Which social platform should you choose to find your peeps?
One requirement that is now standard when writing your book proposal is to state the depth and width of your social media reach. God help you if you don’t have an Instagram or a YouTube account, never mind the now démodé, boomer-favorite, Facebook. Personally, I’ve set my sights on TikTok but my fourteen-year-old has informed me that under no uncertain terms am I to open an account. “TikTok is for kids!” she admonishes, and the cronies that are on it should get off, adding, with a toss of her glorious teenage mane, “They all look ridiculous.” My thinking is, if Maye Musk (Elon’s seventy-two-year-old mom) can shake her booty on it, so can I!
Putting my TikTok dreams aside, I needed to focus on the remaining platforms. I was mostly a lurker on Facebook, my Instagram account was pathetic, my YouTube presence lasted all but a nanosecond, my attempt at Twitter was a few feeble tweets, and my boards on Pinterest were filled with things I liked but couldn’t afford.
At a certain point, I just gave up, thinking, who the hell is interested in me or the things I like anyway? Then I wrote my book and found out writers– individuals who spend most of their time interacting with a screen–are required by publishers to have a large, interactive, social media presence. Yes, you heard it right. Publishers might buy your book, but they want a guaranteed readership from your side.
Overwhelmed, I turned to my loved ones for help. My Generation Z kid who can navigate the internet and post to social media like a whirling dervish, informed me that she had no time to explain something “like five times” before I actually “got it.” And my husband, an avowed social media recluse, responded to my pleas with, “I wish I still had my flip phone.”
I was in trouble and figured the best place to look for help would be from someone who had grown up in the digital age. As I was doing my nightly lurking on FB, an ad popped up on my feed, advertising a course that guaranteed to teach me everything I needed to know about social media. A sucker for sticking to the path of least resistance, I signed up and paid for a year’s membership. Enough time to figure this all out, I thought, before my book was (fingers crossed) published and ready for market.
One of the first questions the course asks you to answer honestly is who are you and what makes you who you are because you stand a better chance of success by presenting your authentic, true self. But most of us, including myself, are afraid to present our real selves and our messy lives, preferring instead to show the world a gussied-up version. Before I continue, let me be clear that by authentic, I don’t mean ranting and raving about extremely polarized topics such as politics and religion (although if this is who you are, by all means, go for it), but rather, as a means to a starting point as you begin to create your community. It’s the gate through which all your peeps will gladly walk through. When you really know who you are, you’ll attract those who recognize your value. It’s not about “likes” or “follows” or posting pictures of what we perceive as the perfect life. That’s okay too, if that’s what you want but what I’m writing about here is how to discover and find those people who want to celebrate with you. As I learn how to create my own community, I want to share anything that will possibly make it easier for you. I try to always remember when I’m writing, “If only someone had told me that back then.”
My two Millennial Gurus are showing me that it doesn’t have to be overwhelming but can, instead, be an exhilarating and fun and extremely satisfying ride. It’s great to write a book or paint a painting or fabricate a piece of jewelry for the pure pleasure of creating, but it’s even more rewarding when someone reads your book, owns your painting, and wears your jewelry. And, how’s that going to happen if no one ever sees your work?
So, I thought a lot about who I was and what I wanted. While I liked scrolling through Facebook and knew it was where most of my fellow boomers hung out, I felt freer expressing myself on Instagram where I could share my view of the world visually. And since I like to write more than a few sentences, blogging was appealing. The two complemented one another. I could keep Pinterest as a hobby, YouTube on the back-burner, and Twitter…Well, Twitter is supposed to be a great platform for writers, but frankly, I don’t understand it and in the words of Warren Buffet who has said he never invests in companies he doesn’t understand, I’ll stick with his sage advice.
What platform or platforms resonate with you? Because whichever one it is, as long as you remain aligned to your true self, it’ll be the right one.