By Deborah Raney
As a true extrovert with a very solitary occupation as a writer, I truly enjoy social media. Sometimes I tell people I’m not sure I could have survived my 24-year writing career without it! (Of course there was no such thing as social media the first ten years I was writing, but I did connect with several wonderful groups of writers via e-mail loops and writers organizations.) Now, being able to connect with friend and family, and with my readers on social media—from the comfort of my office chair—helps my job not to feel so lonely and provides a virtual water cooler around which to congregate and share stories and encouragement and…life!
I must admit that I have carefully distanced myself from friends on social media whose voices are too strident or unkind or judgmental—on both ends of the political and religious spectrums. I’d rather interact with those who see the world through rose-colored glasses than those who are constantly finding the ugly and evil in everything they see. That doesn’t mean I ignore those who truly have something wise or thoughtful to say—even if it might be painful to hear. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally share on social media something that isn’t all roses and kitty cats and butterflies. But I try to make those kind of posts the exception rather than my everyday content.
I’m a bit rare among my author friends in that I’m actually glad that my publishers all but require me to be active on social media. I’m thankful that most of the time I spend on social media, I can truthfully say I’m working. Yes, social media can be a time-waster, and it can be a temptation to go down bunny trails that no longer qualify as work. But for the most part, the time I spend on social media is an encouragement and an inspiration.
These are some of the things I share often on social media because they are the things I’m interested in:
- Items my husband and I buy at garage sales and how I use those items I paid pennies for in decorating our house
- All things coffee: coffee mugs, coffee bars, coffee shops, coffee culture…
- Our home and yard and the houseplants I tend. We don’t live in a fancy house and we don’t have a lot of money to spend on it, but we’ve made our house a place we love to be, and we’ve found ways to improve it spending a minimal amount of money.
- The hiking and biking trails we’ve recently discovered in our town.
Every so often someone will respond to one of my photos or posts with a comment that includes the words jealous, or envious, or coveting. I don’t think (at least I hope) those commenters actually feel jealous of me, but if they do, I hope they will unfollow me and anyone else whose posts make them feel discontent with their own lives. I know sometimes I’ve used those same words in a comment when I see that a friend is traveling in Europe—a passionate dream of mine that may or may not ever be fulfilled. When I say, “I’m so jealous!” I truly don’t mean that in a negative or cynical way. What I really mean is, “Oh, wow, you’re living my dream! And that gives me hope that someday I might get to travel where you have traveled, and if not, I love living vicariously through your posts.” The day those posts make me angry or sad or even merely discontent with the very nice (but in no way perfect) life God has given me is the day I will stop following those posts. Not because I blame the person posting them, but because I’m not mature enough to handle that kind of post.
We’re all different, and social media certainly has its downsides, but if you’re an extrovert forced to work alone, it has a lot of upsides too, not the least of which is filling that need for interaction with other people while you write in solitude. And along with that, keeping your publisher and agent happy because you’re quietly promoting your books as you let people get to know the author.Do You Love Social Media? You may be an extrovert. @AuthorDebRaney #ACFWBlogs #socialmedia #writing Click To Tweet
Deborah Raney’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Twenty-plus years and thirty-plus books later, she’s still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. Her novels have won the RITA Award, Carol Award, National Readers Choice Award, and HOLT Medallion. Deborah is also a three-time Christy Award finalist. Her newest book, Reason to Breathe, releases this month. Follow her on social media from www.deborahraney.com.