This month I’m celebrating a birthday. No, not mine! What are you thinking? I turned 39 in July, and I’m not ready to turn 40 quite yet. 😉
What this month marks is one year of blogging, tweeting, pinning, and goodreading, although my computer tells me that’s not a word. In one of my earliest blog posts, The Secret to Social Media, I wrote about my initial reactions to each of the following four sites, and in this post I’ll tell you what’s changed a year later.
Then: As a writer, I’d forgotten the pure joy of expressing emotions solely through visual imagery. With Pinterest, you can create boards that reflect the things you care about, and you never have to say a word.
Now: Yep, sounds lovely, but Pinterest was the one to go. I still have an account and I’ll probably revisit it sometime, but it’s just not possible to juggle five or six social media accounts. I knew this going in, but I figured the one to fall would be…
Then: What I love most about this site, so far, is I have one place to list my “to be read” books. Now I can collect all the scraps of paper, sticky notes, and electronic lists buried in my phone and shelve those titles in Goodreads.
Now: For a long time, this was all I could do on Goodreads. The problem is that it’s not a user-friendly site. But on January first, I resolved to read a book each week for 2014. Goodreads came in handy for this resolution because of their Reading Challenge—where you publicly declare a reading goal for the new year. Anyone can view your progress. That was the motivation I needed to stay on task, so I dug my heels in and learned how to navigate the site. Now I truly love Goodreads, and I’m only three books behind my goal.
Then: This was supposed to be my favorite, because that’s what everybody says. I do like Twitter—there’s something about the immediacy of it that’s freeing—but it’s confusing.
Now: Surprise! Guess which social media site is my favorite? Twitter did take time to understand—in fact, it would be months before I caught on. But once I got comfortable jumping into conversations with total strangers, I met some amazing people. Most are generous—Twitter is all about sharing and discovering. Many are also fall-down funny; I’ve laughed myself to tears on more occasions than I can count. The only downside is that it can be a distraction.
Then: My personal favorite. This has been a shock—I worried about the time it would take to blog, I worried no one would read my blog . . . now I know it’s about perspective.
Now: I admit I’ve lost that perspective several times. There’s no question that blogging can feel frustrating because it is time-intensive and once in a while seems as though you’re talking to yourself. To ease that frustration, I made some adjustments:
- I no longer spend several hours on each post. Yes, I did that. Those early posts were drafted on Mondays and heavily edited throughout the week, then published on Fridays, which could take all morning.
- I stopped worrying excessively about typos.
- I started posting less frequently. In the beginning, I posted weekly, but twice a month works better for me and I actually get more visitors that way. I think you have to give people a chance to miss you. 🙂
One great thing about blogging is looking back on old posts; it was sweet to read the first one—written a few days after I received my contract. I was so unsure of what lay ahead: I didn’t know what the book title would be, or what the cover would look like, or when it would get published. All I knew back then was a dream had come true, and that was enough.
Oh, and the secret to social media? It hasn’t changed: give yourself permission to have fun.
(See the original post HERE.)