Monday, August 22, 2011

SNF: Social Networking Fatigue

When Google+ launched recently, I confessed: “I have SNF – social networking fatigue.”

I know I’m not alone. But it’s not cool to talk about it. My New Year’s resolution was to use Facebook and Twitter more. I failed miserably. After Letters to Juniper was released I vowed to have more of a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Well, here it is, four months later and I have failed yet again. Then there are Goodreads, LinkedIn, Branch Out, and MySpace. There are social networking sites I have never heard of and I’m failing at those, too.

I’m not a hater. I actually like Facebook and Twitter – even better than all the others. They just don’t rank very high on my priorities list. I am part-time babysitter for my 2½-year old grandson and 9-year old granddaughter. I’m writing a book. I’m promoting another book. I manage four blogs plus I contribute to this one. I review books. Somewhere in between I cook, eat, shop, do laundry, garden, walk dogs, blah, blah, blah … and sleep.

For more than a year I have tortured myself about my lack of facebook-ability and general twitter-lessness. I envied twitter butterflies and facebook fanatics. I wondered if I had a social disorder. I thought there might be something wrong with me.

An article at WebProNews caught my eye last week: Study Says Social Media Sucks at Driving Traffic. Outbrain, a marketing company, conducted a study to see which sites directed the most traffic to publisher content (such as articles and blog posts). Google came out on top. Social networking sites were dead last, accounting for only 11% of traffic to content pages.

My own effort to drive traffic to my website or blogs with Facebook and Twitter has fallen as flat as the study indicates. When I post a link at Facebook and Twitter to a book review on my Advice from a Caterpillar blog, I get some traffic from Facebook, but not Twitter. If someone else posts a link to one of my blog posts, I similarly get Facebook traffic, but nada from Twitter. All of which has led me to conclude Twitter is a bust for book buzz. Facebook is better, but not as good Google or a direct link from another blog, as the study illustrated.

Based on the Outbrain study, I’m probably spending the right amount of time on Facebook and Twitter, or any other social networking sites. I am officially letting myself off the hook. No more self-recrimination. Self promotion and its aliases – branding, marketing – are necessary albeit challenging aspects of the publishing landscape. I’m old enough to remember what life was like before the internet. I appreciate the exposure it has given to my work and the expansion it has afforded me in my career. But it all comes down to the writing and that has to be my first priority.

Peggy Tibbetts

"I was shocked at how it all ended." -- The O.W.L.
If you would like to review Letters to Juniper, contact Peggy at:

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  1. I like Twitter and have had success with it. Facebook on the other hand has given me more grief than anything else. And I totally don't get Google + and I'm thinking I'm not alone there. I think belonging to organizations like YALITCHAT and SCBWI help too more than putting random twitters out there. But that's just me.

  2. I haven't noticed a lot of traffic to my sites either. I'm always going to post on the different places, but writing gets in the way, and, to me, that's the way it should be. I joined Google + but haven't a clue how it works.

  3. I never really "got" twitter. To me it is like skyrighting. You hope someone sees it but teh wind blows it away so fast it seems pointless.

    Facebook on the other hand is about building relationships. Making friends. I find it a better tool but then maybe I am missing soemthing about twitter.

  4. Facebook for me has been a pain as I've had one email from there that was so scary I had to call the police and report it as a cyber crime. Also the chat thing is beyond annoying. Though Twitter I was able to meet some really great people in the writing/publishing biz. I've made some great connections there.

  5. Connections. I really think that's the key. On FB, I have connected with family spread out all over the world and re-connected with old friends. But I haven't made any real connections on Twitter and the others. My best connections have come through my book reviews and my blogs -- like this one.

  6. I just read this quotation in Funds for Writers today -- how apt:

    Be ruthless about protecting writing days, .e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.


  7. Kim - HOW do you build relationships with Twitter? It is obvious on FB.

  8. I guess I've been lucky plus I do spend a tad bit of time there! My YA Books Central connections along with my Cybils time have connected me to lots of wonderful people in the business. As a matter of fact it was Twitter where I got a DM from the founder of a review site asking if I wanted to be one of her reviewers. I also met a couple agents/editors there. To me I had a lot of great opportunities open up to me. I took the advice of my one YA author friend: Seize the opportunity--don't wait.

    I can't tell you how many people told me I was crazy to volunteer to help with the Cybils when it first started. But through that I was able to meet some many authors, bloggers, editors, publishers that I wouldn't have otherwise. And those connections follow you too and lead to other opportunities. One great opportunity also had to be the DEARTEEN ME letter I was asked to write. Plus a number of my favorite all time authors who twitter me helpful suggestions and feedback. So yes, Twitter's been good to me.

    FB on the other hand hasn't been that great to me. I keep debating to just close it and maybe open an author page. It hasn't really helped me with sales, connections, as much as Twitter.