Are You a Social Media Junkie?

Yammers, the Yakkity Yak

Do you race for the computer each morning eager to find out who’s saying what to whom?

Are there comments on my blog post?

Did anyone “like” my Facebook status?

Do I have any DMs on Twitter?

Or perhaps your focus is on others.

Whose birthday is listed on Facebook?

Who shouted out good news, and where’s the cyber celebration?

Which blog posts can I recommend to my friends and followers?

A Social Media Obsession is one of Twelve Troublemakers that plagues me as a writer. I’m exploring one a week. This is the third the series.

When I began writing, I spent two years in isolation and completed five novel-length stories. Then I finaled in a contest, was invited to be a blog guest, and discovered the wonderful world of cyberspace. I was no longer alone.

What fun it was to chat with other writers, people who shared my passion and didn’t think I was nuts for hearing voices. In a short time, I signed up for Facebook and Twitter, joined several Yahoo! loops, and launched two blogs. Reserved me had found a safe way to connect with others using the medium I find most comfortable: the written word. I had a blast making online friends.

But my productivity dropped. Ever since the day when former technophobe me crawled out of my cave, I’ve struggled to divvy my time between socializing and writing. And I have a strong suspicion I’m not alone.

I’d love to give you six sure-fire steps for striking a balance between social networking and story crafting, but in all honesty, I can’t. The truth is, I’m working to find mine. I can, however, share what’s helped me.

Three truths that help me combat my tendency to be too “talkative” online

I can’t do it all. It’s impossible for me to respond to every comment, tweet, or Facebook update, much as I’d like to. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. What’s more, no one expects me to.

It’s OK to prioritize. Writing has to come first. Responding to email comes next. Social networking, while important to me, follows these two. I wish I could say I’ve embraced this concept wholeheartedly and have my priorities in order, but there are days I forget and flip the list around.

Brief is better. I don’t write tight. I wish I did, but I’m one of those writers who has to perform liposuction on my stories during my revision passes. If I’m not careful, my blog  comments can turn into novellas. I’m learning to keep them lean. I console myself with the fact that leaving concise comments allows me to make more of them in my allotted time.

* * *

Your Struggles & Successes with Social Media . . . and a Drawing

Do you have trouble pulling yourself from social media sites?

How do you divide your precious time between chatting and writing?

One person who leaves a comment and answers one of these questions will win the yak pictured above. This little Folkmanis finger puppet might seem a silly item for an adult, but it could serve as a visual reminder to keeps tabs on your social networking time. If you win and don’t want the little guy, you could share it with a child or grandchild.

I’ll hold the drawing Sunday, February 27th and post the winner’s name in the post published the next day, when I’ll introduce the next of the Twelve Troublemakers.

Prickles, the Pressured Porcupine from last Monday’s drawing went to Dawn Alexander.

Odds of winning vary based on number of entrants.
I’ll ship to U.S. and Canadian addresses only.
Offer void where prohibited.
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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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14 Responses to Are You a Social Media Junkie?

  1. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    I must admit I am a bit addicted to your blog, Keli, and I love the topics you put here. 😀

    But I am not a very social person at all, I enjoy being most of the time being alone and on myself. Exception: my friends, here and all over the world, and my projects. But that doesn´t make me a social media junkie..lol. I prefer meeting my friends in person, inviting them here to my wee home, talk to them on the phone or send them little pressies and letters (the old-fashioned way..lol). And so do they.

    Now writing isn´t my main pastime either, it is one of my pastimes (hobbies). More time of each day I dedicate to working in projects for nature and social projects. I am a member of Uncontactedtribes.org, of the german Society for Threatened Peoples, of Greenpeace, and I am a voluntary counselor for migrants and unemployed people here in my hometown.

    Of course the internet plays a roll in my life, as I work as a translator and most of my jobs come in online. And of course I have my little account on Facebook and enjoy chatting to you, Keli, or other wonderful friends, for some time. But I am not addicted to that…haha.

    By the way: what about having a little chat once a month or each two weeks, all who post here on your blog? We could meet in some chat room or on any social network or messenger.

