save my life.

Picard

Guess I need one of those tech nerds to do them for me – oh, wait. That’s exactly what I do – get someone to do them for me!

Social media can truly be a window into the wider world – other people’s worlds that I would never be able to glimpse (see: sheep farmer in Northern England). But I have to confess that I’m starting to get a bit weary of it all. It feels too intrusive, taking over bits and pieces of my life in ways I’m beginning to resent (as if it’s out of my control–which it is not, of course).

I suspect the American election might have something to do with that. You want social media cesspool, that’s a first class breeding ground right there. I try to insulate myself from it to a degree, but I do have family and friends on opposite ends of the political spectrum, and they like to post A LOT. I invariably get irritated and huffy and vow that I’m going to quit social media, but then hubby looks at me like this:

RDJ Jr.

Yeah, it never happens.

But I have cut my social media interaction by about half, I’d say. And what I’ve gained by that is more time to work on my books AND more time to tackle that monstrous TBR pile by my bed. You know what? I feel better for it–calmer, more focused, and not reacting like a hair-trigger six shooter to the latest social media outrage.

Even better, I’m reading a lot more. Social media can be fun, but books are just way more awesome.

There is, however, one social media element I refuse to quit–goats screaming videos. IMHO, you can never watch too many.

What’s your take on social media these days? Are there sites you avoid; do you set limits on your time spent on facebook? Or do you revel in the craziness of it all? Just leave a comment for a chance to win my latest VK Sykes contemporary romance, SEE YOU AT SUNSET.

seeyou 2


25 thoughts on “My So-called On-line Life

  1. Amy says:

    I can not get over the pull of social media for people’s attention. I am actually getting a bit tired of everyone constantly scrolling their phones…EVERYWHERE I go. I think it is ironic that the word “social” is added to the frenzy, because I am seeing people with their heads down to their phone as a way to escape anything social with actual living, breathing people. (My teenager is familiar with this looping rant of mine.) There was a hilarious line in the show Life In Pieces where an adult suggested to a tween to actually go over and talk to the boy…standing feet away…she liked rather than “conversing” with her phone. Her response? “What, are we Amish??”

    1. Amy, it’s the least social thing in so many ways. Love the Amish joke!

  2. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I use social media for work–to connect with readers. I think Facebook and Pinterest are great for that. Twitter is more for research and sales and publishing info–for me, at least. It can be draining, though. Sometimes I just want to get to work, but I feel like I always have to stop by Facebook first.

    1. So days I don’t even want to open my browser, Shana. Other days, you can’t get me off the darn thing, which is worse!

  3. Like Shana, I use social media mainly to connect with readers–and other authors too. I’m on Facebook and Twitter and really enjoy both. I started a Pinterest account not long ago to collect bookish and book-related images I liked, but I haven’t done a whole lot there. My G+ account exists but is languishing. I have a Goodreads profile, but I’m not comfortable hanging out in a space that (I think) should be just for readers. At this point, Facebook and Twitter are the ways I truly interact with people, which is what I want from social media.

    1. T-Ro, you are AWESOME on Twitter! You are one of my favorite people to follow.

  4. GayleC says:

    It is exhausting, everyone is talking and hardly anyone is listening. I agree with you the political atmosphere of impending doom does not help. I try to manage my Facebook news feed with lists, but still I am bound to see something that makes me cranky.
    Twitter was a lot more fun for me a couple of years ago, when people were actually talking to each other.
    I like Instagram and I keep my feed small so it is manageable .

    1. Gayle, you’re right. I think keeping it manageable is the trick. But lots of shouting these days, isn’t there?

  5. Dawn A says:

    I’m on Facebook and Pinterest, but that’s it. I don’t have time to do anything else, plus, I really don’t want to do any of the other stuff.

    1. It’s a huge time suck, Dawn.

  6. I love connecting with authors. I’ve even made a few “on-line” friends. Never met them in real life, but when I see a post of theirs on Facebook, it’s like “Hey, I know you!” 😀 I don’t accept every friend request, unless I’ve interacted or seen that person at book parties/groups. Or if that person is a “legitimate” author. I don’t do LinkedIn, I think it’s obnoxious and I don’t like sharing personal info with complete strangers. *sigh* I guess you just pick which outlet is for you and focus on that. ~Aleen

    1. That’s the best philosophy, Aleen.

  7. eap says:

    no facebook or twitter or cell phone for me. I hate when people engage more online (while they are with you at a family gathering no less

    1. I have family members who do it at the dinner table, which makes me nuts!

  8. catslady5@aol.com says:

    I love goats lol. I spend way too much time on the internet but since I had to get a part time job it’s been a good way to cut down. I must admit though – politics are something which probably should no longer be discussed.

    1. YES!! It was so much nicer when folks didn’t discuss politics.

  9. Kate Sparks says:

    I only do FB and some Pinterst.. I don’t have a huge number of friends, but do follow a number of authors. I’m kinda an introvert and not a big on the social scene.

    1. I’m a closet introvert, Kate. I’d probably be happy living in my small little world!

  10. Quilt Lady says:

    I check FB and twitter but I don’t have much to say there, just mostly read post. I don’t like putting personal stuff out there.

    1. I’m not much for putting the personal out there either, Quilt Lady.

  11. bn100 says:

    don’t use any; avoid authors that only use social media, but have newsletters they use to “spam” you

    1. Yes, the hard sell can be pretty offputting!

  12. Oh, I am right there with you. I have also cut back on social media (mostly Facebook) and read and write more. It is much more relaxing. I also as a general rule, keep my opinions to myself on all matters. I don’t feel the need to carry my soapbox around with me everywhere on-line. 🙂

  13. Laurie Gommermann says:

    I only spend an hour or so on the internet in the morning. I check e-mails, blogs and Facebook.

    Pinterest -I only use to post recipes I might want to make.

  14. Karen Over-Gall says:

    I’m not a huge social media person. I use FB the most to keep up with friends and authors that I enjoy. I try to limit my time. Yet, I find when I can’t sleep. The net can swallow up hours of time rapidly. Like right now… it’s 3:45 in the morning. Which means I should wrap up this comment and got off the internet.

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