All this week I’ll be releasing a five-part series about the results of my social media experiment. 100 Days: Turning Off the Lights on Social Media kicked off the series in early April and I’ve been blogging about my observations here and there. Now that I’m drawing this experience to a close, I’m happy to share my conclusions and results.
When I first started this experiment, I had no idea how much social media played a role in my life as an author and a friend. I was frustrated and overwhelmed, because I felt obligated to use the tools and be connected at all times. I didn’t realize how much of a perceived burden this connectivity was until I wrote this article entitled Hunting Down the Value of Social Media on SFWA.org and had a frank chat with my friend Matt Forbeck.
After being in e-commerce and online marketing for so many years, Matt had pointed out I was hyper-sensitive to certain sticking points. So, on a surface level, I was getting really annoyed with day in and day out personas of people I knew that were trying to present themselves in a different light to get visitors or clicks. Remember, I travel in many creative circles, so it’s not just “one or two” friends and acquaintances that place a lot of value on their web presence. It’s — quite literally — hundreds.
While I have “unlearned” something often preached about in online marketing — the idea that there are best practices and one must not (typically) deviate from them — at the time I was more opinionated than I wanted to be and, without realizing it, I was really angry with myself about that because I’ve always prided myself on being fair. If anything, this experiment has allowed me to return to my core philosophy: do what works for you.
I’ve made my peace with rampant self-promoters and exaggerated personas, in part because I didn’t see the micro-trends and the near constant “fails” for a few months. The sheer lack of critical comments, opinion and feedback from hundreds of people allowed me to simply…be. The voices in my head returned, my writing is back to the level where it needs to be, and I’m taking calculated risks with my work.
Once I realized that my frustration with social media was the real reason why I felt compelled to stop using it, I dug a little deeper. I wanted to know whether or not it had any real, tangible value to my website or my work.
- Three Questions I Wanted to Know the Answer To
1. Did getting off of social media hurt my book sales or my chances for publication?
2. Did getting off social media hurt my website traffic?
3. Did getting off social media kill my social media presence?
This week I’ll explore these answers and questions more in depth. I’ll also be talking about ways I’m going to manage my social media presence since I’ll be back online more regularly on Wednesday to prevent that feeling of obligation from ever happening again.
If you have any questions or comments about this experiment, feel free to post them and I’ll try to address them this week.
Thanks for being such a valued part of my readership!