[NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] Social Networking is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

A few years ago, some bloggers decided to take up "Slow Blogging" to combat the race to blog every day, Monday through Friday, week after week, month after month. They slowed their pace to one post a week. At the time I was posting three to four times a week, which I could do because I was spending most of my time sitting on the sofa breastfeeding my new baby with a laptop balanced on my knees. But it was a pace I couldn't maintain once I returned to the San Francisco Writers' Grotto and began writing again. So I, too, took up slow blogging. And it was the best thing I ever did, social media-wise. Slow blogging keeps me on my toes without forcing me to run in circles. It keeps me on a schedule that I can maintain even during the crazy back-to-school, holiday, and summer months. It makes blogging something look forward to, like a hobby, instead of something I dread, like a job.

The second best thing I did was to delete Google Friend Connect from my blog. That wasn't much of a choice because Google discontinued Friend Connect for Wordpress blogs, but I was SO happy to bow out of that race. Too many bloggers were spending too much time hosting contests to get people to "Join This Site" all for the sake of having a big number in their sidebars that really didn't serve much purpose. (Followers weren't notified of new posts, and they didn't have to enter their email addresses, so what was the point?)

The third best thing I did was to stop looking at my Klout score. When Klout (the social media influence score) first came out, I was obsessed. I would stay up late @replying and retweeting and having Twitter conversations with friends all for the sake of improving my Klout score, which invariably decreased every time I A) Stopped tweeting constantly or B) Klout changed its algorithm for calculating its scores. After the second algorithm change, I said, "Flout this!" and deleted the Klout app from my phone. Tweeting has been more enjoyable ever since.

The fourth best thing I did was to NOT post to Pinterest, NOT to post to LinkedIn, and NOT try to post daily to Instagram. No one can maintain more than three social media networks and do them well. I blog, I tweet, I post to FB, I try to post to Google+, and that's enough for one person. That's not to say you shouldn't be using LinkedIn and Instragram. They may be your social media networks of choice. But don't try to do them all. No one can and remain sane.

Although I definitely recommend that you ratchet up your social networking in the months immediately before and after a book release, you shouldn't stop there. You should beginideallythree years before that first book comes out and continue on until the next book come out, and the next, and the next. And to do that, you need to pace yourself, so you don't get burned out. Social networking is a marathon, not a sprint.

What about you? How often do you blog? Tweet? Post to Facebook and Google+? Instagram and Linked In?

Meghan Ward blogs weekly at Writerland.com. Her upcoming workshop Social Media Mastery in a Day at Book Passage in Marin is now enrolling. Follow her on Twitter @meghancward and on Facebook @meghanwardauthor.

Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder via Creative Commons

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Comment by Pat Roa-Perez on August 16, 2014 at 4:14am

It’s overwhelming, to say the least, especially for those of us starting out in the writing business. I recently came to terms with the fact that I cannot do it all. New to social media, I was spending too much time, first, learning about SM in general, and then, learning about blogging and navigating various SM platforms. It’s too much and I simply couldn’t keep up. I had to stop the insanity because it was taking me away from writing. Also, feeling overwhelmed and resentful about spending so much time with SM made it even harder to learn and do.

Nowadays quality and not quantity is my goal. I spend no more than an hour a day posting. I’m currently focusing all my efforts learning Google+, which is where I do most of my posting by commenting on others’ posts. I belong to a few groups where I also post to. I alternate among them. And when I launch my blog (soon, I hope), my plan is to post twice or perhaps three times a week.

At first it seemed like an hour would not be enough. However, I have trained myself to use the time strategically. Every day I have a specific goal to accomplish. I keep it small, simple, and doable. By doing this, I’m now able to stay focused, not get overwhelmed, and make progress. 

Comment by Meghan Ward on July 16, 2014 at 10:14am

SomerEmpress: "This isn't synonymous with a lack of commitment to writing. It's just the opposite!" It's so difficult to find the right balance. It's great that you're writing more, even if it means blogging less. But yes, ideally, it's best to do both. I do think, though, if you can only do one the writing should take precedent. Because without a book, you have nothing to promote.

Comment by Meghan Ward on July 16, 2014 at 10:09am

Nicky, classes will be posted to sfgrotto.org/classes in the next week, but email me for information about how to enroll at meghan@meghanward.com.

Comment by Avril Somerville on July 16, 2014 at 2:18am

I like this one a lot, Meghan. Practical, worthwhile advice. When I first began blogging, I wanted to blog every day, then every week. I'm lucky now if I get a post out each month. I don't recommend this pace. I would prefer to get back to a once/week pace, but have become so consumed with my own writing, and managing a household with three children, my fitness and health, and other commitments, that blogging often falls to the back burner. This isn't synonymous with a lack of commitment to writing. It's just the opposite! However, I know I need to blog a bit more regularly. Perhaps effectively managing my use of other social media might be the ticket to accomplish a better blog and writing balance.  As I get closer to publishing my novel, I realize the importance of doing that. Be Well, and thank you! 

Comment by Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson on July 14, 2014 at 8:56am

Meghan, I always find your posts so helpful and this one especially so. I'd like to take your workshop in October as well.

Comment by Meghan Ward on July 12, 2014 at 6:39pm

 Nancy, thanks for letting us know about your book! 

Comment by Meghan Ward on July 12, 2014 at 6:38pm

Norah, writing should definitely take precedent over blogging. And why not switch to once a week now? (Or is your one-year anniversary coming up soon?) Social media can make you feel like George Jetson walking his dog on the treadmill sometimes. You run and run and can't keep up. 

Comment by Meghan Ward on July 12, 2014 at 6:35pm

Paula, no, we can't do it all and shouldn't try!

Comment by Meghan Ward on July 12, 2014 at 6:34pm

Luanne, how do you manage three blogs? I tell all of my student, "One blog only, please." It's too much to keep up three blogs. I wouldn't delete your FB page. I still post there, just less frequently. I have had plans to get more involved on G+ for the past year but still haven't done it. 

Comment by Meghan Ward on July 12, 2014 at 6:32pm

Nancy, so true. Sometimes I wonder if I should hang up the social media and just write for a few months. Although I slow blog (and lately have even been missing a few weekly posts), still don't have enough time to write. Sigh.


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