Monday, November 21, 2011

A Social Media Survival Guide by Jenn Reese

We've all seen them. They're as numerous and frequent as deer flies in high summer (and just as annoying): the constant stream of articles telling us how best to use social media, or  worse, how to become a social media MAVEN. Well dear Violets, into that cacophony comes the voice of reason. Jenn Reese's voice, to be exact. When I read this over on her blog, I just had to beg her to let me share it here, and she graciously agreed. It is truly the sanest, smartest  social media advice I've read yet.

My Social Media Survival Guide by Jenn Reese

What this post is: my guidelines for navigating the social media waters.

What this post isn’t: a set of instructions or guidelines for anyone beside me. We all use social media differently, use it for different reasons, and expect different results. I would never presume to tell anyone else how to achieve their specific goals.

Social media I use: Blog, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest

Social media goals: Enjoy myself. Connect with existing friends. Make new friends. Laugh. Learn. Share opinions and links to things that inspire, tickle, intrigue, or outrage me. Goof off.


1. Respect that everyone’s Social Media Survival Guide is different.
We’re all different, want different things, have different lives and different tolerances for technology and being social. Don’t expect other people to share your goals and priorities. (This should be the Golden Rule of social media, in my opinion. Maybe this plus the next one…)

2. Be yourself.
Life’s in the details, and that’s what you get. Quirky passions, interests, foibles, and bad jokes. What I ate for breakfast, what I should have had for lunch, what my cats are doing RIGHT AT THIS MINUTE. These are the things that make us unique, even in the vast ocean of people who, on paper, look exactly like us.

3. Never track friends/followers/subscribers.
This isn’t a videogame or a race and I’m not judging success by numbers. Friends and acquaintances aren’t commodities and the only metric for success is if I’m having fun (see goals, above). Some corollaries:
  • Never use any service that tells you when someone stops following/subscribing/friending you. That way lies madness, heartache, and unnecessary hurt. Don’t do it to yourself.
  • Never get upset if someone stops following you. They’ve got their own Social Media Survival Guide and you should let them do what they need to do, guilt-free.
  • Never beg for followers. This makes the people who follow you already feel like livestock.
  • Don’t expect people you follow to follow you back. If you’re following them because they’re interesting, then it shouldn’t matter if they don’t follow you back. Again, they’ve got their own Guide.
  • You don’t need to follow everyone who follows you. Do whatever works for your life and lifestyle.
4. Don’t create social guilt or impose on others.
This goes back to respecting other people’s Survival Guides. People who care about you will try to please you even if it causes them stress. Just don’t put them in that position in the first place.
  • Don’t ask people to retweet, blog, or share anything. If they want to, they will. Asking them to creates obligation.
  • Don’t get upset if your friends don’t retweet, blog, or share something you wanted them to. You don’t know what’s going on in their lives, and you don’t know their Survival Guide. Don’t take it personally.
  • Don’t expect people — even close friends — to read all of your tweets, blog posts, status updates. If they don’t, for whatever reason, don’t take it personally. Their lives are about them, not about you.
  • Don’t expect people to respond to your comments all the time. It’s great if they do, but sometimes life gets in the way. It’s not always easy to respond to every tweet, blog comment, or “Like” of Facebook. Some people don’t even check their social media every day, and that’s fine. Respect other people’s Survival Guides.
That’s pretty much it: respect that we all have different Survival Guides, don’t take anything personally, don’t create obligation, and be yourself.

Feel free to share your Survival Guide tenants with me, but please remember that my list isn’t intended as an attack on your list. Unless we have exactly the same goals and the same lives, there’s no reason for us to have the same Survival Guide.

(And if none of you read this, share it, or retweet it, that’s perfectly okay.)

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Jenn Reese writes science fiction and fantasy adventure stories for readers of all ages. She has published short stories online and in various anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning Paper Cities. Her first novel, Jade Tiger, is an action-adventure kung fu romance for teens and adults. Her newest book Above World, a middle grade adventure series for Candlewick Press will be available in February, 2012.


Michelle Gregory said...

this was a great post. thanks for sharing.

Wyndes said...

I loved the voice of wisdom so much that I thought, gee, I'd like to read her blog. No links, really? So then I thought, well, I'll take a look at her book, it won't be for me (since I am not a middle-grade reader), but maybe I can find her blog that way. And the book image is just a graphic? Not even a teeny-tiny link?

R.L. LaFevers said...

Glad you liked it Michelle!

Wyndes, I thought I had linked to her blog! Thanks for the head's up! However, the art of putting a link on an image within a post on blogspot escapes me. I can do it in the sidebar, but not the body of the post. Instead, I've linked the title of the book. Hopefully, that will help.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

When my kids ask me why someone didn't do something or other I'd hoped they'd do, (like post a review on amazon, or something - my 9-year-olds are very loyal followers of my work!) I always tell them, "It's not important in their life like it is in mine... I'm not the center of their world!"
Have fun with this stuff, Leave others to enjoy themselves, and Don't take it personally - Thanks for the great reminder of the way to think about social media to retain maximum sanity.

storyqueen said...

Best social media post ever!!

I've wanted to say this so many times, but could never find he words!


deborahfreedman said...

So sensible! Thanks.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

I saw this first on Jenn's blog and am glad you shared it here! said...

I love this. Thank you for giving me permission to just enjoy facebook and my blog. Ha!

Wild About Words said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing that. Words we all need to read . . . and remember.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Jenn, so sensible and doable. Thank you. I feel kind of used when asked to do something in order to participate in something like a giveaway, but as you say, we each have our own approach, and that's okay.

So nice to see May B. here! Thanks.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

At last - the voice of common sense! What a refreshing post, and so true. Thanks for sharing!

Cate Gardner said...

Awesome post, Jenn.

Mirka Breen said...


Kristen Schwartz said...

Sigh. Thank you...

Cherie Marks said...

What a great attitude! So easy to fall into a trap of "gotta get more friends, followers, minions..." and "gotta put out witty, informational, irresistible status updates" regularly. I like your approach. Great post.

Juliana L. Brandt said...

What a wonderful attitude about this. Thanks for posting!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Nice! Thank you for sharing!

PW.Creighton said...

Excellent advice! you don't know how many marketers need to have these traits ingrained into them. Kudos!

authormariagrace said...

Thank you so much for this. I can't tell you how much guilt it alleviates.

Connie Keller said...

Wow! What a great post.

I just found this blog. I'll definitely be back.

Gay said...

thank you for confirming my feelings about social media interacting. I vow to not let it rule my life and to remain in a state of pleasure.

Karen S. Elliott said...

Your #3 and #4. Yes, agree. Wonderfrul post, Jenn.

Twitter Followers said...

Great to know the -- in depth from this blog.This will really help for my forward steps to be taken.

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

I can do it in the sidebar, but not the body of the post. Instead, I've linked the title of the book. Hopefully, that will help. buy real active instagram followers

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