  2. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    Didn´t know that you have Yaks in the United States 😉

  3. Wendy says:

    I’ve noticed as my connections are getting stronger it is getting harder. Rosslyn has a great post on this today. And I’m learning more and more the boundary of not being able to do it all. I make sure if I comment, for example it’s b/c I really have something to say. 😉
    ~ Wendy

  4. Jessica says:

    I got that way for a while with the blogging for the reasons you listed (a safe way to make friends) but I think now I’m starting to learn how to prioritize. I hope. LOL
    Great tips, Keli!

  5. Tamika says:

    I confess to being a junkie! I’ve had to cut my blogging days down to two, and I’ve picked ten of my favorite blogs to leave comments on a regular basis. My tweets automatically generate in Facebook.

    But there is still room for improvement!

    • Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

      Sometimes it would be great if a day had 40 hours and we wouldn´t need to sleep ….lol.

  6. candidkerry says:

    Oh Keli,

    I just giggled as I read this. You always seem to touch on what’s on my mind, in your blog posts. I struggle with this too! I was pulled into joining Facebook two years ago, my heels dragging in the ground, by my sister and sis-in-law. I’m generally allergic to new technology and I’m just now (after 6 months) getting used to using my Droid phone. I like to say you’ll see little pink pigs flying through the air the day I buy a Kindle. 🙂 But I LOVED facebook and being able to connect to people (safely, in the comfort of my own home) and also having the ability to post writing if I wanted. I became addicted!

    Now with blogging, it adds a whole new level. I love it, but it definitely makes life more complicated, more interesting, but also more blessed. I’ve met so many wonderful writers and other Christians on FB and in the blogging world – like you 🙂 – who I’m learning so much from. It’s all very worth it, but balancing it difficult.

    I like the way you prioritize. Writing must come first.

    Great ideas, again! Thank you, and blessings for a great (and productive) week!
    Kerry

  7. I have yet to figure out how to be efficient in cyberspace. It is truly overwhelming and my writing suffers. My WIP (a chapter book) has languished on the side, but then I am the project manager of my iPad project–turning my picture book into an iPad app.

  8. I’m trying to strike a balance. I’ve almost stopped social media since I began blogging. I cannot keep up with both. My blog comments tend to be too long, but instead of simply writing shorter comments, I find myself writing them long and spending more time deleting excess. Duh. I’m new at blogging. I started about eight months ago. Perhaps I’ll learn soon how to make it work. I admit that it’s a challenge. Blessings to you, Keli…

  9. celticflicka says:

    I’m a junkie too! I haven’t started Tweeting yet (for that very reason) but I can get sucked into Facebook and Livejournal in a bad way. I love all the pics of my friends’ kids and the funny links they post, so the time can slip away very easily. I’ve realized that I need to set myself a time limit for FB–or perhaps only go there in the evenings when my brain is too tired for writing anyway.

    Google Reader has been a real time saver, so I don’t have to visit all of my favorite blogs (like this one!). I can just go and see the new posts–I only wish I’d done that sooner!

  10. Keli, As I began reading your post today, I figured it was meant for me, LOL. 😉 But I realize I’m certainly not alone in this struggle. I must confess lately I’ve been doing “worse”—it seems the socializing is consuming more and more of my time, while my writing is less. NOT good! 😦 So, I’ve decided that for me personally, the only way to improve is to make myself complete a certain amount of writing each morning BEFORE I even look at e-mails, Facebook, or my favorite blogs. Because it seems that once I start perusing those others, the time flies and I haven’t accomplished any writing. ~ Thanks so much for this post!! ~ Blessings, Patti Jo 🙂

  11. So true! I love the blog world, but I don’t have the energy/time I used to have for it. It’s been a hard thing to compromise on.

  12. Terri Tffany says:

    Working on balance. I don’t do as much as I used to and I don’t feel as guilty because my main goal is to write, then connect. I don’t use Twitter much, Facebook gets more of my attention but I can do that fast. I think it is the reading of blogs that eats me up but I have cut back my own blog posts and that helps.

  13. erin says:

    I try (really really hard) to be a social media junkie but I’m honestly not very good about it. I forget to blog. I hate twitter. I never check facebook. The one thing I DO enjoy is reading other people’s blog posts… I learn so much!

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