• Meghan Ward
  • [NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] Social Networking is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
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[NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] Social Networking is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Written by
Meghan Ward
July 2014
Written by
Meghan Ward
July 2014

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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  • Pat Roa-Perez

    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. 

  • Meghan Ward

    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.

  • Meghan Ward

    Nicky, classes will be posted to sfgrotto.org/classes in the next week, but email me for information about how to enroll at [email protected]

  • Avril Somerville

    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! 

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

  • Meghan Ward

     Nancy, thanks for letting us know about your book! 

  • Meghan Ward

    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. 

  • Meghan Ward

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

  • Meghan Ward

    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. 

  • Meghan Ward

    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.

  • Meghan Ward

    Trudi, so glad you got help with social media. I have help, too. Social media for me is like a New Yorker subscription. You can never keep up and always feel guilty that you're so far behind. Oh well. We're still way ahead of those who don't know what a tweet or a hashtag is :)

  • Meghan Ward

    Thanks, Yelda!

  • Meghan Ward

    Muddslide, @calliopco doesn't seem to exist on Twitter. Am I reading it wrong? 50 RTs a day is a lot! That's great. I  have so little time lately that I've mainly been dropping tweets into Buffer and leaving it at that. Little time to RT or @reply, which is unfortunate because those are great ways to gain new followers. And to have fun!

  • Meghan Ward

    Catherine, no plans for the South Bay, but I will have a similar workshop titled Social Media Madness at the San Francisco Writers' Grotto Oct. 12. It's not yet up on the website, but you can email me if you're interested at [email protected]

  • Meghan Ward

    Gale, ha! I like that you are working up to slow blogging. My own blogging has been a bit glacial this past month. I have trouble keeping up with weekly posts during the summer when the kids are out of school. But I am determined to catch up while they are in camp next week!

  • Nancy Andres

    Thanks Meghan for sharing about setting limits for yourself. It's a topic not often shared and appreciated. It works best for me to post only once a month on each of my two blogs, go on Facebook and Google+ daily, and use Linkedin for work-related posts. I have a new book out, Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss and need to devote my major efforts to promoting that. I'll check your blog out ASAP!

  • Norah Colvin

    I love the sound of slow blogging. I currently post twice a week and try to stay in touch with a community of other bloggers I engage with regularly through reading and commenting on their blogs and conversing on Twitter. Most in the group are now commenting that they are torn between the activities that maintain communication with the group and progressing their own writing. Some post more often than twice a week, some even daily. For me twice a week is maximum to both write and read and comment on the work of others. I think it places enormous pressure on readers when bloggers put out new posts in excess of three times a week. I intentionally don't read more than three from each blogger as it takes too much time. I know I may miss out on good stuff, but I can't do it all. Something has to give. Many readers are also writers and have lives away from computer screens to maintain as well. When I started blogging, about 11 months ago, I thought I would post twice a week until I had compiled a reasonable body of work on my blog, and then I would reduce to once a week. I haven't made that change yet - maybe it could occur on my blog's first birthday. It is a struggle to find time to do everything. Thank your for sharing these thoughts.

  • Paula Marie Usrey

    Sometimes less is more. I am starting to feel overwhelmed with all the social media options that I have been trying to manage. Now I need to decide what is most important and consistent with my long-range goals. I do need to be consistent as a blogger. I also am trying to build a platform as a novelist. I need to realize that I cannot do it all. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  • Luanne Castle

    I shared this article with a couple of writer friends and on my Facebook page. That's the Facebook page that I am now (after reading this article) considering abandoning. If I should only focus on 3 social media sites (and have 2-3 blogs already as well as Twitter), maybe I would make better use of my time by using another social media since Facebook pages have been ruined recently by Facebook's changes.

  • Nancy Davis Kho

    Heard a great quote yesterday from author @sarahmaclean during a seminar on using social media to promote a book release. Of the time we spend actively "engaging" with our social networks so they can help us someday promote our projects, she said (and I paraphrase:) "if you don't finish your book, your social media network won't have anything to help you promote." As writers so many of us are torn between the two activities, but that lays it out: the writing has to come first. Slow blogging is a good strategy for getting there!

  • Trudi Young Taylor

    Great supportive article. Social media can take over as much time as I give it. It was depleting my writing time and creative energy. Being strategic and bartering with a resource to dig up articles/resources for me has been helpful. 

    Somedays, I just want to sit down and cry. Tissues are a writer's good friend.

  • Yelda Basar Moers

    All great tips! Thanks for posting. Would love to read more.


  • Muddslide

    I agree, social media is a marathon.

    I had just left a software career in 2008 when Twitter started to gain traction. To me, it was just another software app back then (2008) so I dove in. I'm @calliopco. I had decided against blogging already.

    On Twitter I send up to 50 Retweets per day (with links to interesting stuff). Very few of the 4800 people who are following me are people I know IRL - but I have many new "Twitter pals" to whom I forward items I know they might find value in.  I like to think I'm selective about those 50/day but the quantity has to do with

    1) it's kind of a hobby now. Like some people knit ;-)

    2) It's interesting to "Tweet in realtime" from events, conferences, while watching World Cup or World Series (or whatever). Plan to tweet (with pix) from Paul McCartney concert when he comes to my area in August 2014. I like Instagram but use it sparingly. I am also on Facebook but that's a small circle of people I know personally (family, ex-college buds etc).

    3) I have 4800 and growing followers despite having not published a book yet (working on that).

    4) I swear it's made me a better writer (slashing everything extraneous) and has somehow contributed to that fact I've started writing (and studying) poetry.

    Now that I follow and exchange with more writers (on Twitter) I feel I've found a sweet spot for me. It took years. What can I say? Try it - do the opposite of GIGO. Put stuff that's meaningful to you and/or helpful to others out there, don't be a troll or a snark, good things can happen.

  • Hi Meghan,

    Do you have any plans for holding your workshop in the south bay.  I need to attend your workshop. Social media scares me. There is a South Bay Writers Club. Check them out we're a short drive from Marin. 



  • Gale Bates

    Great article. Love your comment, "social media is a marathon, not a sprint."  And good to hear "Klout" wasn't worth it as I tended to ignore it.  I try to blog once a week, but it usually is every other week.  I'm working up to slow blogging :)